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Surgery Could Force Lendl to Miss 6 Weeks

Times Staff Writer

Ivan Lendl may not be able to play tennis for 6 weeks, possibly 3 months, after undergoing shoulder surgery.

Lendl, 28, the world’s second-ranked player, had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder at Centinela Hospital Medical Center Friday where Dr. Frank Jobe removed loose cartilage. According to a spokesman for Spectrum Sports Inc., Lendl’s company in Greenwich, Conn., Jobe will examine Lendl again in 4 weeks to re-evaluate his status.

Jobe said the fragments of cartilage ertr inflamed and caused some discomfort when Lendl hit his backhand.

“It was like a knife sticking you,” Jobe said. “There was quite a bit of degeneration changes in the cartilage . . . just from years of playing tennis.”

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Lendl complained about soreness in his shoulder for a month before the U.S. Open, where he lost a 5-set match to Mats Wilander in a final that lasted nearly 5 hours. Five days later, Lendl pulled out of the Volvo/Los Angeles tournament because of shoulder problems.

The first male player to pass $12 million in earnings, Lendl made $2,003,656 in 1987, but he is having an off-year. This year, Lendl is fifth on the money list with $598,938 in winnings. Also, for the first time since 1983, he did not win at least one grand-slam event.

Lendl’s 3-year reign as the world’s top player ended when he lost to Wilander at the U.S. Open, a victory that vaulted the Swede to No. 1.

Lendl, a five-time Nabisco Masters champion, might be ready to play again in this year’s event, Nov. 28, in New York, the spokesman said.

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“That’s probably pushing it,” Jobe said. “I don’t see how he can.”

Lendl also has two exhibition commitments in Europe early in November, which he may be able to play, the spokesman said.


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