Stefan EdbergThe tennisplayer Stefan Edberg is nowadays a legend in his sport. I met himmyself in France in 1987. I was 8 years old. He and the other members of theSwedish Daviscup team were playing the Daviscup against France. However, beforethe training I met them in the lobby of their hotel in Frjus. My father knewthe Swedish captain of the team so we could watch them training.After thatStefan has been one of my idols.
I play tennis a lot myself. But now to thestory about Stefan Edberg.Saw the adHis career started when the local paper in Vstervik ( the town where he wasborn ) had an advertisement about mini-tennis in the early 70s. It said Day oftennis.Luckily his mother Barbro read the article and liked it. The day aftershe sent her son to the tennis-school for beginners. At that time she didn’tknow how important this initiative would be to Stefan, to Swedish tennis andeven to the world tennis.
An incredible athletic career had seen the morninglight.Was convinced to continueThe seven year old Stefan struck his first hits at the tennis school in thesommer of 1973. To start with he played once a week. He liked his new sportbut was close to quitting after the first term. -My friend wanted to quit,and sodid I. But my trainer convinced me to continue, Stefan says with a smile on hisface.
The young Edberg soon became taken by the sport. Soon he played matcheswith the boys’ team, and outside his home he played fantasy Davis Cup-matches. Inthe sommer holidays he almost lived at the tennis court. At the age of ten hestopped playing his two other sports, football and icehockey, and concentratedeverything on tennis. Soon he won his first tournament, Ostkustensprla, avery memorable victory for him.Star even in schoolBut a couple of years went by before he dared to go in for tennis full time.
He was in the ninth grade as took the big step and gave tennis the big chance.-I felt I had a serious chance of becoming a worldplayer. Because I hadjust won JEM and taken a set on Mats Wilander who was a professional player,Stefan says. But it couldn’t have been an easy choice, because Stefan wasalso a very good student with an average about 4,3 after the ninth grade.He was better than all the others!!!The trainers at the club where he was training, Westerviks TK, quickly realizedwhat a big talent this boy was. Just after a couple of years, they noticed thathis way of playing tennis was different from all the great Swedes who played atthat time, for an example Bjrn Borg.
Stefan attacked the net, as quickly aspossible,unlike the baseline players of that time. -I’ve never liked long rallys,but I’ve always had a good serve. I also grew tall pretty early so it fitted mewell to go forward to the net.His trainer encouraged him to continue to play his own game.
( I think that waspretty good ) His biggest triumphs as a junior were JEM in Nice in 1980 and agrandslam. ( Grandslam= To win all of the four biggest tournaments, Wimbledon,French Open, U.S Open and Australian Open!!! )The liftDuring high-school in the early 80s Stefan got in touch with the famous trainerPercy Rosberg, the person who had made Bjrn Borg a star. Stefan was free fromschool once a week to go to Stockholm to train with Percy. One of the biggestimprovements Edberg made with Percy was his backhand which later became one ofthe best in the world. When he left school his training hours increased by 100percent from four to eight times a week.Tony PickardTony Pickard has been Stefan`s trainer for almost his entire career. They firstmet in Bournemouth when Stefan was there to sign contracts with the racket-manufacturer Wilson.
Tony saw him playing and invited him to his house: A famoustrainer/adept couple was born. It lasted for ten years with great success.Warned only onceDuring all his years at the top he always has behaved like a real gentleman,both on the court and outside it. He was always proper and correct in his way ofacting.
He has been warned only once. It happened in Dusseldorf, after a wronglyjudged ball when he hit the ball hard to the ground. The ball bounced out intothe audience and he was warned. Don’t forget that John McEnroe was lucky if hewasn’t warned at all in a match.The big drop cameFor nine years in a row he constantly was among the top five ranked players inthe world. It was at the end of 1994 he slipped out of the top five.
However,it was last year when the big drop came and he ended the year as the number 23on the ranking list. He explains it himself that it’s pretty hard to keep themotivation for such a long time.His golden yearsDuring the years 1990-93 he had his undoubtfully best years. For two years in arow he finished as number one on the ranking lists.Never been drunkIn comparison to other top athletics, Stefan is living a comfortable family life.
He is married to Anette and has a little daughter, Emilie. He is seldom seen atparties, and he’s very careful with alcohol. And he admits that he has neverbeen drunk. Some facts about himBorn: 19th January 1966 in Vstervik Lives : London Family: The wife Anette, thedaughter Emile, 3 years old Height:188 cm Match weight: about 77 kg Highestsingles ranking: 1 Highest doubles ranking: 1 Prize money: 20,5 U.S dollarSingle titles: 41 Double titles: 18 Single finals: 76 Double finals: 29 Dc–singles: 35-14 ( won-lost )List of references: Svensk Tennis nr. 11, Sport Expressen and my self.Written by: Kristoffer Lindgren NV2D