An article from: Tennis Oggi
by Arne Reimer
The conjugal happiness and baby Emilie’s birth have distracted a little former number one Stefan Edberg, who anyway didn’t lose sight of the most important targets. In fact, the Swede will be the only big to play all the three mega-events of the season ending: ATP Finals, Davis Cup final and Grand Slam Cup
He is one of the most admired and respected players on the tour, and for more than ten years his effective and elegant style has brought him to the top of world tennis making him one of the richest champions in the world. We’re talking about Stefan Edberg, who, at only 28, sees himself as a little colourless star, even though he still has the wish, the ability and the fighting spirit to win a lot.
The Swedish ace is not the only one to raise a question mark on his future, though. Also the experts do, naturally with all the respect that a great athlete (and a real gentleman) as him deserves. Actually, Edberg’s life has changed a lot in recent years and, for a perfectionist as he is, this meant not being able to exclusively focus on tennis, as he did in the past.
Now the blond Viking’s private life is as happy as ever and it’s even more cumbersome, since he got married with Annette and immediately became a father of the sweetest Emilie. His young family follows him anywhere, plunging him in a new dimension, very far from the life made only by training and tournaments Stefan was used to leading.
Naturally, this very loved big of the racquet still trains and travels the world as before, but is not going to give up his responsibilities as head of family in any way. So, his coach Tony Pickard (almost a father to Stefan) decided to leave him more spaces of freedom to enjoy with the two women of his life, and now he follows him much less than in the last ten, brilliant years. This caused a normal drop of performance from Edberg, that though didn’t prevent him from being the only player to take part in all the three great season ending events: ATP Finals, Davis Cup final and Grand Slam Cup.
On the other hand, if we get back to 1992 (the year in which he got married) we see that back then the blond champion from Vastervik had 36 titles and 6 Slams under his belt. Since then he won only 4 events on the tour and, actually, his record in the 1994 tennis “poker” has been the worst in the last ten years.
So, what will happen now? Certainly, Stefan has still the ability of beating any opponent and of winning a lot, but he absolutely needs to find again his playing consistency. He himself, instead, seems to be uncertain about his career. Here’s what he said during the Davis Cup semifinal, won by Sweden on United States: «Right now I feel fit and I found the right motivations to go on, but for the moment I’d rather not to have a long-time schedule».
Certainly you can’t blame him for thinking this way: Edberg owns a wonderful apartment in London, a house in Côte d'Azur, another one in Sweden and one more in Long Island, near the most exclusive golf course (his latest hobby) in New York – and, besides, his possessions amount to some 20 million dollars. Isn’t that much more than any of us would dare to dream of?
This fortunately doesn’t mean that Stefan is becoming a materialist and vain person. He is too intelligent to do it. What he wants, instead, is to invest in his own future and in his family’s. What else should he still win or prove to himself on a tennis court? Not much, really, especially now that he has two “girls” on his side who are much more important than any cheque or trophy.
So, if you have the chance of seeing Stefan Edberg play, don’t miss it because maybe there won’t be so many more occasions to admire one of the greatest aces of the racquet’s sport.
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