Tennis fans finally come around to Lendl [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Tennis fans finally come around to Lendl

Eden
02-24-2007, 11:30 AM
Tennis fans finally come around to Lendl
By RAY McNULTY
February 22, 2007

OK, I'll admit it: I wasn't much of an Ivan Lendl fan.
Not back when.
Not when I first started to care about tennis, back in the late 1970s, which, really, makes me no different than most American tennis fans of my generation.
There was Jimmy Connors. There was John McEnroe. There was The Cold War.
And Lendl was on the other side.
Or so we thought.
"People didn't understand," Lendl was saying earlier this week from his winter home in Vero Beach, Fla., "that we hated the (Soviet) system more than they did."
Didn't understand.
Didn't care, either.
Lendl was from Czechoslovakia, a communist country. He spoke with an Eastern Bloc accent we didn't trust. He was one of them in an us against them world.
It didn't matter that he chose to live among us, or that he preferred our way of life so much that he became a U.S. citizen in 1992. We still rooted for the other guy, especially if the other guy was one of ours.
When Lendl played against Connors or McEnroe in a U.S. Open final, he was the visiting team.
But he refused to go away.
He started beating Connors, beating McEnroe, beating everyone the game put in front of him. He worked harder, hit harder, played harder. He climbed to the top of the tennis world and stayed there until Father Time served him off the court.
And, eventually, he won so much for so long that he won us over.
"Sometimes, it takes awhile before people realize you're not what they thought you were," said Lendl, who was enshrined in the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2001 after a career in which he reached 19 Grand Slam finals, won eight of them and held the No. 1 ranking for a then-record 270 weeks.
Now, Lendl, who retired in 1994 and will turn 47 next month, is a respected and admired champion.
He doesn't play tennis any more - "The last time I played for pleasure was 10 years ago," he said - but he keeps up with the sport. He thinks Roger Federer is playing the best tennis ever. He was not surprised by this week's news that Federer had tied Connors' record of 160 consecutive weeks with the No. 1 ranking.
"I'm not sure that's news," said Lendl, who held the No. 1 ranking for 157 consecutive weeks from 1985-88. "He might have all the records before he's done."
Don't, however, try to tell Lendl it was tougher in his time than it is for Federer now.
True, Lendl's losses in Grand Slam finals came against the likes of Connors, McEnroe, Borg, Wilander, Becker and Cash. But Federer's dominance, he said, has nothing to do with an absence of fitting foes.
"He's just so much better than those other guys," Lendl said. "If he wasn't there, you'd have four or five guys with four or five majors. But he gobbles them all up."
Lendl wasn't as smooth as Federer, didn't have as many weapons, didn't look as pretty on the court. But he was every bit the warrior.
"I wanted to win every match," he said, "every tournament."
He's still competitive today, albeit on the golf course. And if you see him there, wave or say hello. He's not the cold, impersonal robot we thought he was. He's not the enemy. He's a nice guy and a good neighbor.
It's a shame, really, that America didn't embrace his greatness and appreciate his effort until it was so late in the game. But he holds no grudge.
"When I retired," Lendl said, "my coach, Tony Roche, told me: 'The older you get, the better you were.'"

Source: http://www.knoxnews.com/kns/other_sports/article/0,1406,KNS_304_5373348,00.html

RonE
02-24-2007, 11:36 AM
Great article thanks :yeah:

Lendl was definitely one of the most misunderstood players in the modern era.

Action Jackson
02-24-2007, 11:40 AM
Well the media love him now, cause he doesn't play.

Apemant
02-24-2007, 11:44 AM
"He's just so much better than those other guys," Lendl said. "If he wasn't there, you'd have four or five guys with four or five majors. But he gobbles them all up."

:worship:
Lendl is obviously capable of understanding simple math, unlike some people here on MTF.

marcRD
02-24-2007, 01:58 PM
lendl is the truth, he joins the large group of legends saying Federer is heading to become GOAT without dissing his opponents.

Sunset of Age
02-24-2007, 02:58 PM
I always believed Lendl had a lot more class than a lot of his bratty opponents... and here he shows it again.

Dancing Hero
02-24-2007, 03:33 PM
Lendl seemed to be under-appreciated back in his prime because other players had 'bigger' profiles, Mac and Jimbo. Then Boris emerged on the scene. Mac and Connors were stars before Lendl and were more established. Becker made a big splash with winning Wimbledon at 17 as an virtual unknown to many people. Lendl got on with the tennis in a quieter manner and that was his way, his style. I rooted for Mac and Connors against Lendl myself, but that's personal preference. Lendl was always a player to be respected as his record shows.

Aphex
02-24-2007, 03:58 PM
:worship: Lendl, showed those drunken yuppie fuck-ups how it's done in the Stockholm Open final 89.

CmonAussie
02-24-2007, 04:53 PM
**
Never really liked Lend`s personality
...
But as a player you have to respect the guy, he certainly is right up there with the all-time greatest players & his competitiveness/professionalism gives him a unique aura that`s hard to explain...

Lets face it he was never going to win any popularity contests
...
However how can we argue with:
*19 Slam finals
*8-straight USO finals
*5-TMC
*10-years + at the top
*94-titles on all surfaces
...
He was a little unlucky in some of the Slam finals he played, especially losing tough matches to Wilander!!!... Lendl was too good to be a choker & yet had he won just a couple more Slams he`d definitely figure prominently in the GOAT talk...

buddyholly
02-24-2007, 06:27 PM
I liked him from the start. McNulty is just showing us what a fool he is and how some people´s feeble minds work. I don´t think I ever once thought Lendl represented the enemy. It was only tennis.

Eden
02-25-2007, 09:21 PM
Never really liked Lend`s personality
...
But as a player you have to respect the guy, he certainly is right up there with the all-time greatest players & his competitiveness/professionalism gives him a unique aura that`s hard to explain...

Lets face it he was never going to win any popularity contests
...
However how can we argue with:
*19 Slam finals
*8-straight USO finals
*5-TMC
*10-years + at the top
*94-titles on all surfaces
...
He was a little unlucky in some of the Slam finals he played, especially losing tough matches to Wilander!!!... Lendl was too good to be a choker & yet had he won just a couple more Slams he`d definitely figure prominently in the GOAT talk...

I agree with you :yeah:

Lendl always gets a bit overlooked in the discussion of the best players ever, but I think everything would be different when he would have won Wimbledon once.

wcr
02-25-2007, 10:24 PM
I know plenty of folks - especially tennis coaches - who very much appreciated Lendl throughout his career. In fact, I've never met a coach who didn't like Lendl. Has there ever been a better backhand than Lendl's? Awesome player even if he was a bit stubborn at times.

Shinoj
09-22-2011, 12:44 PM
Underrated by the general tennis intelligentsia, the commentators,fans of today,internet forums

Atleast i think that his name is not taken in the same breath as John Mc,Connors or Borg.His name is not taken that much when you are referring to the greats of an era. Alright he has been inducted in Hall of fame etc but definitely Connors,McEnroe find more mention than him.

For a guy who has won 8 GS and was in 19 Slam Finals. Maybe with a conversion rate of a Federer he could have been a GOAT.

Why because lack of Charisma ? Or being an Easter European wanted down to settle in States? Didnt smile enough on the court? Was Robotic ? Lack of Plan B? Why:devil:

thrust
09-22-2011, 01:03 PM
Great article thanks :yeah:

Lendl was definitely one of the most misunderstood players in the modern era.

Also, one of the very best and underrated.

Shinoj
09-22-2011, 01:04 PM
It strange really to find why the crowd always rooted for whoever was against Lendl. If they wanted so much of a drama on court why dont they go to a Cinema. The height was when the crowd was rooting for out of all one Michael Chang in the French Open.

Jamoz
09-22-2011, 01:04 PM
Lendl was an amazing player and my favorite in the 80's Also one of the all time greats.

MaxPower
09-22-2011, 01:36 PM
Dunno I never watched much Lendl but seeing the best clips on youtube from his matches with Wilander and alike he sure was talented and skilled. I mean the crowd got top notch entertainment either way because the matches often got close and dramatic with his style.

From his quotes you could tell he's got some intelligence too at least compared to your average joe.

nostaw1969
09-22-2011, 01:53 PM
He tanked an important match-vs Connors at the Masters-to avoid a tougher draw, which instantly put him on my shit list for life; he had a revolting personality, virtually the only player I knew who often seemed to enjoy drilling the opponent on a sitter instead of hitting to either side, and for much of his career was a huge choker, which helps to explain why he lost more Slam Finals than he won. About the only thing I gave props for was his all out attempt to win Wimbledon, the tearing up of his backyard to put down grass, getting Roche-clip as coach, the whole nine yards. Of course, I enjoyed his failure to win it immensely.:):devil:

Shinoj
09-22-2011, 05:15 PM
He has an impressive H2H against McEnroe and Connors. 21-15 against McEnroe and 22-13 against Connors.Though Connors was 8 years older to him. How much of that was influential i dont know.

Dougie
09-22-2011, 05:18 PM
Lendl had a great game, really fluent groundstrokes, and he was a hard worker. But he could also be a total asshole on court, and, according to some players ( Cash, at least), off court as well. If some people hated him because of the fact that he grew up behind the iron curtain, then thatīs their ignorance. But he was no saint, either.

fast_clay
09-22-2011, 07:42 PM
:worship: Lendl, showed those drunken yuppie fuck-ups how it's done in the Stockholm Open final 89.

:spit: :haha:

Ht tanked an important match-vs Connors at the Masters-to avoid a tougher draw, which instantly put him on my shit list for life; he had a revolting personality, virtually the only player I knew who often seemed to enjoy drilling the opponent on a sitter instead of hitting to either side, and for much of his career was a huge choker, which helps to explain why he lost more Slam Finals than he won. About the only thing I gave props for was his all out attempt to win Wimbledon, the tearing up of his backyard to put down grass, getting Roche-clip as coach, the whole nine yards. Of course, I enjoyed his failure to win it immensely.:):devil:

i wish upon you one thousand justine henin herpes sores around your mouth and genitalia...

Lendl had a great game, really fluent groundstrokes, and he was a hard worker. But he could also be a total asshole on court, and, according to some players ( Cash, at least), off court as well. If some people hated him because of the fact that he grew up behind the iron curtain, then thatīs their ignorance. But he was no saint, either.

on court yeah, too business for the lads... off court, he gave as good as he got as far as i can tell... and cashy was capable of being a total cock let's be fair, probably too stoned half the time to understand what was being said

Orka_n
09-22-2011, 11:23 PM
Lendl actually has an interesting personality in interviews. On court, he did seem a bit cold but I'd take his attitude over Connors' and Mac's any day of the week. Very underrated and under-appreciated player.

scoutreporter
09-26-2011, 05:34 AM
And people here wonder, why was he hated back than, why didn't he had any fans? why did the crowd support the other guy, bla bla bla. Well, the simple answer to that question is. Most of the poeple in west, common people, are so stupid, that they are easyly brainwashed, and manipulated, they are just one of the sheep. They hated him and rooted for others becuase Lendl was not german or american. Just like today, Djokovic gets alot of hate from western fans, just look at crowd on US open, crowd in French open, wimbledon and so on, they are always rooting against Djokovic, for the simple fact, that he is not from EU/USA. Totally pathetic really, just like the most of this forum. Conclusion, poeple in west are more stupid than people in east, and they hate more than vise versa. ITs just a fact... Just look at todays game, everybody hates Serbs. They are from east, and they where in some wars 30 years ago, we don't know wich wars, and what happend, but we know he is evil. and we are stupid....

Shinoj
09-26-2011, 11:28 AM
And people here wonder, why was he hated back than, why didn't he had any fans? why did the crowd support the other guy, bla bla bla. Well, the simple answer to that question is. Most of the poeple in west, common people, are so stupid, that they are easyly brainwashed, and manipulated, they are just one of the sheep. They hated him and rooted for others becuase Lendl was not german or american. Just like today, Djokovic gets alot of hate from western fans, just look at crowd on US open, crowd in French open, wimbledon and so on, they are always rooting against Djokovic, for the simple fact, that he is not from EU/USA. Totally pathetic really, just like the most of this forum. Conclusion, poeple in west are more stupid than people in east, and they hate more than vise versa. ITs just a fact... Just look at todays game, everybody hates Serbs. They are from east, and they where in some wars 30 years ago, we don't know wich wars, and what happend, but we know he is evil. and we are stupid....

This has got to be a major factor.

Also, would like to add if Djokovic continues to play his game, it really doesnt matter to whom the morons in the stadium really support.

Figger wagging to all parts of the stadium like a Grandpa and they tell Connors was really a showman. :rolleyes:

Caesar1844
09-26-2011, 11:39 AM
Well the media love him now, cause he doesn't play.
Heh, this.

Guy was one of the most boring, suffocating players on the Tour - with a personality to match.

He's a saint compared to Connors though. You'd have to be American to like JC. Personally, I wouldn't piss on him if he was on fire.

And people here wonder, why was he hated back than, why didn't he had any fans? why did the crowd support the other guy, bla bla bla. Well, the simple answer to that question is. Most of the poeple in west, common people, are so stupid, that they are easyly brainwashed, and manipulated, they are just one of the sheep. They hated him and rooted for others becuase Lendl was not german or american. Just like today, Djokovic gets alot of hate from western fans, just look at crowd on US open, crowd in French open, wimbledon and so on, they are always rooting against Djokovic, for the simple fact, that he is not from EU/USA. Totally pathetic really, just like the most of this forum. Conclusion, poeple in west are more stupid than people in east, and they hate more than vise versa. ITs just a fact... Just look at todays game, everybody hates Serbs. They are from east, and they where in some wars 30 years ago, we don't know wich wars, and what happend, but we know he is evil. and we are stupid....
Total rot. People desensitised to the baseline-everything game we've seen develop in the last 10 years (and/or who didn't grow up having to watch Lendl) forget how boring he was. Nothing I enjoyed more than watching guys like Cash and Edberg give him the business.

Great, great player but he was disliked for an awful lot more than his nationality. Heck, I wouldn't even think his nationality was relevant at all. Everyone loved Navratilova.

Dougie
09-26-2011, 03:21 PM
And people here wonder, why was he hated back than, why didn't he had any fans? why did the crowd support the other guy, bla bla bla. Well, the simple answer to that question is. Most of the poeple in west, common people, are so stupid, that they are easyly brainwashed, and manipulated, they are just one of the sheep. They hated him and rooted for others becuase Lendl was not german or american. Just like today, Djokovic gets alot of hate from western fans, just look at crowd on US open, crowd in French open, wimbledon and so on, they are always rooting against Djokovic, for the simple fact, that he is not from EU/USA. Totally pathetic really, just like the most of this forum. Conclusion, poeple in west are more stupid than people in east, and they hate more than vise versa. ITs just a fact... Just look at todays game, everybody hates Serbs. They are from east, and they where in some wars 30 years ago, we don't know wich wars, and what happend, but we know he is evil. and we are stupid....

Sorry but that is just utter crap. Weīre talking about the 1980īs-90īs, not the dark ages. People were aware of the political climate, and knew what the situation with a lot of the eastern-European countries was. Sure, there was also a lot of propaganda going on, but if you think that most people hated Lendl because he wasnīt american or german ( I donīt know why you even picked these examples, you do know there were two very different Germanies back then..?) youīre wrong. As for Djokovic, the reason a lot of people donīt like him is because his young, his winning everything at the moment, heīs beating Federer and Nadal, who are perceived as "senior ambassadors" of the game. And heīs also somewhat arrogant ( not saying thatīs a bad thing, you need to be arrogant to be a champion). People donīt cheer for these kind of guys. It has nothing to do with his nationality, thatīs the way it goes for them all. You think McEnroe was popular when we first came to Wimbledon and started throwing his racket around? Being american didnīt make him popular, it took time. Agassi? Same thing, he had a lot of haters in the beginning. If Djokovic stays at the top for 5-10 years and starts getting beaten by younger players, he will get the same support Nadal and Federer are getting now. Regardless of nationalities.

nostaw1969
09-26-2011, 09:44 PM
[QUOTE=fast_clay;11386215]:spit: :haha:



i wish upon you one thousand justine henin herpes sores around your mouth and genitalia...

Boy, you just OOZE class, don't you? I noticed you didn't dispute anything I said. Right back at ya, Big Guy...:smash: