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from Manavgat Haber Merkezi.com
translated into English by Rasim Oskay KOCAOĞLU
Six times Grand Slam singles winner, world famous Swedish tennis player Stefan Edberg came to Turkey to play an exhibition match.
Stefan Edberg during the press conference
(29.03.2012) Stefan Edberg played an exhibition match during the 9th International Wilson Seniors Open Tennis Tournament which took place in Ali Bey Club Manavgat facilty. Edberg held a press conference for foreign journalists. Akdeniz News was the only Turkish agency that followed the press conference.
“It is my first time in Turkey”
Stefan Edberg said it was his first visit to Turkey and he liked Antalya and Manavgat very much. He also cited that many people he knew from Sweden were coming to Antalya for vacation. “My acquaintances had told me that Turkey was a very beautiful country. However, i couldn’t have the chance to come to Turkey for different reasons. Now i see that your country is as beautiful as i was told”, said Edberg. He was asked whether he followed any Turkish players or not before today. “I often follow the players in the top 100, but less those in the top 200 in professional tennis. That’s why i didn’t watch any Turkish players so far”, said Edberg.
“We will watch Turkish players in Major events in ten years”
Edberg cited that he liked the courts in Ali Bey Club Manavgat. “A couple of minutes ago, i saw young players competing. As far as you have tennis institutions like you have in here and teenagers interested in tennis, i guess there will be some top 100 Turkish players in world prefessional tennis in 10 years”, said Edberg.
“Being a football player is much easier”
Edberg stressed how hard it is to be a professional tennis player. “Nowadays it is hard to be a professional tennis player and to be ranked in the world top 100. First you have to find a sponsor, then you have to find qualified trainers and work hard for long periods of time. In my point of view being a football player is much easier. Only hard work is enough to be successful”, said Edberg.
“Sweden has 500.000 licensed tennis players"
Stefan Edberg said that it is almost impossible for a tennis player to find a sponsor unless he/she is ranked in the world top 200. “There are 500.000 licensed tennis players in Sweden having 9 million population in total. This number comprehends only the licensed and registered tennis players. I don’t know the number of unregistered players. It is hard to give a specific number, but, apart from all these, we have more or less 20 professional tennis players in the world top 1500”, said Edberg.
“Tennis should be administered by one central organization”
Edberg emphasized the increase in popularity of tennis worldwide, provided that the number of international tennis organizations should be reduced from 3 to 1. He also added that these three organizations should reach a consensus on a single central administration just like FIFA has done for football. Stefan Edberg acknowledges that female players were not as popular as male players in his era. “Steffi Graf and the female players of her era made women’s tennis more popular than it used to be. This popularity was not kept continuous and stable after Steffi Graf. One year’s champions lost and disappeared the following year. Williams sisters are the most precise and stable players nowadays”, implied Edberg.
“I was hesitant against Andre Agassi and Boris Becker”
Stefan Edberg said the most unforgettable matches of his career were 1985 Australian Open and 1988 Wimbledon finals. “It was the first time that i was in the finals of a Grand Slam in 1985 Australian Open and I was very excited. That’s why my first Grand Slam title in the Australian Open 1985 has made a huge mark in my mind”, said Edberg. “During my tennis career, my biggest opponents were Andre Agassi and Boris Becker. They were very strong tennis players and I used to hold back against these two. But one way or another i did play them, I either won or lost”, implied Edberg. He also stated that he was also very nervous and excited during the first Wimbledon tournament he won.
“I watched French Open with my kids”
Edberg told he was joining various international senior tennis tournaments. “Last week i played one tournament and lost only one match”, said Edberg. He is known to be the partner of a financial company and to have made investments on real estate sector. When asked if he is taking his kids to watch tennis live: “Sometimes i do, we watched the last French Open together”, answered Edberg.
Edberg in Ali Bey Tennis Courts
After the press conference, Stefan Edberg played exhibition doubles matches with the world ranked participants of the 9th International Wilson Senior Open Tennis Tournament. Edberg gave autographs to his fans after the show matches.
500 players participate in the tournament
9th International Wilson Senior Open Tennis Tournament will end on March 30th. The tournament is in the category of ITF Grade-1 and being held in Ali Bey Club Manavgat with a participation of 500 players from 29 countries.
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