I was appalled by your cover billing and story about THE CHAMPION THAT NOBODY CARES ABOUT (The Americanovakian Open, Sept. 15). No wonder Ivan Lendl has a poor image—the press promotes it. Your cover was all the more shocking to me in light of the commendable way Lendl carried himself during the U.S. Open. I was charmed for the first time by the way he handled TV interviews. At last he seems relaxed and confident and able to show humor in front of the camera. On the court his behavior reminded me of Chris Evert Lloyd's—not stern, but determined and concentrated. Chris overcame her Ice Maiden image years ago. I hope Ivan will be able to overcome his "dull" image also.
You are sending the wrong message to our youth. Would you rather have them acting like John McEnroe?
Curry—as in hot and spicy?—Kirkpatrick had some viciously funny lines in his razzmatazz account of the U.S. Open. ( Don Rickles, watch out.) But isn't it enough that Ivan Lendl displays an absolute mastery of his game, without taking him to task for personality shortcomings? The really dull thing about the Open wasn't Lendl but the caliber of his opposition. Let's not double-fault Ivan for that.
New York City
Just because Ivan Lendl exercises self-control on the tennis court and reserves his private life for himself, he does not deserve to be characterized by glib Curry Kirkpatrick as a "wonder cipher." Your writer is guilty of the same sort of jingoistic boosterism that makes it impossible for American tennis fans to admire the superb athleticism of the Czech players. Does it require on-court tantrums and off-court escapades or shameless playing to the crowd to capture our imagination? If Lendl is indeed THE CHAMPION THAT NOBODY CARES ABOUT, this reflects badly not on him but on the American public.
I take offense at your cover story. Perhaps some of those people attending the Open in their green pants, pink shirts and blue blazers don't appreciate Lendl and his tennis excellence, but sophisticated fans do.
I write on behalf of thousands of people, young and old, in Greenwich and the Fairfield County, Conn., area who have come to know Ivan Lendl as a private citizen and neighbor and who like and respect him. In addition to being a magnificent tennis player, he is a man of immense good will, intelligence, humor and generosity of spirit; he unselfishly commits himself to a variety of charitable and educational causes around our community.
Yes, he eschews the posturing of a Jimmy Connors or a John McEnroe. But he has done for American tennis what has eluded Connors and McEnroe: He has demonstrated to legions of upcoming young tennis enthusiasts that concentration, dedication, reliability and self-control are essential components of excellence. With all his formidable execution, Lendl emerges as a gentleman and a positive role model. We should wish to see even more of him at center court.
ALEXANDER A. UHLE
Greenwich (Conn.) Academy
I care about him, and I am not a "nobody." I am a sports fan!
New York City
Tell Ivan that lots of people care about him. We do!
EILEEN WILSON, KATHLEEN MCCONAGHY, FRANCES Y. CRAWFORD, BARBARA FORCE, JACK WILSON and BETSY KOHLHEPP
In all honesty, my pulse grows more rapid when I count sheep than it does when I watch Lendl play tennis. The guy doesn't even make complaining to a judge interesting. I think we need another first-rate American jerk at the helm.