Ivan Lendl is best known for his celebrity status as a star tennis player. He rose to the top of the sport in the 1980s, and dominated the game of professional tennis for nearly 5 years. He's retired from the game now, but we recently learned that he's amassed a net worth of an amazing $40 million. Did he really make this much money playing pro tennis or did he have other income sources? We were interested in knowing so we did a little research on his career and here is what we found out.
His early life
Ivan was born in the Czech Republic in the Ostrava, Moravian-Silesian area. His mother and father were both Czechoslovakian champions with his mother achieving the rank of number two female player in the entire country. He came by both his love of tennis and his high skills honestly. He played as a youth and participated at both Wimbledon and the French Open and established himself as the number one junior player in the world at the competitive matches becoming internationally recognized. This was, however, just the beginning of a career that would span 11 years and result in multiple sweeps and victories. The young tennis player had his share of ups and downs but there were far more ups than there were lows in his career.
In 1978, Ivan went pro as a tennis player and he scored the win for seven singles, garnering the titles in 1980, as well as winning three tournaments in three weeks in a row. The same year, he participated in the Czechoslovakian team that won the Davis Cup, and the following year, the team were victors earning the World Team Cup. They moved on to become runners up for the 1984 and 1985 matches. Lendl lost his posturing with the Czech Tennis Association when he immigrated to the United States in 1986, and they viewed his move as "illegal defection." Ivan enjoyed a 44 game winning streak before leaving the Czech Tennis circuit. He made his home in Greenwich, Connecticut and played in the World Championship Tennis tour, winning each of the ten tournaments he participated in, also defeating John McEnroe on several occasions and also beating him at the Masters Grand Prix. Because of all his victories, Ivan Lendl became the single highest-paid tennis player ever. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2001.
Ivan Lendl maintained his status as the highest-earning professional tennis player throughout the 1980s and early 1990s until he was forced to retire from playing the game because of chronic back pain, in 1994. He left at the top of the circuit and went into coaching because he still had a lot to offer the world of tennis and new hopefuls which were up and coming in the sport. Even though he was arguably considered to be one of the best tennis players in the world, he left the profession without even having won a Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon. This didn't prevent him from being considered the best in the world, however. Those who learned from his coaching were among the fortunate, as he brought to the table years of professional tennis playing experience and a slew of victories against some of the most formidable opponents in the sport.
How Ivan Lendl made his fortune
We quickly discovered that the bulk of Ivan Lendl's fortune has in fact come from his outstanding career and a professional tennis player. When we reviewed his annual earnings, the winnings that he raked in were phenomenal, as were his assets. In 1995 he listed a property at Palm Beach for $5 million, and this was just one of his assets. In 2014 his Connecticut home was valued at $19,750,000. His salary for 1993 was over a million dollars, and closer to two million in 1992. Year after year he consistently pulled in hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in prize money with some years exceeding $2 million.
What contributed to Ivan Lendl's great success?
We could surmise that having professional parents who exceeded at playing the game was a factor, which it probably was. His constant exposure to the game was no doubt a big help. Ivan has been described as a very serious player on the court, seldom smiling, but this just showed that he was totally concentrating on the game, and it paid off in aces. Ivan Lendl is arguably the best tennis player to ever compete on the courts and he owes his fortune to his tremendous skill at playing the game.
Ivan Lendl is one of those legendary athletes who took the world of professional tennis by storm, both in his native country of Czechoslovakia and in his new home in America, garnering international fame and recognition for his contributions to the sport as well as for his unique style of playing. He won multiple titles and rose to the status of number one in the world, maintaining his titles for as many as 270 consecutive days with an all-time high of a 44 match winning streak. When he could no longer play the game due to intense back pain, he coached others to share his knowledge with the rest of the world, which was a great benefit to the new players who would one day compete on the same courts that he had won so many matches himself. Ivan made a fortune of forty million dollars during his tenure as a legendary pro tennis player. He came from a family of seasoned professionals which gave him an edge on the game, but his natural talent along with his stolid dedication to mastering the game is the reason that he was able to take his career to the absolute heights of glory. His name is recorded in the history books and will forever remain in the history of the sport of tennis as one of the greatest players of all time.
Written by Garrett Parker
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