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"I didn't think about last year's Wimbledon final, but about the one at the 1987 Australian Open, when I won at the fifth against Cash. My fortune was the break I did straightaway in the fifth set" - Stefan Edberg on his five set win against Boris Becker in the 1989 French Open semifinal. Read the article

Edberg the punisher

An article from: La Gazzetta dello Sport
by Rino Tommasi



Destroys Pioline and gives Sweden the decisive point on France

CANNES. In a very hot but particularly sad day for French tennis, for the death of one of the four Musketeers, Jean Borotra, France was forced to compare its current tennis situation to when they regularly won the Cup. Cedric Pioline couldn’t reverse the forecast against Stefan Edberg, so it will be Sweden who will face United States in the semifinal.

The problem of the substitution of Arnaud Boetsch, who had already renounced the doubles, with Olivier Delaitre has become secondary, even though it reproposed a question that the Davis Committee will have to modify, to avoid ridiculous and embarrassing situations.

Today, a declaration by a partial doctor is enough to justify, in the third day, the substitution of a player who declares himself ill. It would be much more serious if the rules allowed it anyway, with no need for a declaration that nobody has ever refused, or forbid it in any case.

Edberg didn’t concede Pioline the minimum chance. Maybe less confident on his forehand than in the first day, but very sharp on his serve (more than 70% on first serves), the Swede was never broken. He gave his opponent six break points, two in the first set, three in a row in the second and one in the third, but, right on those points, he played his best shots.

Edberg was evidently focused, in those conditions of temperature and humidity, on not playing a much too long match and so he didn’t concede himself the minimum distraction.

Pioline is no longer the one who surprisingly managed to reach the US Open final last year. Like Boetsch in the first day, the Frenchman hadn’t got tactical solutions. Not incisive enough on his serve, not consistent enough on the baseline rallies, that on the other hand Edberg was not willing to concede, finally not confident enough on the returns. Pioline played on his current standards, that don’t allow him to compete against an Edberg who was very aware of his role of leader of the Swedish team.

In the first set Pioline saved two break points in the fifth game, but was broken in the seventh (a double fault and a forehand volley in the net). Edberg came back from 15-40 down in the following game and then closed the set 6-4 in half an hour. In the second set the break on Pioline’s serve came in the third game. Two foot-faults that provoked two double faults made Edberg nervous on 3-2 for him, but the Swede recovered from 0-40 with high class, playing a couple of extraordinary shots.

On 5-3 Pioline was broken again and realized he had no way out. In fact Edberg flew to 5-0 in the third set, conceded Pioline a game and closed with authority after two hours and 8 minutes.

«Yannick Reviens!» («Yannick come back!») said gloomily a banner on the stands, today not as crowded as in the first day. Unfortunately for the French, the times of Noah, but even those of Leconte and maybe Forget are over. The current French players would be protagonists in Italy, but, as we know, this comparison is not acceptable for a country that, in spite of a questionable management (the president Bimes was outvoted by his own Board, something that will never happen to our Mr. Galgani), has still a definitely higher average level than ours.

Edberg the punisher

 

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