Ivan Lendl, from Ostrava, Czechoslovakia
, is a former world number one ranked tennis player. Born March 7, 1960, he earned U.S. $21,262,417 in his entire career, during which he accumulated 100 titles (94 in singles, 6 in doubles).
Lendl turned pro in 1978. His first Grand Slam victory came some time later, at the 1984 French Open
, where he defeated John McEnroe 3-6, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 7-5. He would go on to win against the same opponent at the following year's US Open
, only this time he did it in straight sets. Lendl kept up a hellish pace of training and tournament play to in time enjoy a total of 270 (non-consecutive) weeks ranked World No. 1, breaking Jimmy Connors
' previously held record.
Comparison with Federer
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 with at least 90% match wins in four different years (1982 was the first). From the 1985 U.S. Open through the 1988 Australian Open, Lendl reached ten consecutive Grand Slam singles semifinals -- a record that also was equalled by Federer in 2006.1
The only grand slam title Lendl failed to capture was Wimbledon
, despite reaching the finals twice (in 1986 and 1987, losing both in straight sets to Boris Becker
and Pat Cash respectively
Some interesting trivia about the man:
- He became a U.S. Citizen in 1992
- Lendl's earnings were a record for his own time, and he remains in the top ten list of the highest ever prize money winning male tennis players.
- After finishing his tennis career, Lendl has taken up golf, earning a handicap of 0 and organizing a charity competition in 2004 called the "Ivan Lendl Celebrity Golf Tournament". 2
- Now he spends his time developing the golfing skills of his daughters, of which he has five to wife Samantha Frankel.