by Mauro Cappiello
Stefan Edberg during last year's edition of the Kings of Tennis
For the first time since the event was established in 2012, this year Stefan Edberg will miss the Kings of Tennis, the Swedish stage of the ATP Champions Tour, that will be held in Stockholm from March 18th to 20th.
With less than a month left to the tournament, the player field of six legends is already complete.
14-time Grand Slam champion Pete Sampras made the organizers happy, accepting to play at the Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre for the first time, but the crowd will surely miss the presence of Stefan Edberg, winner of the event in 2013 and runner-up last year.
The reason for Stefan's default is probably the date of the Stockholm Champions tournament that overlaps with the first ATP 1000 Masters in Indian Wells, where Stefan will follow the action of his pupil Roger Federer.
Last year Edberg had confirmed his presence in Sweden long before his partnership with the Swiss began. To honour his commitment with the organizers, he had been forced to an unlikely flight back and forth from the United States.
He had managed to reach the final at the Kings of Tennis, losing to Thomas Enqvist, having landed in Stockholm from Los Angeles just one day before the start of the tournament and flying to Miami a few days later.
Even though Roger Federer has removed Miami from his 2015 schedule, Stefan didn't want to repeat this transoceanic odyssey this year. Moreover, with the Kings of Tennis placed right in the middle of the Indian Wells second week, Federer would have been left alone in the final stages of the tournament, in which he defends last year's final lost to Novak Djokovic at the third set tie-break.
Mats Wilander, Thomas Enqvist and Magnus Larsson, who have also been regulars at the Stockholm Waterfront the past few years, will be there again for the 2015 edition, along with 1987 Wimbledon champion Pat Cash and Belgian Xavier Malisse. This year the event is one day shorter and has a new formula: no Round Robin, but two players (Sampras and Malisse) already through to the semifinals with the other four playing against each other in the first day.
Here's the full schedule:
Wednesday, March 18th
18.30 Thomas Enqvist vs Magnus Larsson
20.30 Pat Cash vs Mats Wilander
Thursday, March 19th
18.30 Pete Sampras vs winner of Wilander/Cash
20.30 Xavier Malisse vs winner of Enqvist/Larsson
Friday, March 20th
18.30 3rd place final
- Book on history of Swedish tennis available in English
- Edberg and Järryd defeated in Båstad doubles exhibition
- Legends shine in Båstad
- Serve-and-volley tennis rises from the dust in Melbourne
- Edberg: "Swedish tennis is still behind"
- Edberg, the trees and the neighbors
- Sampras: "Loss to Edberg was my turning point"
- Stefan Edberg and the $100 trick
- Arvidsson seeks motivations at Edberg's Academy
- Pat Cash: "The Swedes made my life hard"
- Chatting with the great Stefan Edberg
- 50 shades of Stefan Edberg for Barilla
- Stefan Edberg praises Australian teenagers
- Swedish Golden Age - Stefan Edberg
- Swedish Golden Age - Mats Wilander