ATP Champions Tour
Ivan Lendl To Play ATP Champions Tour Event In Paris
by Press Release|
Ivan Lendl will end a period of 16 years out of tennis by playing in an ATP Champions Tour event for the first time. The former World No.1 and winner of eight Grand Slam titles will make his long-awaited Tour debut at theJean Luc Lagardere Trophy (October 1-3) in Paris, the site of his three French Open victories. He will come face-to-face with the man he defeated to win his first Grand Slam title in the same city in 1984 - John McEnroe.
Lendl’s appearance on the circuit of former World No.1’s, Grand Slam champions and finalist, and Davis Cup winners means that every great tennis champion of the past three decades will have played on the ATP Champions Tour.
Since retiring in 1994, Lendl has barely lifted a tennis racquet, preferring to spend his time on the golf course and with his wife and five children. At the age of 50, the Czech now feels it is time to return to the sport that made him a star, and will once again take to the Parisian clay courts, this time at the prestigious Paris Racing Club in the Bois de Boulogne.
Lendl’s meeting with McEnroe will revive a rivalry with the man that he vanquished in the final at Roland Garros in 1984. It was to be the American’s best chance of lifting an elusive French Open title. The pair met 36 times during their playing careers, with the Czech leading the head-to-head 21-15.
Faced with the opportunity to avenge that painful French Open final defeat, McEnroe said:
“Oh boy, l’m looking forward to it. We had some great matches together but it’s been a long time and he hasn’t played for more than 15 years so I think we need to discuss a few things, both on and off the court!
“I know he’s been working most of the last year to get back into the type of shape he needs to be in, because it doesn’t get any easier as you get older. But we’ll be giving it our all, that’s for sure.”
Also set to appear at the 2010 Jean Luc Lagardere Trophy will be the charismatic Frenchman Yannick Noah, who will be making a much-anticipated return to the ATP Champions Tour after an absence of more than seven years. Noah, who has pursued a successful career as a recording artist during his time away from tennis, has chosen Paris for his comeback since it was the scene of his historic win at Roland Garros in 1983.
The line-up in Paris will be further strengthened by the presence of yet another Roland Garros Champion and former World Number One, Mats Wilander. The Swede, who captured a total of seven Grand Slams during his illustrious career, currently sits in tenth position in the South African Airways Rankings, so will arrive in Paris hoping for a good run of form and some rankings points.
The six-man field will be rounded off by two players to be announced in the coming weeks.
Matches are played over the best of three sets, with a Champions’ Tie-break (first to 10 points with a clear advantage of two) to decide the winner. After all round-robin matches are complete, the top two players in each group will meet in Sunday's final.
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