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Ivan Lendl racquets

By 1980, the young Ivan Lendl had established himself firmly in the top ten. He played a Kneissl White Star Pro at that time, the very first model of the famous White Star line. In December 1980, Kneissl introduced the White Star Ivan Lendl which was similar to the White Star Pro, but additionally featured the component kevlar. However, the name of the new White Star racquet actually was an anachronism, as the Kneissl/Lendl era should very soon come to an end: Beginning from 1 January 1981, Lendl was contracted with adidas, from then on playing the Adidas GTX Pro Graphite which was identical with the White Star Pro, a true paint job. Shortly before his contract with Adidas began, on occasion of the Davis Cup final CSSR vs Italy (4:1) in December 1980, Lendl had already played a Kneissl White Star Pro revarnished into Adidas design. But Lendl`s shift to Adidas actually was a name game only, as Kneissl produced the GTX Pro Graphite for Adidas in Austria. Later on, the Adidas GTX Pro Graphite Ivan Lendl was made in a separate factory in France on behalf of Adidas, but evidently Kneissl still sold Adidas the respective molds. Lendl used to play the GTX Pro and soon thereafter the personalized and slightly modified version, the GTX Pro Graphite Ivan Lendl (again, a paint job, as this racquet was identical with the Kneissl White Star Lendl) until 1985, then switching to the GTX Pro-T, a slightly modified GTX Pro Graphite Ivan Lendl with a new design. However, at Wimbledon 1985, by way of exception Lendl used the black Adidas GTX Mid-T frame and lost to Henri Leconte in the fourth round.

In the course of the 80ies, Adidas produced quite a large variety of other rackets carrying Lendl`s name (e.g. the CF series), almost exclusively midsize rackets, but not all of these proved to be really good tennis rackets. In 1985, Adidas wanted Lendl to switch to the Adidas Ivan Lendl CF 25-G, but Lendl didn`t come to grips with the 25% larger head size, sticking to his GTX Pro Graphite Ivan Lendl. As a consequence, Adidas launched the GTX Pro-T in the aftermath.

Lendl terminated his Adidas contract as of 31 Decemver 1989, moving to Japan company Mizuno. He entered a multi-year 15 million USD (plus bonus) deal with Mizuno for both racquets and clothes that should last from 1990 until 1995 (Lendl resigned in 1994). Nevertheless Lendl still played his GTX Pro-T for a bit, until Mizuno made him his old Kneissl/Adidas racquet with a Mizuno paint. They even sold an exact version of this model in Japan only. The rest of the world got the frame Lendl used to play solely on grass at Queens and Wimbledon, the 90si version which had a considerably larger head size than the GTX Pro-T paint job. With the Mizuno Lendl 90si, Lendl at least won Queens in 1990.

Mizuno Ivan Lendl racquets are highly expensive, much sought-after collector racquets.

Ivan Lendl playing his signature racquets, the legendary Adidas GTX Pro and Pro-T Ivan Lendl.

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Warren Bosworth`s customised Lendl racquets

The GTX Pro-T racquet on the photo below belongs to a batch of racquets customised for Ivan Lendl himself by Warren Bosworth for his personal use in tournament play.The racquet was a selected version among the normal Pro-T ones to match Ivan Lendl's preferred balance according to the tournament and the surface he was going to play. Contrary to what people believe Lendl did use different variants of Pro-T slightly different in balance and weight to match tournament conditions (a precursor of modern professional racquet tuning). Warren Bosworth used to make this selection receiving racquets directly from Adidas according to Lendl's specifications. What never changed among Bosworth customized Adidas GTX-Pro was Lendl's preferred pigskin suede grip he used for almost his entire career. The grip was also customized by Warren Bosworth.


 

Ivan Lendl racquet gallery

 

 

! Absolutely unique ! A must see: Kranjska's Ivan Lendl collection