Ivan Lendl, who has preserved his privacy since retiring in 1994, will return to the tennis spotlight this summer for induction into the Hall of Fame.
"It's the ultimate honor in the game," said Lendl, who won eight Grand Slam titles and was ranked No. 1 for 157 consecutive weeks in the 1980s. "To be going in this year is exciting, and I'm looking forward to the ceremony."
Lendl and Mervyn Rose, an Australian star from the 1950s, will be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., on July 14. Their elections were announced Tuesday.
Lendl, bothered by a bad back, restricts his tennis these days to practice with his children. Four of his five kids, all 10 and younger, play the New England tournament circuit.
"They're still very young, so I don't have to do much moving," said Lendl, 40. "I don't play because No. 1, my back hurts, and No. 2, I can't hit the ball the way I would like. It's too frustrating, and I feel there's no need to put myself through it."
Lendl said he wouldn't be interested in playing on the senior tour.
"I would not, and neither would my back," he said.
Born in Czechoslovakia, Lendl became a U.S. citizen in 1992. He reached eight consecutive U.S. Open finals, winning in 1985-86-87. He won the French Open three times, the Australian Open twice and 86 other singles titles.
Lendl had a 10-0 record in Davis Cup matches, including doubles, and led Czechoslovakia to its only title in 1980.
"Every kid when they're starting, they have their dreams," he said. "It was a dream of mine as a kid to be the best player in Czechoslovakia and the best in the world. I was fortunate enough that my dream came true."
In rivalries with Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe, Lendl more than held his own, but he never won Wimbledon. He was runner-up twice and lost in the semifinals five times in his sport's biggest event.
"Obviously, I would have liked to have won Wimbledon," he said. "There's no secret about it."
Now living in Goshen, Conn., Lendl devotes his time to family and golf, which doesn't bother his back. He enjoys watching an occasional tennis match on TV and was impressed by the quality of play in Andre Agassi's semifinal victory over Pat Rafter at the Australian Open last month.
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