by Jonas Arnesen
Could Thomas Enqvist still be the hardest Swede to beat in 2012?
Who is Sweden's best tennis player now? According to the ranking, the answer is Patrik Rosenholm. But I say Thomas Enqvist, the 38-year-old Davis Cup captain who played his last ATP tournament seven years ago.
Some national success is unlikely at the 44th edition of the Stockholm Open, which begins on Monday at the Kungliga Tennishallen. On the other hand, Swedish tennis is in such a deep slump that many of the long-time retired stars would fare very well in the home competition after aboout a month of hard training.
This is of course impossible to prove, nevertheless the fact that Enqvist is a player of a higher level than Rosenholm and the 28 other Swedes who have a place on the ranking list is something that can be substantiated with hard facts.
The claim is not idle quip, but based on, among other things, the following considerations:
- Enqvist, previously world number four, still has a much larger game than the best placed Swedes around number 400 in the rankings.
- Enqvist practices constantly to be in form for the Champions Tour, a tennis circuit for the retired stars and the Swede is fifth in the ranking.
- The national team's Davis Cup captain shows during the practice sessions who is number one.
Here is the list that will certainly get grumblings from players of the young generation, but gives a – not scientifically based – picture of the conditions of Swedish tennis.
1) Thomas Enqvist, 38 years old. 19 ATP titles, steady top ten players in just over four seasons, Grand Slam finalist in 1999.
2) Joachim "Pim-Pim" Johansson, 30 years old. Made a strong comeback last year, but lacked the motivation to continue. Awesome weapon in his serve.
3) Magnus Larsson, 42 years old. Retired in 2003, now Davis Cup captain assistant and ranked 7th in the Champions Tour.
4) Thomas Johansson, 37 years old. Sweden's last Grand Slam winner (Australian Open 2002). Seven singles titles. Retired in 2009.
5) Andreas Vinciguerra, 31 years old. Has played sporadically over the past five seasons. Investing since last summer and won a Future last week in Jönköping.
6) Patrik Rosenholm, 24 years old. 438-ranked, five Future titles. Will have a wildcard in Stockholm which will be his first ATP tournament.
7) Michael Ryderstedt, 27 years old. Sweden's number two, said he will quit on Friday's Svenska Dagbladet. Reached 130th place in the ranking.
8) Jonas Björkman, 40 years old. Former world number four in singles and one in doubles. Retired in 2008. With training could reach a high international standard in doubles.
9) Stefan Edberg, 46 years old. Former world number one and six times Grand Slam winner. Retired 16 years ago. Ranked 7 in the Champions Tour.
10) Pablo Figueroa, 27 years old. Ranked 892nd. For many years has been a huge promise, but unfortunately chose to play mainly at home instead of fully concentrating on an international activity.
Footnote: Robin Soderling, who would easily be first, is not listed because he is not yet ready for a comeback after his long illness.
- Hard work and team spirit, the secrets of Swedish coaches
- From Edberg to Björkman, the coach speaks Swedish
- Edberg not interested in Tennis Federation role
- No Kings of Tennis for Edberg
- Post-Borg era, Swedish tennis influence is off the court
- Happy birthday, Stefan!!!
- Stefan Edberg, last winner on grass
- Merry Christmas from... Stefan Edberg :-)
- Celebrities queued in Södra Climate Arena
- From golden age to disaster
- Junior Peliwo completes Grand Slam finals poker
- Södra Climate Arena: all the details
- The Växjö tennis hall is open!
- STE...fans, your life has just begun!
- Edberg and Becker together again!