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Ivan Lendl

We talk to a tennis legend about his collaboration with Superga

  • Location: Petersham Nurseries, London

Three decades after the first release of the shoe Ivan Lendl wore during his glittering tennis career, Superga and tennis legend Ivan Lendl team up once again. To celebrate the launch of the latest version of the Sport Lendl, Superga invited us for an afternoon of food, drinks and entertainment at Petersham Nurseries where we got the chance to sit with him for an exclusive interview.

How did it feel after 30 years to be launching your Superga shoes once again?

Is it 30 years? I think it’s 40. From 1976 to now. It feels like we have come round full circle. It’s a very impressive collection and I’m looking forward to working with Superga more.

The oldest picture we can find of you wearing Superga shoes was in 1979, would that be the first time you wore them?

I believe I started wearing them in '76. I actually found a picture yesterday, you can’t identify the shoe but I’m pretty sure I was wearing them. But it was definitely before '79.

What was it about that era that attracted you to Superga? Why did you choose those shoes at the time?

Well, they actually choose me. They came and offered to make a shoe for me to play tennis in and work together. And they were the first shoes, it was very easy to see why I liked it.

I just feel fortunate to have played against so many great players.

Ivan Lendl - Finished his career with 94 singles titles

How did your relationship with Superga start?

They approached me when I was 16 in Italy and asked me if I would be interested in collaborating. And of course as a 16 year old I liked that and that’s when they bought me the shoe, and I liked it. It’s the shoe I’m wearing right now actually.

Did you have any input into the initial design of the original or in this case, the remake?

I had no input in the original and as far as the remake goes, we talked back and forth and I wanted to make sure they had the original shoe as well. I’m getting a lot of good comments from friends of mine. I’m not a fashion guy so I can’t judge but I’ve walked around and looked at them and there are some I haven’t even seen yet but I really like them.

Do you were Superga off court?

I wear sneakers all the time. If it’s not a golf shoe, it’s a sneaker on my foot. Either that or flip flops.

As a player you had some great matches in the golden era of tennis, and of course you won an awful lot. What would you say was your most satisfying victory of all?

Everybody asks me that and I can’t really answer. I have to say that every time you win a major, especially for the first time, it’s always more special than the second or third time. But they all taste very sweet.

There were a lot of good players back then. Who would you say was your biggest rival?

I played against a lot of great players like Borg, Becker, and Agassi etc. I played with all of those guys so it’s impossible to name one. You would have to take the surface into consideration as well. I just feel fortunate to have played against so many great players.

The shoe is a great example of a successful throwback. If you could bring something back from the 70s or 80s what would it be?

I’m not necessarily a fan of today’s string because it makes tennis kind of one dimensional, it’s very difficult not to just bash the ball from the baseline and try to win points that way. So maybe if we could bring back the old string, that’d be nice.

Ivan Lendl Interview

Proud to announce their collaboration with Ivan Lendl, Superga invited us to join them for an afternoon of food, drinks and entertainment at Petersham Nurseries for the launch of the latest Sport Lendl.

What do you think it is about your coaching style that gets the best out of Andy Murray? Out of all of his coaches, you’ve had the biggest impact by far.

Ivan: I don’t know. I try to coach the way I know how to coach and fortunately it’s working.

It’s been 40 years since the Lendl Sport first dropped. Has much changed from the original shoe?

Ivan: Well as I said, the shoe I’m wearing is the original design. It’s exactly the same shoe. I don’t have any at home unfortunately, I asked my mum but she didn’t have them.

With Andy Murray and his history at Wimbledon in recent years, the hope is for him to get another title in the next few weeks. Are you doing anything differently this time round to change his style of play?

I hope he performs well enough to win all the matches he needs to win but I just look at what’s going on and go from there, I don’t come in with any new ideas.

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