by Stefan Edberg
filmed and contributed by Donna Anstey
transcript by Mauro Cappiello
Stefan Edberg during his induction speech at the Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport (photo by Anke Rossol)
Well, it's been a long way to get here, a lot of hard work, a lot of hours on the court, it's been a lot of time, otherwise I don't think I could have got here, 'cause you gotta love this game and I really love this game. It's a game made for individuals and that's really what makes it so special, 'cause I'm really priviledged to be part of tennis.
Obviously there is a lot of people that you need help from, in order to get here, 'cause I couldn't make it on my own, there is no chance. It takes me back to my parents, which are not here today, they are back in Sweden, they were great support in the beginning, taking me from tournament to tournament at a young age. Without them, it wouldn't be possible.
Obviously the coaches that I had throughout the years, back in Vastervik where I grew up, (names of the coaches), two great guys who helped me throughout my career, and obviously the man sitting just here. Tony, I must say, Tony, you've not just been a great coach, you've become a great friend, maybe like a dad for me, and I really mean that.
And without friends you won't survive this game and I would love to give tribute to my lovely wife Annette, as well. You really stood up for me in bad times and good times. That's what counts. I'm also priviledged to have my children here, Christopher and Emilie. You were a little bit too young when I was playing, up to '96.
Tony I met in Bournemouth in 1983, that's the first time I met Tony, he was working for Wilson at the time and, you know... he came up with a big fat contract when I was seventeen, thanks for that... And he invited me in Nottingham where I played on grass for the first time in my life, I had never seen a grass court back in Sweden. The weather is so cold sometimes...
Going through memories here, I feel very sad for your country for something really that I did appreciate and especially one match I should mention, my first year at the Davis Cup in 1984, playing the final against the States in Sweden with the great team of Connors, McEnroe, Fleming... That was a great moment, importantly we beat you that time…
Playing Wimbledon is obviously something really great, I watched Bjorn Borg which I would like to give a tribute to, he really inspired me, without him now I wouldn't be here. He's a great for Swedish tennis and I think for tennis overall.
Also I would like to pay tribute to the US Open, which wasn't my favourite tournament to start with. It was hard playing in Flushing Meadows with the airplanes flying over your head all the time, often when you were hitting the ball. But I learnt to appreciate it and I had two great years back in '91 and '92, when I played some of my best tennis in my career. So nowadays I love the US Open.
And a couple of more things... Australian Open obviously a great tournament to come to, but it took quite some time the first time to get in there. As a seventeen year old I flew there for the first time and when I flew from Stockholm to Sydney, Australia, it took me 54 hours...
And lastly I would like to thank all the fellow players that are here today. I think you made tennis and, without you playing, I wouldn't be here either. You supported the game for so long, I'm so glad to see you here today and it's a very special day today, but it was even more special yesterday, to see everybody walking on the court here, so much talent at one place. I'll remember that for the rest of my life. Thank you, guys. That's it.
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