An article from: Matchball
by Franco Molinari
STOCKHOLM. We’ve come to the last stop of one of the all-time great’s career. At the end of ’96 Stefan Edberg will hang his racquet on the classic nail: his last tournament will be next autumn’s Stockholm Open.
From his Swedish home of Grimslov, near Vaxjo, where he usually spends his Christmas holidays, Edberg announced to the journalists his decision to play one more year and then quit. «I’ve been asked for long when I was going to retire – the former number 1 said in the press conference – and I’ve been asking myself as well. This year’s disappointing results had their weight, but my decision comes from the fact that, when I’m on the court, I feel less and less motivated. In order to compete at the highest levels you need to suffer, to always sacrifice yourself, and I no longer have this skill».
Edberg, who will turn 30 the next January 19th, closed 1995 (a season in which he won only one tournament, Doha) at number 23, his worst ranking in the last ten years. But what would happen – we asked him – if in ’96 he should win again? «It doesn’t matter – he replied – I’ll quit anyway, should I be number 2 or number 100. I’ll play this 1996 with dedication, trying to achieve something to be proud of, and then stop: I’ll take care of my family, my daughter».
Loyal and generous, on court as in life, Stefan besides announced that he will give two million crowns to a youth program. «I want to give back to Swedish tennis the technical and economical support I received as a young», he explained, adding that he will ask the organizers of the tournaments he will take part in in ’96 to contribute to the foundation with more offerings.
It’s an unprecedented act. The other multimillionaire superstars of Swedish tennis, Borg, Wilander and so on, never thought to show gratitude or help new generations.
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