An article from: Il Corriere dello Sport
by Alessandra Giardini
A THREE-MINUTE APPLAUSE. The Swede asks his fans to remember him as a «nice champion»
«A gooseflesh, unforgettable support. It doesn’t matter I lost»
ROME. There are different ways to part. The one chosen by Andrea Gaudenzi for the Rome crowd – even if it’s a good-bye, not a farewell – looks like a giving up: he goes away without an explanation (on the court), without finding the words to comfort who had fallen in love with him. Who behave accordingly, and so whistle. One hour later nobody already remembers at what time the last Italian slammed the Centre Court door and packed his suitcase.
There are different ways to part. The one chosen by Stefan Edberg – that is a farewell, not a good-bye – is the best of all. A kiss Rome won’t forget: it’s like saying we’ll still be friends, we’ll always care for one another, we’ll think of one another all life long.
It’s 5.39 pm when the man who plays volleys like caresses throws a ball in the net, the last one, just like common mortals usually do. The Rome crowd stand up all at once and dedicate a three-minute applause to him, as if he had won, more than if he had won. The prince replies with three bows, Rome return the bows screaming his name until he gets off the court, as late as he can. It looks like a phone call by two distant lovers, when none of them wants to be the first to hang up.
The ending? As it’s usually said in these cases, it’s been wonderful. «It was really special to hear all that support, and I wasn’t even playing in my own country. It really impressed me, I had the gooseflesh. In the end, it doesn’t matter that much that I lost».
The match now is just a detail. «He was really unbeatable. He served and took the net very well, but also did very good touches and very good returns. I think Krajicek can even win this tournament. As far as me, I’m playing well and I’m also quite fit. I hope to keep this rhythm and these standards. Paris? It’s a very strange tournament for the serve and volley players. But I think I already had my great chance. Now I’ll have another, the last one. If I reach the quarters, who knows… I could even win».
Edberg leaves Rome, Edberg will also soon leave tennis. Nothing will be as before. «I hope to be remembered as a champion, a sportman, a nice person. This most of all».
It was Krajicek, a twenty-four year old Dutchman as tall as a light pole, who caused the separation between Edberg and Rome. «They told me I served at 220 kph, I didn’t notice it… The last time I played this well was… the day before. Here in Rome I’m playing very well, I’m very happy with my tennis».
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- Roger Federer about Stefan Edberg in press conference
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- Final step before going mad
- «I should no longer do this to myself...»
- "The quiet and the wild"
- Becker trims Edberg to earn Queen's title
- Gentleman Stefan
- Edberg, through with class
- Game, Set, Match, Career
- Edberg's ordeal: «There's no more respect»
- Edberg to Retire With Style and in Style
- Edberg, one more year and then good-bye