from Le Sport
by Dominique Bonhomme
translated into English by Mauro Cappiello
Stefan Edberg is not known for being an expansive boy. Even if Nastase says he laughs when he plays doubles with him, the Swede is far from having the look of the showman of the tour. Yet, last Sunday, he won the Wimbledon final against Boris Becker (6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4) showing his happiness. He threw his t-shirt to the crowd, raised his fist, hugged Boris Becker and, when the Duchess of Kent gave him the trophy, he was grinning up-above his ears.
He even sketched a kind of apache dance at the end of the second set, 6-2 as the first one, which is not nothing against the powerful Boris Becker. He deserved this Wimbledon victory, his second. He fought until the end to obtain it.
He has no more fear!
People often say he's scared of winning. They still say it while the Swede has won twice the Australian Open and twice Wimbledon. People think Edberg could crack at any time. Even when he has two match points against Becker in the fifth set. But now, he has no more fear.
Tony Pickard, his coach: «Stefan is a different animal from the one Becker had crashed in the final last year. He had cracked. Today, he is much stronger in his head.»
The symbol of this change is a lob. A lob perfectly mastered by the Swede that allowed him to take Boris Becker's serve in the fifth set and lead 5-4.
This lob then, after a long volley from the German, Edberg could have never played if he had had fear. Over the years, Stefan changed and credit goes to him, who didn't come from a particularly happy place.
He is less sad
Edberg was born in Vastervik one evening of January 1966. This city is a resort by the sea in southern Sweden, it is neither beautiful nor very hot. In winter, an icy wind relentlessly sweeps the sand of the beaches and cracks the branches of the trees. Often snow blocks the doors of houses.
Night falls, very black, at the time kids go out from school. In Sweden, you remain introverted. Calmly. And for years, Stefan remained within himself. Of his country, he said: «Sweden is not an easy place. Everything depends on the vision of life you have. If one is well adapted to the mentality, if one has never gone out of Sweden, one may well accept to live their lives there. But I have known something else and I could not think of living from the month of October to the month of April.»
Thanks to tennis Stefan Edberg discovered another world. Other people, as well. More noisy, more expansive. And little by little, he has changed. Of course, he will never be a showman but, after all, what can he do? «To play my best tennis, I need to be very concentrated. And when I'm really in a match, I saw that watching myself on TV, it is true that I don't look very happy. But that is changing. Five years agoI was deeply sad! Today, I am more relaxed and less introverted.»
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