by Mauro Cappiello
Stefan Edberg with Mikael Ymer, winner of the 2014 scholarship awarded by the SE Foundation
In some years from now, Sweden will recall the 2015 edition of Wimbledon not only for the massive presence and good results of home coaches (Edberg, Bjorkman, Norman), but also for what might be one of the early signs of a Swedish tennis reinassance.
The sixteen-year-old Mikael Ymer played the final of the junior event, losing in straight sets to American Reilly Opelka.
Mikael, younger son of 19-year-old Elias Ymer who has already got a world singles rank of number 132, only realised at the very last moment he had missed the deadline to join the tournament, so the All England Club decided to give him a wild card into the main draw. He exploited this opportunity reaching the Championship match without losing a set along the way.
Stefan Edberg with Mikael Ymer and Carl-Axel Hageskog, at the 2012 ceremony
As one of the most talented Swedish youngsters, Mikael Ymer has received the scholarship awarded by the Stefan Edberg Foundation in the last four seasons. "He is exceptional in many ways - said Stefan Edberg last October, during the 2014 ceremony of his Foundation. - He is so young and is not scared. 16 is no age today, guys need to be at least 20-21 to break through. It's important to build up the body, to compete a lot and to have the patience to wait."
Ymer will turn 17 next September 9th. This year his ranking has progressed from 1.242 to 766. Last May he has won his first Futures tournament in Bastad. He wants to walk his way following the footsteps of older brother Elias that he sees as a model. "He has been extremely disciplined and that is what I most take after him, - he says. - Many of his age might want to look at other stuff, like go out at night. But he sees his goal in front of him and does his job every day. That's what I want to learn from him."
Sons of Ethiopian parents who moved to Sweden for different reasons, met and married there, the Ymer brothers started playing following their father's passion, even though he liked American Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Michael Chang more than the players of the old Swedish tennis generation.
Still, with their young age and a bright future in front of them, they could take Sweden out of the hole, after too many years of setback. "I feel we have passed the low point of 2013, if we look at the rankings. But it will still take a long time, even though we are heading towards the right direction," says Stefan Edberg.
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