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from Match Point
translated into English by Mauro Cappiello
The eternal rival
Stefan Edberg especially liked to annoy a German
He's the man Boris Becker never liked to welcome to what was called his "backyard". In 1985 and 1986, the player from Leimen had won the All England Championships. In 1988 Becker was back to the final - but this time his opponent was called Stefan Edberg. After four sets he left the place of the winner to the Swede. It was Becker's first defeat on Wimbledon Centre Court, which he had renamed his "backyard" after his triumphs.
Two more years Edberg and Becker dominated the international grasscourt tennis in particular. Becker won the rematch in 1989, but Edberg kept the last word at Wimbledon. In 1990, for the third consecutive Wimbledon final of the two exceptional tennis player, Edberg defeated Becker in five sets.
After two victories at the Australian Open (1985, 1987) and the Wimbledon victory in 1988, it was Edberg's fourth Grand Slam title. Two more U.S. Open successes (1991, 1992) would follow. Only a success at the Gerry Weber Open Stefan was never allowed. In 1996 an injury prevented him from a debut in Halle. He'll catch up at this year's "Champions Trophy" at Anastasia Myskina's side, the 2004 French Open champion. "I've heard so many positive things about the Gerry Weber Open. It's a great tournament, so I am happy I can finally play there", said Edberg.
Thus, today's audience of the Halle Centre Court, 16 years after Edberg ended his tennis career, will have the opportunity to see once again the talent from Sweden. He was considered the best volley player in the world.
Above all, his serve-and-volley game was admired world-wide. For his fair behaviour on court he was also awarded the ATP Sportsmanship Trophy five times. Edberg has never entirely turned his back to tennis. He has played for four years on the ATP Champions Tour. As main job, however, he is the owner of an asset management company. He is acting more cautious than earlier on the court. "Differently than on the tennis court I'm not aggressive when investing money, but more cautious", he says. A little bit of aggressiveness, however, will surely be visible when Edberg meets Michael Stich today. He defeated the Swede on the way to his Wimbledon title in 1991. A defeat that Edberg has not forgotten. "I still have a revenge to take", he says with a wink.
Boris Becker (now 44) and Stefan Edberg (46) met 35 times - and more often the German had he better in the end. He won 25 matches, Edberg only ten. In his entire career Becker was more successful. He won 49 tournaments, Edberg 42. Becker's prize money amounted to about 25 million dollars. Edberg earned during his professional career "only" 20 million dollars.
19 Grand Slam titles, one birthday
Martina Navratilova in mixed doubles with Michael Stich at the Champions Trophy
If you believe in astrology, the stars that shine on October 18th are often particularly favorable to tennis. Because on this day not only one of the world's best women's tennis players was born, but also one of the best representatives of German sports.
The 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova (55) and the 1991 Wimbledon champion Michael Stich (43) share, however, not only their birthday, but, this Sunday at the Champions Trophy, also the same side of the Centre Court at the Gerry Weber Stadium. Together they will compete against Stefan Edberg and Anastasia Myskina.
Navratilova is still considered one of the best tennis players of all time. She won Wimbledon nine times, for 332 weeks she was the number one in the world ranking. In 1983 she presented the unprecedented record of 86 victories to only one defeat. And in 2006, after she had won the U.S. Open in mixed doubles at Bob Bryan's side, she said goodbye to the sport.
In 1994 Michael Stich was the first German to win the Gerry Weber Open. He was winner of 18 tournaments in his career, during which, for 28 weeks, he held the number two spot in the world ranking. Also in 1994 he estabilished a Foundation that brings his name, with which he takes care of HIV-infected children. He also worked for the English BBC, both on television and in radio as a tennis commentator.
Strong Russian game
Myskina wrote history with French Open victory
The world number two Maria Sharapova, Vera Zvonareva (WTA rank n. 11) and Maria Kirilenko (WTA 17). Russian tennis players are now on everyone's lips. But Anastasia Myskina, who eight years ago succeeded on the red clay, with her victory at the French Open in 2004, was the first Russian tennis player to win a Grand Slam title in singles. In the same year, she worked his way to the second place in the world rankings. Overall, the 30-year old won ten tournaments in singles and five in doubles. After several injuries in 2007 she ended her professional career.
Today, she will take Stefan Edberg on her side in the Champions Trophy at the Gerry Weber Stadium. Andrea Petkovic had actually intended to play with the Swede, but an injury prevented her from playing in Halle. But for GWO tournament director Ralf Weber Myskina, however, is an adequate substitute. "We are very pleased to have found in short-term such an attractive player and strong partner for Stefan Edberg in mixed doubles", he says. "Anastasia Myskina belonged undoubtedly to the best tennis players in the world", said Ralf Weber.
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