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"There's only going to be one Borg, there isn't going to be another one. But there isn't going to be another Stefan Edberg either" - Stefan Edberg on his personality. Read the article

From Edberg to Björkman, the coach speaks Swedish

from La Gazzetta dello Sport (issue of April 30th, 2015)
by Vincenzo Martucci
translated into English by Mauro Cappiello

Yesterday's tennis greats have been recycled as successful coaches. Federer, Murray, Wawrinka: the Scandinavian school is a trend.

At first it was Lennart Bergelin, a good tennis player turned into Björn Borg's guide. Then came John-Anders Sjögren, a coach who loved details, father of the versatile Mats Wilander. Then, Swedish instructors with Swedish athletes only have produced the bum of phenomena of will and application, the epic of Borg's grandchildren, and 6 consecutive Davis Cup finals (from '84 to '89), a burst of  Grand Slam triumphs and the dominance in the "top ten."

After that there was oblivion and now the first Swede in the world professional ranking, Elias Ymer, is only at number 171. Will they return in vogue? Hard to say, as long as golf will be more popular than the racket.

Meanwhile, the greats of yesterday's tennis were recycled as coaches. In 2001, the king of 7 Majors and former n. 1, Wilander, has pioneered the trend, first with Marat Safin and then with Wayne Ferreira, Tatiana Golovin and Paul-Henri Mathieu. Only to later divert towards a career of tv commentator: as a coach, he was too ego-centric.

His "twin", Joakim Nyström, former number 7 in singles and doubles champion at Wimbledon, was maybe too resigned, instead, coaching good, but not excellent professionals, like Jarkko Nieminen, Jurgen Melzer and Jack Sock.

Seared by his own failures, as an early talent stopped by too many ups and downs, Peter Lundgren (already ATP n. 25) has specialized as a guide of cantankerous stars, like Chilean Marcelo Rios, led to the top 10, young Roger Federer, inherited from poor Peter Carter, and other top-quality talents, from Marcos Baghdatis to Grigor Dimitrov. Before derailing on Stan Wawrinka and Daniela Hantuchova.

More successful, as a coach, has been Magnus Norman, who won in Rome, reached the final at the Roland Garros and the world number 2 in 2000. He was stopped by hip, knee and also heart problems (a valve, but also a passion for his colleague Martina Hingis.) With his academy, "Good to great", he has helped lost souls like Dimitrov, and, with former colleagues Mikael Tillström and Nicklas Kulti, has especially relaunched his compatriot Thomas Johansson's career, has revitalized Robin Soderling - personal best ranking of world number 4, two finals in a row at the French Open and only punisher of Rafa Nadal in Paris in the last 10 years - and has led to number 3 Wawrinka, who broke the hegemony of the "Fab Four" in the Majors, with his 2014 Australian Open triumph.

PATIENCE. In the vein of coaches from Sweden, of course, stands out Stefan Edberg, 6 wins in the Grand Slam in singles and 3 in doubles, plus the world number one crown. Since January 2014, the net dancer has been helping Roger Federer play his best tennis ever.

But coaching "His Majesty" is relatively easy. It will be harder for the intelligent connoisseur of the volleys Jonas Björkman, 4 time Grand Slam champion in doubles, to urge Andy Murray to the net and get him through his new impasse.

And who knows if Thomas Johansson, former world n.7 and miraculous champion at the Australian Open, will wean talented Croatian Borna Coric. Will he have  the patience of his namesake Högstedt, already number 38, who guided Tommy Haas, Li Na and Maria Sharapova? The same holds for Thomas Enqvist, who must steer Fernando Verdasco's left-handed shots.

From Edberg to Björkman, the coach speaks Swedish


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