Ivan Lendl

Ivan Lendl

Lendl in Miami, 2012
Country (sports)  Czechoslovakia (1960–1992)
 United States (1992–)
Residence Goshen, Connecticut, US
Vero Beach, Florida, US[1]
Born (1960-03-07) March 7, 1960
Ostrava, Czechoslovakia
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)
Turned pro 1978
Retired 1994
Plays Right-handed (one-handed backhand)
Prize money US$ 21,262,417
Int. Tennis HoF 2001 (member page)
Career record 1068–242 (81.5%)
Career titles 94 (2nd in the Open era)
Highest ranking No. 1 (February 28, 1983)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open W (1989, 1990)
French Open W (1984, 1986, 1987)
Wimbledon F (1986, 1987)
US Open W (1985, 1986, 1987)
Other tournaments
Tour Finals W (1981, 1982, 1985, 1986, 1987)
Grand Slam Cup SF (1991)
WCT Finals W (1982, 1985)
Career record 187–140 (57.2%)
Career titles 6
Highest ranking No. 20 (May 12, 1986)
Team competitions
Davis Cup W (1980)
Coaching career
Coaching achievements
Coachee Singles Titles total 4

List of notable tournaments
(with champion)

Wimbledon 2013, 2016 (Murray)
US Open 2012 (Murray)
Olympic Gold Medal 2012, 2016 (Murray)

Ivan Lendl (Czech pronunciation: [ˈɪvan ˈlɛndl̩]; born March 7, 1960) is a former world No. 1 professional tennis player and is currently coaching current world number 1 Andy Murray, alongside Jamie Delgado.[2] Originally from Czechoslovakia, he became a United States citizen in 1992. He was one of the game's most dominant players in the 1980s and remained a top competitor into the early 1990s. He has been described as one of the greatest tennis players of all-time.[3] Lendl's game relied particularly on strength and heavy topspin from the baseline and helped usher in the modern era of "power tennis".

Lendl captured eight Grand Slam singles titles. He competed in 19 Grand Slam singles finals, a record surpassed by Roger Federer in 2009, Rafael Nadal in 2014 and Novak Djokovic in 2016. He reached at least one Grand Slam final for 11 consecutive years, a record shared with Pete Sampras, with the male primacy of eight consecutive finals in a Grand Slam tournament (a record shared with Bill Tilden at the US Open). Before the formation of the ATP, Lendl reached a record 12 year-end championships (equalled by John McEnroe). He won two WCT Finals titles and five Masters Grand Prix titles, with the record of nine consecutive finals. He also won a record 22 Grand Prix Super Series titles (1980–89), the precursors to the current ATP Masters 1000.

Lendl first attained the world No. 1 ranking on February 28, 1983 and bolstered his claim to the top spot when he defeated John McEnroe in the 1984 French Open final. For much of the next five years, Lendl was the top-ranked player, until August 1990 (with a break from September 1988 to January 1989 when Mats Wilander was at the top). He finished four years ranked as the world's top player (1985–1987 and 1989) and was ranked No. 1 for a total of 270 weeks and set a new record previously held by Jimmy Connors, since broken by Pete Sampras and Roger Federer. He is one of three male players (with Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer) to win more than 1000 tennis singles matches (1,071).[4] Lendl has won 94 singles titles, second only in the Open Era to Connors' 109 titles. Lendl has been runner-up in a record 11 grand slam finals.

Personal life

Lendl was born into a tennis family in Ostrava, Moravian-Silesian Region, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic). His parents were top players in Czechoslovakia, and his mother Olga, born Jeništová, was at one point ranked the no. 2 female player in the country. Lendl turned professional in tennis in 1978. He relocated to the United States in 1981, first living at the home of mentor and friend, Wojtek Fibak. In 1984, Lendl bought his own residence in Greenwich, Connecticut. Lendl applied for and received a U.S. Permanent Resident Card in 1987 and wanted to get U.S. citizenship as soon as possible to represent the USA in the 1988 Olympic Games and in the Davis Cup. A bill in Congress to bypass the traditional five-year waiting procedure was rejected in 1988 because Czechoslovak authorities refused to provide the necessary waivers.[5] He became a U.S. citizen on July 7, 1992.[6]

On September 16, 1989, six days after losing the final of the US Open to Boris Becker, Lendl married Samantha Frankel.[7] They have five daughters: Marika, twins Isabelle and Caroline, Daniela, and Nikola.[8] Lendl retired from tennis in 1994 at the age of 34 with a disability insurance payout for chronic back pain.[9] He transferred his competitive interests to professional golf, where he achieved a win on the Celebrity Tour. Still competitive at the mini-tour levels, Lendl now devotes much of his time to managing the development of his daughters' golfing abilities. Two of his daughters (Marika and Isabelle) are members of the University of Florida Women's Golf Team.[10][11] Daniela is a member of the University of Alabama Women's Golf Team.[12] His daughter Caroline walked onto the University of Alabama Women's Rowing Team for the 2011–2012 academic year, and his daughter Nikola enjoys eventing horses. Lendl has played in the Gary Player Invitational charity Pro-Am many times for friend and golf icon Gary Player.

Lendl is an art collector and has a nearly complete collection of posters by Alfons Mucha. The collection was exhibited in Prague in 2013.[13][14]

South African exhibition and aftermath

In July 1983 Lendl played three exhibition matches (against Johan Kriek, Kevin Curren, and Jimmy Connors) in Sun City, South Africa, in the apartheid-era bantustan of Bophuthatswana.[15] The Czechoslovak Sport Federation (ČSTV), controlled by the Communist Party, expelled him from the Czechoslovak Davis Cup team and fined him $150,000.[16] Lendl disagreed with the punishment and fine.

Playing style

Lendl was known, along with Björn Borg, for using his heavy topspin forehand to dictate play, although Borg's full Western-style topspin was more of a high loop. Lendl's forehand had a tighter topspin; was faster and flatter. His trademark shot was his running forehand, which he could direct either down the line or cross-court.

Early in his career, Lendl played a sliced backhand, but in the early 1980s he learned to hit his backhand with significant topspin. This shift allowed him to defeat John McEnroe in 1984 in the French Open, Lendl's first Grand Slam victory. In the first two sets, McEnroe used his habitual proximity to the net to intercept Lendl's cross-court passing shots. In the third set, Lendl started using lobs, forcing McEnroe to distance himself from the net to prepare for the lobs. McEnroe's further distance from the net opened the angles for Lendl's cross-court passing shots, which ultimately gained Lendl points and turned the match around.

Lendl's serve was powerful but inconsistent. His very high toss may have been to blame. Lendl's consistency from the baseline was machine-like. Though tall and apparently gangly, Lendl was very fast on the court. Lendl did not win Wimbledon because he could not sufficiently improve his consistency at the net. Grass courts yield notoriously bad bounces, and that destabilized his baseline game more than other baseliners. His groundstroke setup was very complete, almost robotic, and repeated bad bounces made him uncomfortable. Wimbledon in those days required reducing baseline play by coming to the net. He devoted considerable effort to improving his net play, but fell short of a Wimbledon title.


While professional, Lendl used Adidas clothing and Kneissl racquets, subsequently changing to Adidas racquets. Toward the end of his days on the ATP tour, Lendl ended his long-term clothing, shoe, and racquet deal with Adidas. He signed with Mizuno, and finally began to play with a mid-sized racket very similar to the Adidas racket he had used throughout most of his career, itself based on the Kneissl White Star model. Since 2010, he has been using Bosworth racquets.

Tennis career

Lendl first came to the tennis world's attention as an outstanding junior player. In 1978, he won the boys' singles titles at both the French Open and Wimbledon and was ranked the world no. 1 junior player.

Lendl made an almost immediate impact on the game after turning professional. After reaching his first top-level singles final in 1979, he won seven singles titles in 1980, including three tournament wins in three consecutive weeks on three different surfaces. The success continued in 1981, as he won ten titles, including his first season-ending Masters Grand Prix tour title, defeating Vitas Gerulaitis in five sets.

In 1982, he won 15 of the 23 singles tournaments he entered and had a 44-match winning streak.

Lendl competed on the separate World Championship Tennis (WCT) tour, where he won all ten WCT tournaments he entered, including winning his first WCT Finals, where he defeated John McEnroe in straight sets. He met McEnroe again in the Masters Grand Prix final and won in straight sets to claim his second season-ending championship of that particular tour. In an era when tournament prize money was rising sharply due to the competition between two circuits (Grand Prix and WCT), Lendl's haul of titles quickly made him the highest-earning tennis player of all time.

Lendl won another seven tournaments in 1983; however, Grand Slam titles eluded him in the early years of his career. He reached his first Grand Slam final at the French Open in 1981, where he lost in five sets to Björn Borg. Lendl's second came at the US Open in 1982, where he was defeated by Jimmy Connors. In 1983, he was the runner-up at both the Australian Open and the US Open.

Ivan Lendl in the final of the 1984 ABN World Tennis tournament in Rotterdam

Lendl's first Grand Slam title came at the 1984 French Open, where he defeated McEnroe in a long final to claim what was arguably his best victory. Down two sets to love, then trailing 4–2 in the fourth set, Lendl battled back to claim the title 3–6, 2–6, 6–4, 7–5, 7–5. McEnroe gained a measure of revenge by beating Lendl in straight sets in both finals of the US Open 1984 and Volvo Masters 1984 (played in January 1985).

Lendl lost in the final of the 1985 French Open to Mats Wilander. He then faced McEnroe again in the final of the US Open, and this time it was Lendl who emerged victorious in a straight-sets win. It was the first of three consecutive US Open titles for Lendl and part of a run of eight consecutive US Open finals. He reached the WCT Finals for the second and last time, defeating Tim Mayotte in three sets. Success continued when he also took the Masters Grand Prix title for the third time, defeating Boris Becker in straight sets.

In 1986 and 1987, he added wins in the French Open to his U.S Open victories, including the season-ending 1986 and 1987 Masters Grand Prix championship titles, where he defeated Becker (1986) in straight sets and Mats Wilander (1987) in three sets. This took him to his fifth and last Grand Prix year-end tour title.

During each of the years from 1985 through 1987, Lendl's match winning percentage was greater than 90%. This record was equalled by Roger Federer in 2006. Lendl, however, remains the only male tennis player with at least 90% match wins in five different years (1982 was the first, 1989 the last). From the 1985 US Open through the 1988 Australian Open, Lendl reached ten consecutive Grand Slam singles semifinals—a record that was broken by Federer at the 2006 US Open.

1989 was another very strong year for Lendl. He started the year by capturing his first Australian Open title with a straight sets final victory over Miloslav Mečíř and went on to claim 10 titles out of 17 tournaments he entered. Lendl successfully defended his Australian Open title in 1990.

The only Grand Slam singles title Lendl never managed to win was Wimbledon. After reaching the semi-finals in 1983 and 1984, he reached the final there twice, losing in straight sets to Becker in 1986 and Pat Cash in 1987. He reached the semi-finals in 1988 and 1989, but lost to Becker on both occasions. In 1990, as he reached the age of 30, Lendl put in intensive efforts to train and hone his game on grass courts. He switched to a larger headed racket and even skipped the 1990 French Open in order to spend more time practising on grass. His preparation looked to be paying dividends when he won the Queen's Club Championships, with comfortable straight set victories over McEnroe in the semi-final and Becker in the final. But his form had peaked too early, and he couldn't reproduce it at Wimbledon. Although he reached the semi-finals for the sixth straight year, he lost to Stefan Edberg, the eventual champion, in straight sets.

He remained near the top of the rankings in 1991, and again skipped the French Open in the hope of victory at Wimbledon, but when he lost in the third round to David Wheaton, it was clear that Lendl would never win that prestigious title. The Australian Open in January that year, where he lost in four sets to Becker, turned out to be his last Grand Slam final.

Lendl was part of the team that won Czechoslovakia's Davis Cup title in 1980. He was the driving force behind the country's team in the first half of the 1980s, but stopped playing in the event after he moved to the United States in 1986 because, in the eyes of communist Czechoslovakia's Tennis Association, he was an "illegal defector" from their country.

Lendl was also part of the Czechoslovak team that won the World Team Cup in 1981 and was runner-up in 1984 and 1985.

Lendl's success in the game was due in large part to his meticulous and intensive training and physical conditioning regime, his scientific approach to preparing for and playing the game, and a strong desire to put in whatever it took to be successful. It is believed that a contributing factor to his run of eight successive US Open finals and long record of success at that tournament was that he hired the same workers who laid the hardcourt surfaces at Flushing Meadows each year to install an exact copy in the grounds of his home in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Lendl announced his retirement from professional tennis on December 21, 1994, due to chronic back pain.[17] Although he did not play any official match following his defeat in the second round of the US Open in 1994, Lendl's final decision to retire came only three and a half months later.

Lendl won a total of 94 career singles titles listed by the ATP (plus 49 other non-ATP tournaments, thus making a total of 144 singles titles) and 6 doubles titles, and his career prize money of U.S. $21,262,417 was a record at the time. In 2001, he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

After finishing his tennis career, Lendl took up golf, earning a handicap of 0 and organizing a charity competition in 2004 called the "Ivan Lendl Celebrity Golf Tournament".

Lendl's professional attitude, modern playing style, scientific training methods, and unprecedented long-term success have had a considerable impact on today's tennis world. A typical Lendl quote is: "If I don't practice the way I should, then I won't play the way that I know I can."

On April 10, 2010, Lendl returned to play his first tournament since his 1994 retirement from tennis. He played in the Caesars Tennis Classic exhibition match in Atlantic City, New Jersey, against his rival from the late 1980s, Mats Wilander. He lost the one-set match 3-6.

On February 28, 2011, Lendl returned to the court again in an exhibition match with McEnroe at Madison Square Garden. It was planned to be a one-set, first-to-eight event. However, McEnroe, leading 6–3, injured his ankle and had to retire from the match.

In May 2012, Lendl played in Prague for the first time since the 1970s, as part of the 2012 Sparta Prague Open tournament. He defeated fellow Czech Jiří Novák in the exhibition match.[18]

Career statistics

Singles performance timeline

Czechoslovakia United States
Name19781979198019811982198319841985198619871988198919901991199219931994SR W–L
Grand Slams
Australian Open 2R F 4R SF NH SF SF W W F QF 1R 4R 2 / 12 48–10
French Open 1R 4R 3R F 4R QF W F W W QF 4R 2R 1R 1R 3 / 15 53–12
Wimbledon 1R 3R 1R SF SF 4R F F SF SF SF 3R 4R 2R 0 / 14 48–14
US Open 2R QF 4R F F F W W W F F QF SF QF 1R 2R 3 / 16 73–13
Win–Loss 0–1 4–3 9–4 9–3 9–2 20–4 20–3 20–3 20–1 24–2 20–4 21–3 16–2 13–3 12–4 1–4 4–3 8 / 57 222–49
Year-End Championships
Masters Grand Prix F W W F F W W W F SF SF SF 5 / 12 39–10
WCT Finals SF W F W SF 2 / 5 10–3


Professional awards


Tennis coaching career

Lendl in Team Murray, talking with Judy Murray.

On December 31, 2011, Lendl was appointed coach to Andy Murray.[25] Lendl has been credited with improving Murray's maturity and consistency, guiding the Scot to his first two Grand Slam victories in the 2012 US Open, and 2013 Wimbledon Championships, thereby ending the 77-year-old wait for a male British tennis player to win a Grand Slam Major.[26] After his win in the US Open 2012, Murray shared with Lendl the distinction of being the only players in the Open Era to have lost their first four Grand Slam finals, and winning the fifth.[26] On March 19, 2014, it was announced that Lendl and Murray would be ending their two-year coaching partnership.

On June 12, 2016, Lendl rejoined Andy Murray's coaching team, after which Murray accomplished a No. 1 ranking by the end of 2016, including his second Wimbledon title, third major championship overall and a second Olympic Gold Medal in singles.[27]

See also


  1. Known as "Masters Grand Prix" (1970–1989) and "ATP Tour World Championships" (1990–1999).


  1. Potter, Jerry (December 7, 2006). "Fatherhood, golf keep Lendl busy". USA Today. Retrieved July 25, 2012. He lives with his family in Florida, splitting time between Vero Beach and Bradenton
  2. "Andy Murray and Ivan Lendl reunited at Queen's Club". BBC Sport. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  3. "Top 10 Men's Tennis Players of All Time". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 23, 2010.
  4. "1,000th win for Roger Federer as he takes Brisbane title".
  5. "Lendl's bid to get U.S.citizenship earlier denied". The New York Times. September 6, 1988. Retrieved June 25, 2007.
  6. "Lendl becomes U.S.citizen". The New York Times. July 8, 1992. Retrieved June 28, 2007.
  7. "Lendl gets married". The New York Times. September 19, 1989. Retrieved June 25, 2007.
  8. Arkush, Michael (May 24, 2007). "The education of Ivan Lendl – a golfing dad". ESPN.
  9. De Jonge, Peter (June 20, 2012). "Can Ivan Lendl Lead Andy Murray to Tennis Greatness?". New York Times. Retrieved June 23, 2012.
  10. "Gator Women's Golf Roster/Bios". GatorZone.com. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  11. "Gator Women's Golf Roster/Bios". GatorZone.com. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  12. "2012-13 Women's Golf Roster". Rolltide.com. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  13. Willoughby, Ian (April 30, 2013). "Lendl: Mucha is only artist that interests me". Radio Prague. Retrieved August 1, 2013.
  14. WILLIAM GRIMES (September 10, 1993). "Posters: Populist Art For the Collector". New York Times. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  15. "Connors beats Lendl in the final of the Sun City round robin exhibition tournament". New York Times. July 11, 1983. Retrieved June 28, 2007.
  16. "SPORTS PEOPLE; Lendl Suspended". Czechoslovakia: New York Times. July 16, 1983. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  17. "Chronic back problems bring an end to Lendl's career". New York Times. December 21, 1994. Retrieved April 1, 2008.
  18. Fishpool, Nick (May 21, 2012). "Lendl takes to court at ITF Pro Circuit event in Prague". ITFTennis.com. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  19. "Novak Djokovic beats Andy Murray to win sixth Australian Open title". BBC Sport. 31 January 2016. [Murray] becomes only the second man - behind his former coach Ivan Lendl at the US Open - to lose five finals at the same Grand Slam since the open era began in 1968.
  20. Clarey, Christopher (July 8, 2012). "Federer Beats Murray, and Britain, for Seventh Wimbledon Title". The New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2012. The only other man in the Open era to lose his first four major finals is Ivan Lendl...
  21. "Grand Slam History". ATP World Tour. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
  22. 1 2 3 4 "US Open Singles Record Book". US Open. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 1, 2012. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
  23. "40 Greatest Players of the Tennis Era". Tennis magazine. Archived from the original on November 12, 2006.
  24. USSR Philately (in Russian). Moscow (4): cover's 4th page. April 1991. ISSN 0130-5689. Missing or empty |title= (help) – photo of this postage stamp
  25. "Andy Murray appoints Ivan Lendl as his new coach". BBC Sport. December 31, 2011. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
  26. 1 2 Ornstein, David (September 8, 2012). "Andy Murray beats Tomas Berdych to reach US Open final". BBC Sport. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
  27. Pierce Newberry. (June 12, 2016). Andy Murray says Ivan Lendl has rejoined his coaching team BBC, Retrieved June 12, 2016.

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