"Pourquoi Edberg ne sourit jamais". Why Edberg never smiles. I've been collecting Stefan Edberg magazines and clippings for twenty years now, yet this is the only one I've found dealing with the famous line judge accident happened in September 1983 (not November, as written in the article) at the US Open. I don't particularly like either the title or the content, trying to connect Stefan's shy and discreet personality to that episode and mixing up a personal tragedy with sports results. I like even less the scandalistic comment on Annette, that you can find at the end of the article. Still I decided to publish this clipping, because, browsing the internet, I can see there's still a great interest and need for information on this story and the pictures of Dick Wertheim on the ground and, especially, of Stefan's reaction contained in this issue of Voici are absolutely rare.
After the many comments I've read on forums and social networks about the episode, there's one thing I want to make clear. Edberg didn't "kill" anyone. The linesman died because of the hit against the ground, not due to the violence of the ball coming off Stefan's serve. Any speculation on the weight or the speed of the balls, as you can also see in the table next to the article, is just ridiculous. Edberg's serve wasn't powerful, not even by the standards of the '80s-'90s. Besides, he was a junior at the time: his serve was not even as fast as in his prime. Anybody following tennis fifteen or twenty years ago has seen Ivanisevic or Rosset hit line judges with 130 mph serves and nothing happened, but a smile from the crowd. That is to say it was just a fatality.
I'll monitor very carefully all the reactions to this article on the site, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. I shared this clipping for everybody's knowledge, but I can't allow anyone to harm Stefan's reputation with silly comments. Not on this site, of course.
by Clara Mallory
translated into English by Mauro Cappiello
Seven years ago, a fatal accident... At 17, Stefan Edberg faced a tragic twist of fate. He could have not recovered. He came out stronger, more lucid.
Edberg, do you know him? In August, at 24, he became the No. 1 of world tennis. And yet the Swede is so discreet that he is almost invisible. So much so that Boris Becker nicknamed him "the anonymous of Wimbledon"... before being beaten by him in the final of this prestigious tournament in 1988 and 1990. On court, he is imperturbable, always kind, impassiblek. He never smiles. Edberg's explanation? "To play, I need to be very focused. In these moments, I do not look very happy. Anyway, I improved. Five or six years ago, I definitely looked sad".
He collects blows
At that time, Stefan had good reasons to show a gloomy face. In November 1983, when he was the best "junior" in the world, he unintentionally caused a tragedy. At the US Open in Flushing Meadows, one of his serves hits a linesman, aged 61. Unbalanced, Dick Wertheim falls off his chair and smashes against the hard court. A few days later, he dies from his wound, a unique in the annals of tennis.
Pure bad luck, Stefan doesn't know. Rather, he collects hard knocks. Early 1990, in the final of the Australian Open, against Lendl, he is forced to withdraw. We must go back to 1911 to see the retirement of a player in a "Grand Slam" final. But Stefan does not let himself down. Patient, obstinate, tenacious, he waits for his moment. Last June he said: "There is a big competition between Becker and Lendl, and I'm a little behind, but not very far. Being the one nobody expects, it perfectly suits me." Two months later, he was the first!
Shy, kind and very stay-at-home
But Stefan did not change his habits. Moreover, according to a journalist, "he is a shy, nice and rather stay-at-home guy". He does his job as a true "pro" and everything that interests him afterwards is to live quietly with his wife. "So he still lives in London, where he can "walk in the streets without the hassle", and continues to travel the world flanked by his racket... and his girlfriend, Annette Olsen (ex Wilander's crush). "She reassures me and doesn't tire me", he says. However, according to some rumors, the beautiful Annette is a "health destroyer"!
|Dick Wertheim, 61, lies on the ground after the accident||Stefan Edberg's reaction|
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