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ATP Heritage: Ivan Lendl, 1985-87, '89

On 23 August, ATP celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Emirates ATP Rankings. We continue our countdown with a look at Ivan Lendl, the 1985-87, 1989 year-end No. 1. #ATPHeritage

Ivan Lendl fully transferred junior potential to achievement on the ATP World Tour.

When he became the fifth player to hold No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on 28 February 1983, the Czech had yet to win a major.

"Did I strive to be No. 1? I never did," said Lendl, who became a United States citizen in 1992. "I always thought that being No. 1 should be a by-product of winning majors."

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Lendl worked hard to become an accomplished all-court player. 

He ultimately won eight major singles titles from 19 finals, including eight straight at the US Open starting in 1982, and nine consecutive Masters finals [now named Barclays ATP World Tour Finals].

Many thought his record of 270 weeks as the world's best player would never be broken. Only Pete Sampras (286 weeks) and Roger Federer (302 weeks) have bettered the mark. 

He had eight different tenures at No. 1, including 157 straight weeks from 9 September 1985 to 12 September 1988, when Mats Wilander in a career-best season supplanted him.

"A lot of people ask me how many weeks I was the No. 1 and I honestly don't know and they never believe me," said Lendl. "But I understand its value and I appreciate the achievement. It's a great achievement."

Lendl finished year-end No. 1 in 1985-87 and 1989. He lifted 94 singles trophies, No. 2 in Open Era title-leaders, before retiring due to a back injury in 1994.

Read more about Lendl in "No. 1", our special commemorative coffee table book, celebrating all year-end ATP World Tour No. 1s over the past 40 years. Buy Online Through Tennis Warehouse: Europe | Outside Europe

This year, the ATP pays special tribute to 25 former World No. 1s as part of the ATP Heritage programme, marking 40 years since the ranking system was introduced in 1973.


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