from Tennis de France (issue of October 1991)
by Jacques Dereix
translated into English by Mauro Cappiello
Stefan Edberg dominated the fortnight of Flushing Meadow with his class. In the final, he simply crashed Jim Courier in just over two hours. Conclusion: first title in New York and back to World number one. Great!
"I've never seen him play like that" (Jim Courier). "When I see him hovering like that on the court, I know it's a great day" (Tony Pickard). "I think this is the best match I've ever played. Everything went like a dream" (Stefan Edberg).
After witnessing it, we can confirm: Edberg played an extraordinary match in the final of the US Open against Jim Courier, who had not lost a set until there. The score says it all: 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 in 2 hours and 2 minutes.
As always when he plays well, the service was the key. Edberg didn't reach 39% of first serves in the first set. This explains the quality of his second serve against an opponent who knows how to return.
Volley and smash were not far behind. In the only critical moments he faced, when he was 5-4 up on serve in the second set, on 15-30 Edberg palyed an incredible winning backhand volley crosscourt and, on 30-40, a smash come out of nowhere. The two shots left Courier petrified with admiration.
The Swede had struggled at the start of the tournament. In the first round against Bryan Shelton, he had saved three set points in the third set, when the score was one set all. It was against Michael Chang in the fourth round, that the click happened: "He forced me to play, he forced me to think. This is where I found rhythm and concentration." Afterwards, Courier, Javier Sanchez and Lendl were the victims of his new found form.
Little happy with his summer season - his defeat against Stich in Wimbledon not having lost his serve once really hurt him - Edberg had continued to work thinking he would eventually find his game.
He found it at the right time, while his decision to rent a flat in Long Island gave him a peace of mind that he had never known in New York.
As Monica Seles, who won the women's tournament, the Swede has both won his first US Open and found the world number one. A fortnight blessed by God.
Stefan Edberg has swept aside the "Bomber" Jim Courier in a final between the Beauty and the Beast. After his triumph, he rushed towards Annette Olsen's arms, almost forgetting to shake hands with his opponent... to receive a kiss that was not stolen. The world number one is no longer icy.
Jim Courier doesn't have to complain either. Especially because, on the eve of the tournament, he was reluctant to participate, having crossed, after a semifinal in Indianapolis, a depression similar to the one he had already experienced in Rome.
It was Jimmy Connors' enthusiasm, at a training meeting on the Flushing Meadow Centre Court twenty-four hours before the start of the event, that gave him back the boost to play.
He made the right decision since he sealed through the draw with determination and impressive vitality, sweeping away all his opponents in straight sets, including, in the semifinal, his motivator Jimmy Connors - who would have done better not to practice with him...
The case of Connors has been widely covered elsewhere and we'll not dwell on it here. Simply, while condemning the "black" of his behavior on the court, we still admire how he faced his
Behind these three stars, it was a little helter-skelter. The term is a little hard for Ivan Lendl. But it seemed fair at least as far as the semifinal against Edberg, whose service gave him almost unsolvable problems.
After four very important break points in the second game of the third set, Lendl had no more chance to get back in the match.
Michael Stich, eliminated by Lendl in the quarterfinals, was not equal to his new reputation. His insistence on repeating that his goal was to reach the quarterfinals suggests that he did not really believe himself in his chances of victory.
How the Wimbledon champion broke down against Lendl when he led two sets to one and 3-0 in the tie-break of the fourth was spectacular. "Maybe fear to win - he ventured -. I gave him the victory. I thought I was better equipped to deal with such situations."
His compatriot Boris Becker goes out of the tournament even more as a loser. With a torn right thigh, he was beaten by Paul Haarhuis in the third round, leaving the World number one and any chance to play the Davis Cup semifinals against United States in late September. Grim picture.
That of Pete Sampras, the defending champion, is also not great. As Gabriela Sabatini, winner last year like him, the American was beaten in the quarterfinals by a more determined opponent than him - Jim Courier.
The final between Stefan Edberg and Jim Courier was really a one way match. Even from the most difficult positions, the Swede was able to convert every killing passing shot from the American in a winning volley. He establishes himself once again as the best volleyer in the world.
Repeating his title was heavier to carry than a bag of bricks, Sampras eventually flattened under the load. It's not Connors who helped him: "This story of being relieved to lose a title is rubbish. There is nothing like the feeling of winning the US Open and try to do it again the following year. If these guys do not live for this something is wrong with them," he rapped in one of those strong statements he loves.
If he heard this from his home of Las Vegas, perhaps Andre Agassi will have felt targeted. Of all the stars present in New York, he was in fact the most disappointing.
Defeated in three sets in the first round by Krickstein, Agassi seemed washy for being someone whose motto is "image is everything."
Washy, Guy Forget was also in his second round match against Jan Siemerink.
After his victory at Cincinnati, one might think that he had an interesting role to play in this tournament. This was not the case.
After the failure of their leader, the top two French were Arnaud Boetsch and Stephane Simian. This was a refreshing discovery for many people, he fell out during the first week of a heat wave. A fresh wind from Sweden came to soften the second.
- Survival of the Fittest
- Edberg, glad to amaze you
- The Iron Man against the world
- Edberg, man anywhere
- One man show
- Muscled Monica had no mercy
- Seles and Edberg win, but Connors steals the show
- Volkov's hit, Edberg out
- What a comedy, Jimmy