Ivan Lendl, the most successful player in professional tennis the last eight months, said yesterday he will not compete at Wimbledon. At the same time, officials of the D.C. National Bank Tennis Classic announced Lendl will play here July 17-26.
Lendl will represent Czechoslovakia next weekend in Davis Cup competition, then play a five-set exhibition with Guillermo Vilas in Reno, Nev., the next week. His next tournament appearance will be at the Rock Creek Tennis Stadium.
The new tournament replaces the Washington Star International.
John Harris, the tournament's co-chairman, and U.S. Davis Cup Captain Arthur Ashe held a news conference here yesterday to announce that Lendl will join defending champion Jose-Luis Clerc, Eliot Teltscher, Yannick Noah, Andres Gomez and Jose Higueras in the 64-player field. Harris said Peter McNamara will likely join the field, but he is unsure of the plans of Vilas, who won the Washington Star International three times and was a finalist last year.
John McEnroe, the top men's player, almost never plays on clay-court surfaces, and Harris said Jimmy Connors probably will reduce his clay court appearances. "I'm not sure Connors, at 30 yars old, can beat any of the guys I've mentioned, anyway," said Harris.
D.C. National Bank assumed sponsorship of the $240,000 Volvo Superseries event in January, after the Washington Star went out of business.