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"It's a special award and an honor for me. But I say to myself that I'm just too young to have that prize named after me. But I think in just a few years time the prize will be renamed after Roger Federer, because he's already got it so many times..." - Stefan Edberg on the Sportsmanship Award. Read the interview

Game, set and cash to Edberg

from The Daily Mail
by Jonathan McEvoy

Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg was a rivalry that lit up the tennis world. In three consecutive Wimbledon finals they both fought for the greatest prize. Despite being set for life, Becker was recently declared bankrupt. Edberg, however, has been busy building a second fortune since retiring.

All in all, the two stars met 35 times between 1984 and 1996. Although Becker won the majority of their matches (25-10), Edberg prevailed in three of their four Grand Slam meetings. And, as the two men clocked up six major singles titles each, they amassed fortunes. In on-court winnings alone, Becker earned £20million, Edberg £15m.

Despite being set up for life, Becker was recently declared bankrupt for owing more than £3million to a private bank, Arbuthnot Latham. It is an undignified situation for a man who won Wimbledon as an unseeded 17-year-old in 1985 — the youngest man to claim the title.

Early success brought him a level of sporting adulation in Germany perhaps only matched in the post-war period by Franz Beckenbauer and Michael Schumacher. Fans peered through hotel windows to catch a glimpse of the young, carrot-blond Becker.

He was the rock star of the time. But now portly, suffering with painful ankles, the twice-married, 49-year-old, Cuban-cigar lover Becker is a victim of his Sybaritic lifestyle and poor investments. Yet Stefan Edberg's story is strikingly different.


Edberg and Becker interviewed by BBC after the 2016 Wimbledon final between Murray and Raonic 

At 51, the Swede remains as svelte as when he last bowed in front of the Royal Box and is twice as wealthy as then.

Since retiring from tennis 21 years ago, he has become deeply involved in asset management — building a second fortune estimated at £50m by the Swedish magazine Idrottens Affarer six years ago.

On Sunday, the Swedish tax office said they could not calculate Edberg's net worth today, mainly because most of his assets are likely to be listed abroad, but it is reasonable to assume it has risen considerably in the last few years.

Edberg's main source of fresh income is as joint owner and director of an award-winning company called Case, which manages equity portfolios. He is also the company's front man as well as spending some 20 hours a week on his own shares.

Despite Edberg's great wealth, he lives quietly with his wife of 25 years, Annette, in his native city of Vaxjo in southern Sweden. They returned there in 2000 after a spell in Kensington, London, where he often travelled around the capital by Tube.

Stefan and Annette are now living in the central part of Vaxjo — population 65,000 — in an apartment 100 yards from his office on the same street.

He drives a staid Volvo — again in contrast to Becker, whose electric-blue Maserati and red Porsche were towed away from a London street for parking offences within days of his being declared bankrupt.

Read more about the Becker vs Edberg Wimbledon rivalry:

Edberg, a father of two, makes little fuss about his business interests but he once told Dagens Industri, the Swedish equivalent of the Financial Times: “I had no interest in investing at the beginning of my career, but after I started being successful I wanted to take control of my own money and life. That's how I got involved.”

“I had people investing my money for me at first. Then, when I had more time, I started following the markets and trying to understand what was going on.”

“I had a very offensive way of playing on the tennis court but I am the total opposite at investing. I am very conservative, focusing on looking after my wealth.”

“I think the conservative approach will pay off in the long run and being diversified when things get tough is key.”

Edberg's shrewd caution diverges from Becker's profligacy, which was touched on by the German's own lawyer, John Briggs, when he told last month's bankruptcy hearing in London that his client was “not very sophisticated when it comes to finances”.

Edberg set up Case with former hedge-fund managers Bo Pettersson and Fredrik Svensson in 2004, and the company now has more than £500m worth of assets under its control. He speaks daily to his senior staff and attends board meetings in Stockholm.

While Becker has remained actively involved in international tennis, acting as coach to Novak Djokovic prior to their split at the end of last year, Edberg now largely stays away. He had a two-year spell working alongside Federer, who counts Edberg as his hero, but gave up the role because it involved too much travel. But Edberg said: “Roger and I are in touch today and I help him. We have acquired a lifelong friendship.”

Edberg's tennis energies are now largely confined to running a Vaxjo-based academy called Ready Play, along with another former player, Magnus Larsson.

As Becker prepares to be part of the BBC's coverage of this year's Wimbledon Championships, albeit around a further court hearing scheduled for Wednesday, Edberg will be helping to deal with the financial affairs of the sportsmen already on his books, managing their wealth for an affluent retirement.

Talking about former players and their financial awareness, Edberg said: “The knowledge isn't there, but the key is to find the right people or you might end up in trouble.”

Words his old sparring pal Becker might wish he had heeded.


Thanks Claire Cairns for the picture
Game, set and cash to Edberg

 

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