Ivan Lendl, was a gothic presence at Wimbledon in the 80s. His dark sunken eyes resonated with Count Dracular, even while dressed in very short white shorts that would make any other man’s eyes water; he came over as the Norman Tebbitt of the Centre Court.
Something made me produce this artwork in the 80’s. I chose him as a subject when I could have chosen either of his main contemporaries, Borg and McEnroe It was certainly not Lendl’s charisma that affected me, and his lucrative exhibition matches in Sun City, certainly did not endear him to me, or the Czech Davies Cup team that threw him out.
Perhaps it was simply his tennis, since he found a way of beating McEnroe and won eight Grand Slam titles.
Below is an analysis of his tennis skills, ripped off from Wikipedia.
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.