by Jörg Allmeroth
translated into English by Mauro Cappiello Clipping dedicated to STE...fans donor Thuy Nguyen with a huge thank you from all the community!
The next week end the final curtain will fall for Stefan Edberg. In the Davis Cup final between Sweden and France, he will take his farewell from tennis. Looking back without anger.
kicker: After an entire season dedicated to celebrate your goodbye to tennis, haven't you got gradually tired of ceremony speeches?
Edberg: I like hearing compliments, although I must say that they are always the same. But it is now finally time for the curtain. The last few weeks have also been quite exhausting for me, with all the celebrations and the media obligations.
kicker: Why did you actually not stop overnight, spontaneously?
Edberg: I felt to complete my retirement over a longer time. It was a really heavy fight. So I could not simply go away in a hasty action that would not fit. I am glad that I put it on my way.
kicker: Was there a special day, a very specific match perhaps which has tipped the tennis balance-off?
Edberg: Last season there were many bitter defeats against players who were not objectively considered to be potentially as smooth to beat me. The most grievous moment was undoubtedly the Wimbledon upset against the Belgian Norman. I think the evening after that defeat I thought I had definitely exceeded the threshold and I said: "I should no longer do this to myself... "
kicker: But this season, during your farewell tour, you have suffered plenty of bad defeats again. Didn't that hurt a bit?
Edberg: I have accepted it consciously. I just wanted to be one more time as an active player on the scenes where I used to be successfully. This farewell was also a commitment towards the fans. Many of my followers would have been upset had I just sent a press release saying: "Edberg quits, period!". I would have had a bad feeling.
kicker: At the start of 1996, you already said: "My time in tennis is over." What did you mean exactly?
Edberg: I've always had a clear game style: serve&volley. But now this is just no longer enough. And you can not change this game so radically, as it would be required. Someone like Boris Becker can adapt his game better. I find it amazing how he can keep up from the baseline today.
kicker: Many of your colleagues have retired from tennis, only to return again later.
Edberg: Well, I can really say this one hundred percent: there is no turning back. 1996 is my finish line. Players who withdrew and then came back have more or less failed and have also lost some of their reputation. I want to keep mine.
kicker: You had your biggest rivalry in tennis against Boris Becker, three times you fought against him for the Wimbledon title. How do you see the German?
Edberg: We never had any quarrel with each other. On the other hand, it was such an extreme duel since teenage years that we also never developed a real friendship. Maybe we'll have a chance again later, who knows...
kicker: You have been acknowledged by almost everyone as a "gentleman of the sport". How easy was for you to keep a good behaviour in the shark industry of professional tennis?
Edberg: For me sportsmanship has always been an essential component in the profession. In my behaviour on court I was always quite myself, I did not have to adjust myself to play any role. I'm just not a bad guy, but the one with the good looking face. It will be nice for me that people will look back at me and remember me as a true champion.
kicker: There has never been any scandal or sensational headline on Stefan Edberg.
Edberg: Why should have been? To show someway my personality? I didn't need it. I always thought it was enough to be described by my tennis game. I was a tennis player, and for this I should be judged. Nothing else.
kicker: In nowadays media society, anyway, we wonder how a world star like you could protect his private life so completely.
Edberg: It's very simple. You need to want it with all your heart. There are also people who stand up and complain that they are followed by the press and the next moment they jostle in the spotlight. You can always remain a private citizen and protect your family from the hustle and bustle.
kicker: What will you most miss from your career?
Edberg: The awareness of owning skills that few people have in this world. One thing is for sure: in my life I would have never thought I could play tennis so well.
kicker: But you will remain connected to tennis, for example with your Foundation for youth.
Edberg: Of course. Tennis will keep on playing a crucial role in my life. I would like to pass to the young the discipline and education of tennis. This way I can also give back to the sport a part of what it has given to me.
kicker: In Sweden there is speculation that you could be the new Davis Cup team captain.
Edberg: One should never say never. I would not exclude it for the future. At the moment, what is more important to me is that I can help once again as a player to win the Davis Cup against the French.
Yannick NoahFor me he is a white sheet, empty, bland. Edberg is like a yogurt without sugar to me. Like cream without flavor - just a dessert. But a nice guy, after all!
Boris BeckerTwo Swedes wanted an autograph from me. And as I imagined, they told me they came from the land of tennis players Borg and Wilander. Edberg was not on their map. Why not?
Ion TiriacHe has mastered just one game: serve-and-volley. This is actually very convenient for him, because he can't mess up with other skills.
Pete SamprasHe has had a great career, won six major tournaments, has been number one in the world and has earned more money than he can ever spend.
Mats WilanderLosing is okay. But when it happens against Stefan, you sometimes really don't feel tense.
- Stefan Edberg & Tony Pickard Mr Class and his teacher
- "I am a happy person"
- Edberg to BBC: "Federer is the greatest in my eyes"
- Edberg: "No one thought Federer and Nadal would be here today"
- Edberg: "It was like the script for a movie"
- "The quiet and the wild"
- Becker trims Edberg to earn Queen's title
- Gentleman Stefan
- Edberg, a kiss good-bye
- Edberg, through with class