Ivan Lendl (born March 7, 1960) is a former World No. 1 professional tennis player. Originally from Czechoslovakia, Lendl became a United States citizen. He was one of the game's most dominant players in the 1980s and remained a top competitor into the early 1990s. He is often considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Lendl captured eight Grand Slam singles titles. He competed in 19 Grand Slam singles finals, a record for a man since surpassed by Roger Federer in 2009. He reached at least one Grand Slam final for 11 consecutive years, a record for a man since equaled by Pete Sampras. Before the formation of the ATP Lendl reached 12 year end championship finals a record shared with John McEnroe. Competing on the World Championship Tennis tour, winning 2 WCT Finals titles and the Grand Prix Tennis Circuit where he won a record 5 Masters Grand Prix titles, since tied with Pete Sampras and Roger Federer. 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 World No. 1 for a total of 270 weeks, breaking the record previously held by Jimmy Connors (this has since been surpassed by Pete Sampras and Roger Federer).
Lendl's game relied particularly on strength and heavy topspin from the baseline and helped usher in the modern era of "power tennis". He himself called his game as "hitting hot", a relentless all-court game that was coming to dominate in tennis.
Lendl was born into a tennis family in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic). His parents were top players in Czechoslovakia. (His mother Olga was at one point ranked the No. 2 woman player in the country). Lendl turned professional in tennis in 1978. He started to live in the United States in 1981, first at the home of mentor and friend Wojtek Fibak; later, in 1984, Lendl bought his own residence in Greenwich, Connecticut. Ivan applied for and received a U.S. Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green 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 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. He became a U.S. citizen on July 7, 1992.
On September 16, 1989, six days after losing the final of the US Open to Boris Becker, Lendl married Samantha Frankel. They have five daughters: Marika (born May 4, 1990), twins Isabelle and Caroline (born July 29, 1991), Daniela "Crash" (born June 24, 1993), and Nikola (born January 20, 1998). 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 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. Daniela has signed a national letter of intent to attend The University of Alabama for the fall of 2011. His daughters, Caroline and Nikola, enjoy racing horses.
 South African exhibition and aftermath
In July 1983, Lendl played three exhibition matches (against Johan Kriek, Kevin Curren, Jimmy Connors) in Sun City, in the apartheid-era bantustan of Bophuthatswana. The Czechoslovak Sport Federation (ČSTV), controlled by the Communist Party, expelled him from the Czechoslovak Davis Cup team and fined him $150,000. Lendl disagreed with the punishment and fine.
In addition, the publication of his name and results in the Czechoslovak media was prohibited. The ban was extended not only to Lendl, but to anything about world tennis, all tennis tournaments and both men's and women's circuits (with the exception of blank Grand Slam results).
The appearance in this exhibition in Sun City and Lendl's Americanized living style ignited a long-lasting dispute between Lendl and the Czechoslovak communist authorities, which was never settled and resulted in his decision to apply for a green card in 1987 and later on for U.S. citizenship.
Lendl was known, along with Björn Borg, for using his heavy topspin forehand to dictate play. 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. Toward the end of his days on the ATP tour Lendl ended his long term clothing, shoe and racket 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
Lendl first came to the tennis world's attention as an outstanding junior player. In 1978, he won the boy's 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 10 titles including his first season ending Masters Grand Prix tour title defeating Vitas Gerulaitis in five sets.
In 1982, he won in total 15 of the 23 singles tournaments he entered and had a 44-match winning streak.
He competed on the separate World Championship Tennis (WCT) tour where he won all 10 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 2 circuits (Grand Prix and WCT), Lendl's haul of titles quickly made him the highest-earning tennis player of all time.
He won another seven tournaments in 1983.
But Grand Slam titles eluded Lendl 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. His 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.
Lendl's first Grand Slam title came at the 1984 French Open, where he defeated John McEnroe in a long final to claim what was arguably his best victory. Down two sets to love and later 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 Boris Becker (86) in straight sets and Mats Wilander (87) 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.