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Lendl to return to tennis after 16-year break

Lendl was at the top of the world ranknigs for 270 weeks during his remarkable career.
Lendl was at the top of the world ranknigs for 270 weeks during his remarkable career.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Former world number one Ivan Lendl is to return to competitive tennis
  • Czech great will play in Champions Tour tournament in Paris in October
  • He will face his former arch-rival John McEnroe in the round-robin section of event
  • Lendl quit professional tennis in 1994 after winning eight grand slams

(CNN) -- Eight-time grand slam champion Ivan Lendl is to return to competitive tennis and renew his rivalry with John McEnroe in a Champions Tour event in Paris later this year.

The 50-year-old Czech has barely picked up a racket since quitting in 1994, but is breaking his self-imposed exile to play in the Jean Luc Lagardere Trophy from October 1-3 in Paris.

And he will go head-to-head with McEnroe, the man he beat in the same city to win a memorable French Open final in 1984, his first grand slam triumph and the first of three titles at Roland Garros.

It was a painful defeat for McEnroe, who led by two sets and never came as close to winning the clay court grand slam.

Past masters still court glory on Champions Tour

He is looking forward to meeting Lendl again on Parisian clay, this time at the Paris Racing Club in the Bois de Boulogne.

I know he's been working most of the last year to get back into the type of shape he needs to be in, because it doesn't get any easier as you get older
--John McEnroe
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"Oh boy, l'm looking forward to it. We had some great matches together but it's been a long time and he hasn't played for more than 15 years so I think we need to discuss a few things, both on and off the court!

"I know he's been working most of the last year to get back into the type of shape he needs to be in, because it doesn't get any easier as you get older. But we'll be giving it our all, that's for sure," he told the official ATP Champions Tour website.

Lendl's decision to join the circuit of former world number one's, grand slam champions and finalists, and Davis Cup winners completes the full set of legendary champions from the past three decades who will have played on the ATP Champions Tour.

Also returning to the Champions Tour after a gap of seven years for the event will be French ace Yannick Noah, while former world number one and French Open champion Mats Wilander is also in the six-man field.

Lendl has spent much of his retirement playing golf and has appeared in professional tournaments.

Two of his five daughters are also top class golfers and hoping to play on the LPGA Tour.