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"I think he should adopt a more attacking game strategy because now everybody knows how he plays and everyone wants to beat him. If he goes 5 times out of 10 to the net, it will destabilize his opponent" - Stefan Edberg about how Roger Federer should play against Rafael Nadal. Read the interview

Edberg, The Greatest - by Sandeep Mohanty -

by Sandeep Mohanty

I first watched Edberg on TV in the Wimbledon '88 final. I had never ever watched any tennis match before that. I knew nothing about tennis. Even in India at that time I believe there were not many live broadcast of tennis matches on TV. It's only because of my father's interest in tennis, especially Wimbledon that I was lucky enough to watch this greatest serve and volleyer of all time.

Since that day needless to say I became a die hard fan of this greatest player of all time. After that match I have always followed him on TV, News paper, Magazines, Radio whenever, wherever possible. I am really very unlucky not to have watched all his matches coz on TV only the semi-finals and finals
were telecast live at that time. But whatever was coming live, I never missed them. Then finally after 1991 I was able to see all his matches live on TV because of sports channels like Star Sports and ESPN. I wish I could watch all his games.

In fact die hard fan is an understatement. Actually I don't have words to describe how big a fan I am of Stefan Edberg.

I have always cried whenever I have seen him losing a match coz for me that was like losing a Grand Slam final and I have cherished all his victories like they were grand slam wins. On numerous occasion I have skipped my lunch or dinner after he has lost a match coz those losses were so much more painful for me. It was always difficult to sink in the losses. I always wanted him to win like every Edberg fan. My parents always tried very hard to make me realize you win some and lose some, but they knew very well their words would not convince me at all. And only because it was Edberg.

His most disappointing loss was in the hands of Chang in French open final in '89. I will always hate Chang for that match. That hurts me even now. In fact all the matches that he lost were very painful. I remember him losing in the second round of Wimbledon in his last year on tour. I could not believe that as I was not able to imagine a Wimbledon without the greatest Edberg.

But then I have also many many fond memories of his winning. Wimbledon '88 tops the list. May be because that was the first time I saw his match. That will always remain special to me. His win against Becker in Wimbledon '90 final was also a great match. I have a VC of the same in my library collection. His win over
Courier in US open '91 was probably the best match. He played absolute flawless tennis that day. In India I woke up at 1:30 a.m. in the Monday morning to watch the match and Edberg made my day. That day I woke up and prayed to god then went to watch the match, God listened to my prayer I know.

And my god, in the next year US open '92 he just proved every critic of his wrong and came up with the most memorable title defence of all time. His 4th round, QF and SF will go down as three of the most amazing coming from behind and winning showing true guts and super champion qualities. His match against Chang in the SF to some extent erased the bad memories of French open '89.

It was a sweet revenge for him. coming from behind when a break down in the final set against Chang who is considered as a fighter till the end. Edberg was the only non-American in the last four. And the only non-American won the US open. I just love it whenever I remember that. Against Sampras also he played the final like a true champion with true guts and elegance. I still remember his jumping over the net after the winning points of every match in that year. His demolition of Sampras in the final more than reiterated that in the game of serve and volley his is just unmatched. I can go on and on and on....................... on his story.

His backhand volleys, backhand passing shots, his drop volleys, his forehand volleys, every aspect of his game was the best. I can not forget those 3-shots points where only 3 shots were involved.

1- Edberg Serves.......
2- Opponents return........
3- Edberg hits an unbelievable volley to a corner of the court. The point ends then and there.

Apart from being the best serve and volleyer of all time, he is also the perfect role model parents will look for their children. He is such a nice human being on and off court. He is a person who is always down to earth, nice to every one, bears the same expression on his face even if he losses a match. He is a true champion, he is a perfect role model, he has a charisma that can never be matched by any other player. All in all he is a class act. The sportsmanship award is named after him, does not that say everything?

"Yes it does". Answer by each and every tennis fan.

Edberg, The Greatest - by Sandeep Mohanty -

 

Comments  

 
+1 #2 Suchhanda Sarkar 22.09.2012 @ 07:13
Well reading about Stefan from the memories shared by so many of his fans makes me feel so nostalgic and tears roll down.... I would say Stefan was my first crush and its never possible to erase that euphoria it brings to your heart till today when you think about your first love... my very close friends and my family had to bear all the craziness that I used to show watching him play... my first introduction to tennis was in 1987 when late one night they were showing live Australian Open in TV and I got to learn how to follow this amazing game from my Father and the moment I saw those blue eyes and the sweetness of his persona I was hooked on to him and his game.... thus started the amazing journey of following him in every bit of news and TV programmes that I could lay my eyes on and this still continues today... All those paper cuttings are still so carefully preserved and those feeling of euphoria when he won and the heartbreak when he lost are so palpable even to this day....I stopped watching tennis altogether when Stefan retired and I could never bring myself to follow this game anymore... because its a fact tennis never remain so charming and enthralling when I could not watch his serve and volley game... Oh, it used to be so exciting to see his incredible volleys and his beautiful, flawless control close to the net... Well, I guess a sportsman of his calibre and talent comes once in a while and I would always feel lucky that I could watch tennis in the era when Stefan played....
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+2 #1 Vedatrayee 16.06.2009 @ 16:08
I myself grew up in India in the 80s and 90s, and Sandeep, I can very well identify with you. I was just as crazy about Stefan Edberg... I rejoiced every victory of his, and shed many a tear when he lost... I followed him as closely as I could and like you say,in those days it was not as easy as it is now. Even the finals of Wimbledon '90, I remember, was interrupted because they had to telecast the news, and that too in the most crucial moment... oh my God, the anticipation almost killed me!! Was exhilarated when I realized he won (thank goodness they at least showed the recording of it after the news was over) Thought, I was the craziest person alive to be so crazy about Stefan... but its nice to know I'm not the only one :-)
It may seem stupid after all these years, but strangely I still like him, his game and his attitude just as much as always.... Stefan, for me, you are simply the best. Thank you for all the wonderful memories. Tennis has never been the same after you...
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