by Gérard Bersier
translated into English by Mauro Cappiello
The Swiss Open in Gstaad has really ended on a high note. Ah, what a beautiful feast! This 49th edition was like a Bordeaux wine from 1982, a very good vintage, for the quality of participation and the level of most matches, not to mention that the sky did its job passing the encounters through the drops, even though the weather was chilly, something the players certainly didn't complain of.
Some were choosy saying that the final with this Stadler playing such an unorthodox tennis would be quickly shipped and our countryman would be swallowed alive. Well, he took charge to dismiss these rumours and prove that his victories against Srejber, Smid and Sanchez were not the result of chance, even less of luck.
Therefore, it would take 3 hours 25 minutes and 47 games for Edberg to overcome this Winkelried and earn his 40,000 dollar cheque by the sweat of his brow. Maybe he himself somewhat underestimated his opponent, he, the sixth player in the world challenged by the 414th.
Roland Stadler fell head high, arms in hand. Gstaad was a Sempach for him.
Finally the organizers were also rewarded by a record: more than 25,000 spectators in total or 4,500 more than last year here, which will encourage them to develop a great tournament for the fiftieth "Wimbledon of the Alps", as they call it.
Class triumphed on tenacity
For Stadler, this tournament was a run of fighter. 8 matches in 8 days, since he had to go through the qualifying. His progress was steady match after match and he grew up somehow with his task.
His great strength is undoubtedly his moral and psychological qualities. Facing the Swedish giant, this little Swiss had no complex. He fought with his means to match the Nordic, who had a hard time, in spite of his multiple advantages: a powerful serve followed to the net, a great court coverage and the ability of sudden accelerations from the baseline.
The man from Zurich responded to these services with violent returns down-the-line or cross-court, which more than once surprised his opponent not always happy with his backhand, both from the bottom and on the volley. He also ran even more on all the more unlikely balls and made just one double fault more than his opponent.
To describe the moral strength of the player from Zurich we will mention only two very significative examples: the 8th game in the lst set, when, led 0-40, he succeeded to hold his serve ending with a service winner, to level up at 4-4; in the second set at 4-4, he missed three break break points, but didn't let himself down and somehow forced Edberg to double fault. Maybe frustrated by this obstinacy.
He eventually won this second set. Finally we can say that in the two sets he won, he was led 3-0 in one and 3-1 in the other. Coming back in the score taking the Swede's serve twice was a great effort.
If the Swede undoubtedly deserved to win this final, Roland Stadler was worthy of his opponent, even if in the end the Viking defeated Winkelried.
WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID
Stefan Edberg: I am of course very happy with my victory. I didn't expect such resistance. It is very difficult to play against him because you never know where he will play the ball with his two handed shots, especially on returns of serve. His style is really unorthodox. In addition, he has served really well! As an outsider, he had nothing to lose and he received the support of the crowd. I loved this tournament and I hope to come and defend my title next year.
Roland Stadler: I was motivated for this final as for all the other matches. It was an event for me to meet a player of such class. He played better today than in other matches like the one against Keretic where he made easy mistakes, which was not the case today. I had to change my strategy during the match: I went to the net not to find myself under pressure from the baseline. In the morning my legs were a little heavy from Saturday (end of the match against Smid and semifinal against Sanchez) but I was not worried. My slump in the third set was due to the fact that I was distracted by the interruption to water the court. But I have lost against a stronger player than me, that's all!
We leave the final word to Pierre Aubert, Federal Councillor, guest of honor with Mr. Julio Antonio Samaranch, President of CIO: a winner almost defeated and a defeated finalist who almost won! We couldn't have said it better! (gb)
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