Ivan Lendl occupies his free time with other sports as he tries to secure an elusive Wimbledon title.
"It's OK with me," said Lendl when asked if it bothered him that others in the field are receiving more attention than him. "I'm just watching my soccer matches and playing my golf."Lendl, the world's top-ranked player, has captured three French Open titles and three U.S. Open titles. But he has failed to win Wimbledon. He has lost in the finals the past two years, in 1986 to Boris Becker and 1987 to Pat Cash.
"I don't feel any pressure to win here," he said. "I haven't had too much luck with my health this year."
Lendl has recovered from chest muscle problems that handicapped him at the French Open earlier this month.
Lendl weathered a major challenge Friday by downing Holland's Michiel Schapers 6-7 (-7), 7-6 (-3), 6-4, 6-7 (-5), 6-1, to move into the fourth round of the $4.3 million tournament.
"A win here or at the U.S. Open - a win at any Grand Slam - is a good year," said Lendl, 28. "I would like to make this my year."
Lendl appears to be coming to grips with the vagaries of the fast grass at the All-England Club as he slogs through the draw.
"I can't win the Grand Slam this year, so the best I can do is to win here or at the U.S. Open," said Lendl, a Czechoslovak, now living in Connecticut. "You have to play your own game.
"If you worry about what the other players are up to, you can get into trouble."
Lendl, along with Schapers, managed to further damage the turf on the heavily battered No. 2 court in a power struggle that lasted a shade under four hours.
"I think the center of the baseline looked like the rough of a golf course," Schapers said when the firing of big serves died down.
Lendl, a 10-handicap golfer, retorted: "At my country club, the rough isn't anywhere near that bad."
Lendl characterized his effort as "just another day at Wimbledon."
"I always expect the matches anywhere to be tough. This one didn't disappoint me.
"If someone is going to beat me, they'll have to do it with good play," Lendl added. "I'm not going to beat myself."