adidas started producing tennis racquets in 1974. In the 70s, during the wood era, Ilie Nastase was adidas’ flagship player. But in the 80s, a new star emerged: Ivan Lendl.

Lendl rose quickly in the pro ranks, using a white Kneissl composite during 1980-1981. That frame was called the White Star Pro. In December 1980, Kneissl introduced the White Star Ivan Lendl which was similar to the White Star pro, but additionnally featured the component kevlar.
In 1981, Lendl signed with adidas and started to play with the GTX Pro model, which he would use through 1985. Lendl’s early GTX were paintjob Kneissl, as Kneissl produced the GTX pro frames for adidas in Austria.

Photos by: nctt8

In 1986, Lendl started to play with the adidas GTX pro-T until 1990. In 1990, he signed a reported $20 million racket and clothing contract with Mizuno. After Lendl’s shift to Mizuno, adidas lost significant market share and retired from racquet production in 1992, but came back in 2008.

About adidas return to racquets market:
“When they were leaving the racket business back in the early 1990s, they were telling us it was no longer a good business to be in,” Lendl said. “Maybe the climate has changed. Still, I’m very surprised.”

7 times Grand Slam champion John McEnroe is know as much for his fiery temper as for his tennis achievements.

Here’s a little selection of his most famous outbursts:

[youtube width=”480″ height=”385″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekQ_Ja02gTY[/youtube]

[youtube width=”480″ height=”385″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8j0eqZKTjpk[/youtube]

[youtube width=”480″ height=”385″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QSIF_I2ZUg[/youtube]

[youtube width=”480″ height=”385″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owzU9_J5Iuw[/youtube]

[youtube width=”480″ height=”385″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmJi_oc7t10[/youtube]

I feel like I’m back from tennis heaven: I spent the afternoon in Paris watching Lendl, Wilander, McEnroe and Edberg play. Here’s a quick recap in photos:

First match between old rivals: Ivan Lendl vs Mats Wilander. This match marks Lendl’s return to the competition.

I must say I’ve been quite impressed by Lendl and Wilander‘s playing level. Mats’ court coverage is amazing and Ivan’s forehand is powerful and precise.

Ivan Lendl

Ivan Lendl

Ivan Lendl

Ivan Lendl

Ivan Lendl
Read More

1982 French Open semi-final: Mats Wilander vs José-Luis Clerc

The semi-final against the Argentinian José-Luis Clerc was to go down in tennis history. Not because it was such a good match – but for its dramatic dénouement. At 6-5 and 40-30 in the fourth set Mats stood at match point. Clerc smacked a forehand that looked as if it hit the middle of the sideline. The line judge called the ball out. The umpire Jacques Dorfmann’s voice resounded over the capacity crowd in the centre court at Roland Garros:

“Game, set and match, Wilander.”

Clerc protested furiously. Mats stood there, bewildered, and Dorfmann climbed down from his chair, while the public performed a gigantic and unanimous whistling concert. When he reached the mark on the court, Dorfmann was confronted by an extremely unhappy Wilander:

“We must replay the point. I thought the ball was all right and I do not want to win the match in this way.”

The French umpire climbed up again. He took hold of the microphone and announced:

“At the request of Monsieur Wilander the point will be replayed.”

This phrase became itself a classic and has been associated with Mats Wilander throughout his career as a kind of symbol of the Swede’s sportsmanship. With the next match point Mats took his opportunity, and a place in the final was definitely his. The sequel to the match was hardly about the tournament at all.
The newsmen in the international media devoted about 90 percent of their space just to the theme of the remarkable Swede who asked if a point he had just won could be replayed. As everyone knew, this was not exactly a “friendly”, either, but a semi-final in the world’s greatest clay-court tournament where money in thousands lay on the line!

Extract from Mats Wilander and the Game Behind the Headlines

Mats Wilander is best remembered for his tenacity and his fair play, but also for his racquet, the mythic Rossignol F200.

Rossignol F200 racquet

The F200 Carbon was one of the early graphite models that replaced wooden and aluminium racquets in the early 80s.

During the 70s tennis boom and the transition from wood to graphite, some ski companies jumped into the tennis business: they had some expertise in the composites area that they put in their tennis racquets. HEAD was the first in 1969. Voekl, Rossignol, Kneissl and Fisher followed.
Mats experimentally played with a Prince CTS racquet at Wimbledon in 1989, and with another Rossignol model until the end of his career.