by Jaydip Sengupta, Staff Writer
What makes Stefan Edberg unhappy? Is it the thought of losing the 1989 French Open final to Michael Chang?
Not really, since, as he says, "When I lost the final it wasn’t that bad. It hurts more now when people keep reminding me that I could have completed a sweep of all four Grand Slams.
"But then you can’t win everything, can you?" Edberg told XPRESS in a candid chat as he prepared to take to the court in The Legends "Rock" Dubai at the Aviation Club yesterday.
Arguably the greatest serve-and-volleyer that has graced the game, the affable Swede says the dying art is what saddens him the most.
"Nobody does it these days, so there is hardly any variation in the style of play. I would love to see players serve and volley more. It’s a very sad aspect of the game that the art has vanished. I understand players like to play according to their strengths, but just for changing it a little, they should approach the net. I am sure their chances of winning would increase. But then, serve-and-volley is a very difficult art, something one can only learn in the formative years," says the man who delighted purists with his classical style.
So, what brings the six-time Grand Slam champion back to the game and to Dubai?
"I wasn’t missing tennis that way. I haven’t played competitive tennis for so many years now but have kept myself in tune with the game by practising. I just wanted to see how it would go.
"Besides, it was also a great opportunity to meet my contemporaries and play with them. I have not yet decided whether I will continue next year. I have other commitments and so only if I can manage time, will I do that," he says.
It’s been 13 years since Edberg last came to Dubai and he still can’t believe what he has seen. "It’s incredible, the changes, the tall buildings and the massive projects. I had heard it was growing very rapidly, but this is just amazing. And it is going to get better, I am sure," he says.
And he is also amazed by Rafael Nadal’s win over Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final. "That was definitely a surprise. Although Nadal had an amazing year, I still thought Federer would win. But the Spaniard was just too strong. Don’t count Federer out yet, he will be back next year," Edberg said.
In the first day of the tournament, Edberg played a doubles exhibition one-set match pairing John Fitzgerald against Jim Courier and Mansour Bahrami. Courier and Bahrami won 8-7 (8-6 in the match tie-break).
Thursday, November 20
Starting at 5 pm
Stefan Edberg, Sweden, vs. Wayne Ferreira, South Africa
Paul Haarhuis, Netherlands, vs. Jim Courier, United States
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- Stefan Edberg "Against Nadal, Federer should come to the net 5 times out of 10"
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- Stefan Edberg in illustrious company
- Federer is not finished yet - Edberg
- US Open: a champion's reflection
- Rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal reminds Stefan Edberg of finals
- Edberg Turns Back the Clock to First Wimbledon Title
- Edberg about the Australian Open