Stefan Edberg and Mats Wilander after their 1985 Australian Open final
In recent decades, Sweden has not hosted a challenger, the second class tournament in which the young gain experience and points. They put up one back only months ago, in Jönköping, three thousand spectators a day.
Martin Claesson is its organizer, the Federation chose him in the board: "Maybe we thought it was not necessary to support our players. Alone they have not made it to top tennis. To start a tournament is expensive, but at least we are trying again to give our young players an opportunity. Perhaps the secret is to go and have fun, to be less serious."
- FREDRIK ROSENGREN
In these years of nothing, traces of apparent life came from the doubles, avoided by top players, and where thirty-nine-year-old Robert Lindstedt found some consolation with foreign partners: three Wimbledon finals, a title in Australia.
In the doubles Jonas Björkman was a sublime performer, nine Slams between 1998 and 2006, former number 4 in singles. He says: "When in '98 we won the last Davis Cup, no survey counted our triumph among the three top sporting feats. It seemed obvious. Also for the Federation. We have done well as long as our victories have looked like normal. We are paying now for the mistakes we made at the time. In big cities there are less clubs, boys can choose among more pastimes. Parents have become crazy, they fill their children's days, children are less bored, but have also got less time to think about what they really want from themselves."
After seven Cups between 1975 and 1998, the Swedish team will play the play-off in September to avoid relegation in Group II, and, as captain Fredrik Rosengren says: "Everyone asks me when we will be great again, we are also fighting against our history, I do not know which battle is harder".
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