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"I didn't realise the importance of it until late in my career" - Stefan Edberg about being world number one. Watch the interview

Voices from the Masters: "Edberg go on like this"

An article from: La Repubblica

TENNIS WEEK - New York tournament gets closer: the protagonists indicate the Swede as the main rival for Ivan Lendl

Three more weeks and six more Gran Prix tournaments to the Masters that will confront the top eight in Nabisco ranking.

Winning in Stockholm his seventh tournament of the year, Stefan Edberg came a step away from Ivan Lendl, just fifty points, but Lendl will probably maintain his leadership (in both rankings) because he will certainly gain precious points in Wembley, where Edberg doesn't play.

Glancing at the current Gran Prix ranking, the names of six protagonists of the Masters that will be held at the Madison Square Garden in New York in the first week of December can be given for granted (except injuries). For the seventh and eight position three players are competing, Cash, Mayotte and Gilbert. Noah is injured. The Australian has a good gap of advantage on the two Americans recent finalists at the Bercy tournament (won by Mayotte at the fifth set on Gilbert), and could increase it in Wembley if, as foreseeable, he will reach at least the semifinal (against Mecir). In the all American fight, Gilbert is favorite even though he is 53 points behind Mayotte. The tennis season is almost over.

But what season was it? Ivan Lendl: "At the start of the year I would say Wilander would be my strongest opponent. He was in Paris and at the Us Open, but Edberg looked more consistent than him. And then, in Tokyo he even beat me. In the end I would have preferred Edberg's results than Wilander's.

Stefan, moreover, won a Grand Slam title, the Australian Open, that today is worth exactly as much as the other three tournaments that make up the Grand Slam. Prospectively, then, Edberg is the one who has more chances to progress.

Maybe you journalists expected more of Becker, whom last year someone thought could even pass me. I'm not surprised by his tentative season instead. I reached the final in Paris in '81 at just 21 against Borg, as well. But then I managed to become world number one only in September '85. It's impossible to be 20 without having ups and downs".

Stefan Edberg: "Differently than Wilander, who always declared he doesn't give a damn of being world number one, I really care for it . No use in hiding, that is my target. I just have a big regret, that of letting the Us Open semifinal against Wilander slip badly from me.

They made us play early in the morning, there were polemics before playing. It's the match I played worst and the one that makes someone think I'm not ripe enough or determined in the big matches".

Mats Wilander: "I was unlucky against Lendl, both in Paris and in New York or now I could speak completely differently. If I got so closer to Lendl this year, I'm sure I can pass him next year.

He is four years older than me and will end up to lose motivations, since I don't think he will manage to do the Grand Slam. I don't know if it will be enough to become number one, though, because there are others growing, from Edberg (of whom I'm not friend as sometimes I happen to read) to Mecir, who is by far the opponent who bothers me more".

Voices from the Masters:


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