An article from: La Repubblica
by Gianni Clerici
LONDON. When Stefan Edberg was forced to withdraw from the Australian Open final for his forth sprain at the right abdominal muscle, I was suffering from a similar injury under therapist Jean Pierre Meerseman's holy hands.
I remember that, to forget a little my troubles, we talked about the Swede and Jean Pierre said those recurring injuries had to be faced starting from far behind, from a likely discopathy. "Going on this way, Edberg risks a relapse", the doctor commented, shaking his head, as I suggested he could have changed his serve action.
I don't know if poor Edberg treated himself properly. Likely, he chose the quicker solution, he made the lever shorter on his lumbar-sacral muscles, throws the ball a little less on the left, hits it more carefully.
His serve, one of the few real kicks (a kick, due to the push forward of his right leg) lost explosiveness, and not only that. His second ball, that used to rebound as a trick-track, now springs up straight, predictable and easily tamable for one who owns a downwards return.
If grass was wet, at least, as it was during Wimbledon 1988 final, Little Stefan could get off with his three quarters of serve. So far, on the soft and dry courts, Edberg's serve didn't hurt that much, but his two early opponents' modesty made the damage little.
Come to Mansdorf, though, Little Stefan had lots of troubles, and had been a little lucky as well to get through against an opponent who had come three points away from the match. In a good day, the Israeli can bother anyone with his base shots-quickness. Besides his tentative serve, and the delightful Mansdorf's encounter game, Edberg had to face the wind as well, one of his worst enemies. Little Stefan, who is not very wise, seems not to realize that a strong wind must be faced playing a little more far from the lines. Many of his passing-shots, so, went in the corridors, and the poor guy was so upset to lose confidence and mind vividness.
The reader will wonder how such a troubled Edberg could escape Solomon's descendant. The gap between world number three and a guy well behind number twenty remains big. The Israeli's volley cooled off, and at the first three Edberg-like passings, Amos could only oppose defective or even incomplete shots.
A light flush of joy got back on Edberg's until then very pale cheeks. He couldn't believe to have got through, after being down one set to two, and after such a big amount of unforced errors.
Edberg's match was useful to venture in the predictions for the second week, the real one, where the better players will be rewarded. Really few, by now, are the grass players, even fewer the grass commentators. So far nobody reminded that the favourite's name can change if we have rain, or if we have this gray sky with high humidity percentage, or even if we have sun.
Ivan Lendl destroyed Becker at the Queen's on a much softer grass than here in Wimbledon, a grass cut five millimeters higher and that needs three hours of daily maintenance. So far Lendl found ideal conditions also here in Wimbledon, but a weather change could be enough to force him to play on more unpredictable rebounds, and to puzzle his long levers balance.
So, if it rains, Becker's and Edberg's chances increase, while the world number one's hopes go down. Ivan Lendl can, anyway, be troubled, as it happened at the start against world number 25, uncle Tom's nephew, Shelton, the guy from Alabama. In the end, Lendl can be given the same chances as Becker, if only grass keeps dry. Edberg has certainly fewer chances, Ivanisevic even fewer: but for him it's already a big honor to be named by the book-makers.
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