from Västerviks Tidningen
by Malin Belfrage
translated into English by Mauro Cappiello
He is one of the favourites and won the opening match of the Kings of Tennis.
«You have 20 minutes», said press officer when one of the greatest athletes ever was walking in the hallway on the Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre. Västervik son Stefan Edberg sat down on the sofa opposite me and took a snack with VT.
Edberg was born and raised in Västervik. At age seven he began playing tennis.
«I played both football and ice hockey one season, but chose to focus on tennis rather early. When I was 16 I started to travel and compete, and was not around in Västervik much after that. Two years later I moved to London where I lived for 16 years», says Stefan, who was the brightest star in the junior side in the early 1980's.
«But before he became too good little Stefan traveled to Tranås and got beaten by me», says two years older Mats Wilander and laughs. In 1983 Stefan won all the junior tournaments in the Grand Slam (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open), which neither has happened sooner or later. Then his career went like a clockwork.
In 1990, the player with the unique movement at the net was ranked number one in singles and stayed on the throne for a total of 72 weeks.
«I have many fond memories of my tennis career. Everything from winning Kalle Anka Cup when I was eleven years old to my first ATP victory and my first Wimbledon Win. But to be number one in the world is unique and is probably my best memory. To be top five in the world ranking for nine years is also something I'm very happy with».
What is your worst memory?
«The match I regret the most is the final against Michael Chang at the French Open in 1989. Then my last match, a loss in the Davis Cup with a sprained ankle, was not so much fun either».
When Stefan left the ATP tour in 1996, he won 41 singles titles and six Grand Slam tournaments. Also in doubles, he was the best in the world after three Grand Slam victories, including two with Anders Järryd - a remarkable feat of the man with history's best looking and most effective backhand volley.
«It was partly thanks to my coach that I developed serve and volley game. It was a matter of course to find your own style of play, the man was a great, and I was faster in depth than side-to-side, so it was natural, even though it was pretty un-Swedish», according to Stefan, who looks as fit today as he did during his career.
«I have maintained my training since I quit and feel good doing it, but now I feel the little flaws».
This week he takes part in the Kings of Tennis, a tournament of former champions like John McEnroe, Goran Ivanisevic, Mats Wilander and Pat Cash, to name a few. Along with Ivanisevic and Magnus Larsson, he is favourite.
«Yes, we'll see. I have not played in a long time. But it'll be fun».
The match yesterday against South African Wayne Ferreira became an easy task for Edberg, who won in two straight sets (6-3, 6-1) and tore down a lot of applause. Still, he excused himself afterward.
«I got lucky and am very surprised that I played so well. I had to concentrate on every ball, but it felt really good», said Stefan, who looked as if he never put the racquet on the shelf.
This evening he awaits for the hard-serving Croatian Goran Ivanisevic, who lost his first match against Magnus Larsson. Tomorrow he plays Magnus Larsson before the final and the match for third prize will be determined on Friday.
- Edberg: "It was like the script for a movie"
- Edberg Talks Past And Present Of Barclays ATP World Tour Finals
- Edberg: "Swedish tennis is still behind"
- The verdict on the future of our tennis: total darkness
- Stefan Edberg, doublet in Seoul '88
- «He's one of the smartest players I have seen»
- On the ball in the Western Algarve
- "My first time in Turkey"
- "With Roger and Rafa, we saw the golden age of tennis"
- It was better before
- "It was a crazy situation"
- Stefan interviewed on the Australian Open
- Edberg: «It's hard for Djokovic to repeat 2011»
- The enjoyment of the children's chauffeur
- Stefan Edberg: «Nadal's golden age is over»