by Lars Grimlund
translated into English by Mauro Cappiello
Stefan Edberg won the Kings of Tennis last year. On Tuesday, the tournament begins at the Stockholm Waterfront and Edberg will meet, among others, Mats Wilander on his way to a new possible final on Friday.
You won the Kings of Tennis last year, have you got better or worse?
- It's a very good question. It remains to actually be seen, I underwent knee surgery last fall and I took a lot of rehab. The last six weeks I have been playing pretty well, so it'll probably work.
You beat John McEnroe in the final, how big was it?
- There was a little emotion involved in the final and John is a fantastic tennis ambassador in every way, he has done a lot for tennis. It's special when you have McEnroe on the other side of the net. I grew up with Björn Borg, McEnroe and that generation, it's a little extra to be able to play against them.
When "Mac" is there, he takes his place, right?
- He took most of the press conference, but I did not mind. He is a personality.
You have won most of your matches, is it still important to win?
- I think most people want to win, it's a feeling you would like to have. But I do not think you take it as hard as you did before. I feel you got a little more distance to it all. It's just as important to perform good tennis, but if that's not enough for the day it's not the end of the world. But if it's close at the end, then you want to win.
Is your beautiful backhand still as good?
- Has it ever been pretty? Most of it works decently well, but if there's something that clicks, it is usually serve and volley. It's physically hard to play it, the body can't do it like before. But I've got quite some variety so far, at least for my age.
Is age starting to take its toll?
- Yes, the difficult challenge is to play well for so many matches in a week. I'm not used to playing so many matches in such a short time.
Didn't you play the first tournament in Delray Beach?
- I only play a few times a year. The tournament in Stockholm is the priority and then I usually get some other. When you travel and compete you should perform and it requires a certain sacrifice. It is not just to stand on the court, you should come prepared too.
How much do you practise?
- Maybe one hour a couple of times a week. I practice a lot with juniors and a little with Magnus Larsson, who is my same age.
In your group there are Mats Wilander and Frenchman Henri Leconte, have they collected the old ones?
- That's the slightly older group, as you can see. They belong to my generation and I've met them before.
When did you last play against Wilander?
- Many, many years ago. It is possible that it was at the Kungliga Tennishallen five, ten years ago. We played a short session on center court. I hope his memory is better than mine...
Have you got other stats on him?
- I think it's pretty even, we've probably won the same number of matches (Wilander is leading by 11-9 in ATP matches).
Can you predict a winner?
- As far as me, I am a little like a dark horse, if I can say so. Carlos Moya maybe, but Enqvist usually plays well in Stockholm, if I should pick out a favorite I would pick Enqvist.
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