Former Wimbledon Champion Jan Kodes Allegedly Involved in Cold War Espionage, Monitoring Ivan Lendl for Czechoslovakia Amid Defection Fears

In a surprising twist at Wimbledon this year, former champion Jan Kodes was seen in the company of none other than James Bond actor Daniel Craig.

However, beneath the surface, Kodes has a controversial past that has recently come to light: involvement in espionage.

Back in the early 1980s, Jan Kodes, who had clinched the Wimbledon men’s singles title in 1973, found himself entangled in a covert operation orchestrated by Communist Czechoslovakia’s secret police, the StB.

At the heart of the matter was the fear that tennis sensation Ivan Lendl might defect to the West, much like Martina Navratilova had done in 1975.

Dubbed ‘Operation Winner,’ this clandestine initiative aimed to monitor Lendl closely.

According to state archives, Kodes was reportedly enlisted to keep tabs on Lendl’s activities, signing a secretive pact to report any suspicious activities or potential plans to defect.

Kodes’s Denial and Defense

Despite these revelations, Kodes vehemently denies any active collaboration with the StB.

He recalls being interrogated by secret agents at various points but claims no memory of signing any official documents or attending confidential meetings as alleged in state records.

Kodes maintains that any information attributed to him likely originated from other StB operatives within the Czechoslovak Tennis Federation.

A Personal Stand Against Communism

Speaking out against the allegations, Kodes emphasized his family’s staunch anti-Communist stance.

He asserts that collaborating with the oppressive regime would have been unthinkable, highlighting his father’s strong disapproval had he ever considered such a betrayal.

In conclusion, while Kodes’s presence at Wimbledon sparks nostalgia for his athletic achievements, his past ties to espionage underscore a darker chapter in Czechoslovakia’s history during the Cold War era.

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