translated into English by Mauro Cappiello
In the past few days, German website Tennisnet.com has anticipated some excerpts of "111 Gründe, Tennis zu lieben" ("111 reasons to love tennis"), a book written by journalist and tennis coach Florian Goosmann. One of the chapters is dedicated to Stefan Edberg's serve and volley. Here's the English translation.
Because Stefan Edberg played the most elegant serve & volley of all time
His best ball looked so harmless, as he played it ice-cold. Not his first serve. Not the killing volley. But the first volley. The one after his serve. Stefan Edberg was always that one step further, faster. In the area of the tennis court, where a step more or less makes all the difference in the world. In the area of the tennis court, where most tennis players feel as uncomfortable as a non-swimmer without ground contact. Only Edberg felt the ground under his feet right there, knew exactly where he stood. And with each volley it was like a poet moving to the net. If he needed several volleys.
Edberg, the Bravo star
Edberg was a stubborn dog. While we all know the need to go back to the safety of the baseline after an accidental attack to the net and the logical passing shot or the failed volley, Edberg ran immediately back to the net to force his opponent to go once again for the difficult passing shot.
Watching an old Stefan Edberg video, today everything seems so familiar. The short steps before the return. The pushed forehand. The dream backhand. The lowered look when he came back to the baseline. The Wilson Pro staff. Tony Pickard in the coach box. The typical Edberg service action, that was the model for the logo of the Australian Open. The kick, that gave him the time to always move close to the net so quickly. And, looking for stuff about Stefan Edberg in the Internet, you'll discover that the silent Swede was a sought after star of magazine Bravo at the end of 1980s and early 1990s - together with Milli Vanilli, Michael Jackson, David Hasselhoff, and ALF. As time goes by...
Looking for the next Edberg
The success of the "silent man from Västervik" raised so clearly as his volley game. He won the Junior Grand Slam (the only one so far), six Grand Slam titles (plus three in doubles), two at Wimbledon (both against Boris Becker), won the gold in the demonstration competition at the Olympic Games in 1984, was four times Davis Cup champion and 72 weeks at the world number one in singles (and 15 weeks in doubles).
In addition he was awarded five times the ATP sportsmanship trophy, which now bears his name and that so far only one man has won more often: Roger Federer. In 2014, the Swiss brought his great role model Edberg in his coaching staff and thus back into the active tennis scene after the Swede had regularly played also on the ATP Champions Tour since 2008.
The dimension of Stefan Edberg's popularity can be seen after his announcement to make his farewell season in 1996 after he, as he said, had lost to too many players, against whom he could not afford to lose. Standing ovations and unending applause accompanied him at each tournament - including in Rome, where he lost against Richard Krajicek, who stated afterwards: "Only my girlfriend and another friend supported me. It felt like three against 12,000."
And of course one wishes, today more than ever, that a young Stefan Edberg would suddenly appear, to take the net in front of the baseline specialists and show what tennis is so much missing. Still, he could not replace Stefan Edberg.
(thanks Thomas Meyer for helping in translation)
|"111 Gründe, Tennis zu lieben" |
by Florian Goosmann
published by Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf Verlag
pp. 304, (€9,99 - US$11,13)
Purchase the book on Amazon»
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