The Swede beats Chang in the US and, after 19 months, dethrones Lendl from the number one in the world ranking
A few days after officially becoming world number one for the first time, Stefan Edberg lifted the Cincinnati trophy
CINCINNATI. Stefan Edberg is the new tennis world number one. The twenty-four-year-old Swede overtook Lendl going through to the semifinals if the Cincinnati ATP tournament, in the US, where the Czech didn't play. To become world number one the Swede absolutely needed to beat the American Chang in the quarters and, struggling, the Swede managed to close the most important match for him with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 score. Edberg then managed to get through to the final, beating Ecuador's Gomez 7-5, 6-3.
With his victory on Chang, Edberg enters the gallery of the eight champions who, since '73, when computer rankings were introduced, have reached the world number one spot.
Really few believed the Swede could eventually be a number one. And maybe, for a part of the commentators, it's still a blasphemy to see Edberg on the throne belonged to the best McEnroe, Connors and Borg.
But Edberg's rise can't be considered a case or just a consequence of a drop of personalities in the group of the top tennis players. Edberg, the fickle, the player with little guts, got the leadership after a long chase between disbelief and little trust.
His second Wimbledon title helped Edberg come to Ohio, for this not very first level tournament, to take his prize. In the year when Lendl had laid everything on Wimbledon, Edberg's triumph in London seemed a prologue to the destitution of the old king who had made his fortune of an exaggerated physical training.
The gear sprang in Cincinnati: Edberg reached the quarters with the chance to gather those few points he still needed to overtake Lendl, and with his win on Gomez in the semifinal, left him behind. It is the end of the reign for Lendl, who had saved his leadership from '85 to '88, and after a period with Wilander at the top, had taken the first spot in january '89 and had held it for 19 months.
Once the number one was named at the end of the season, when journalist Lance Tingay wrote down his rank of the top ten tennis players in the world. Then computer came in '73, giving fewer chances of recovery: the average score was calculated on all the results of the last twelve months, and an injury was enough to spoil the score of an entire season. Current rankings only consider the best 14 results in the last twelve months, and Edberg became world number one thanks to this rule.
At the start of the week Lendl, not in the draw in Cincinnati, preceded Edberg by 90 points, and the Swede should lose the 75 points obtained exactly one year ago. But the Swede reached the semis (125 points), beating Srejber, Sznajder and Chang (48 more points). So the ranking changed and now Lendl's answer is awaited.
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