Tennis: Lendl delays plan to retire

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The Independent Online
IVAN LENDL, who is 33, has shelved any plans to retire until the end of this year. The Czech-born former world No 1, now an American citizen and playing in a United States team for the first time at the Hopman Cup in Perth, said yesterday he felt happier about his game after a seven-week winter break from the circuit.

'I'm definitely giving myself the whole year,' said Lendl, who had a dismal 1993 with first-round defeats at the Australian, French and US Opens. 'I'll just play for the year and see how I like it and feel about it.'

Lendl, who will make a rare foray into mixed doubles with Mary Joe Fernandez this week, agreed his enthusiasm for the game was at a low ebb when he completed his final tournament of the year in Antwerp last November.

Lendl, the winner of eight Grand Slam singles titles in a 15-year professional career, has entered the New South Wales Open in Sydney next week in the build-up to the Australian Open on 17 to 30 January. He is now ranked 19th in the world.

The return of the former Wimbledon champion, Pat Cash, to the top flight faltered when he suffered a back injury during a first-round defeat in the Australian men's hard- court championship in Adelaide yesterday. Cash, playing in his first ATP tournament for 15 months, strained his back during his 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 defeat by the Russian teenager Yevgeny Kafelnikov.

The 28-year-old Australian, who won Wimbledon in 1987, is making his latest comeback after recovering from a serious knee injury. Last week Cash successfully tested his knee in the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne, where he lost to his compatriot John Fitzgerald in the opening round.

'I can't believe it, my knee is feeling fantastic but the back is no good,' he said. Cash said he sustained the injury in attempting a smash at 4-4 in the opening set.

Another former Wimbledon champion, Stefan Edberg, suffered a recurrence of an old back injury as he beat South Africa's Gary Muller 6-1, 6-4 in the first round of the Qatar Open in Doha yesterday. However, the Swede said the injury, originally sustained in last year's Australian Open, was not serious. He now plays his compatriot, Anders Jarryd.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 31