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.

1 http://www.atptennis.com
2 http://www.wikipedia.org