Stefan Edberg and Goran Ivanisevic in Zurich 2010
from If Stockholm Open website
translated into English by Mauro Cappiello
Wimbledon legends meet in the Kungliga Hallen on Saturday October 15
There will be a classic meeting between Stefan Edberg and Goran Ivanisevic at the Kungliga Tennis Hallen. The two legends have played against each other nineteen times before with a very narrow leadership by the Croat of 10-9 in the statistics.
If Edberg wants to level up the balance (but Stefan has beaten Ivanisevic twice as a senior: in the 2008 Legends Live final in Copenhagen and in the 2010 Zurich final - translator annotation), he must access Ivanisevic's powerful serve. No other player has namely hit as many aces as Ivanisevic, who during his professional career thundered into no fewer than 10093 aces. Only in 1996, Ivanisevic hit 1477 aces, which remains a record for a season on the ATP tour.
If Ivanisevic has one of the best serves of all time, so Edberg has perhaps the sharpest and most beautiful backhand volley. The elegant player from Västervik is also used to winning matches in the Kungliga Tennis Hallen. It was at the Royal Center Court that Edberg, for example, won in the final of the If Stockholm Open in 1986 and 1987. Edberg is also the player who won most matches in the Stockholm Open history. Ivanisevic also has sweet memories from the If Stockholm Open, although he now makes his debut at the Kungliga Tennis Hallen. In the toughest possible competition the tall Croatian scared his opponents in the first half of the 1990s, when the tournament was played at the Globe. Final victory in 1992 was followed by the final in 1993 and in 1994. Five players who were ranked as world-ones have crossed their racquets with Ivanisevic in Stockholm: Andre Agassi, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Yevgeny Kafelnikov and John McEnroe!
Ivanisevic's main tournament victory must still be regarded as Wimbledon. Ivanisevic beloved Wimbledon and Wimbledon beloved Ivanisevic. When Ivanisevic fell for the third time in the final in the 1998 edition of The Championships most people probably thought the dream of a Grand Slam title would not be fulfilled. Three years later, Ivanisevic ranked a modest 125 th place in the world, but he still managed to get a free place in the main event thanks to a wildcard. The immensely popular Croatian thanked the organizers and played out his best tennis for two magical weeks in the British capital.
The final, which was held on a Monday due to rain, is a modern classic. At 8-7 in the decisive fifth set against Patrick Rafter Ivanisevic can no longer keep the emotions away. He is deeply shocked. With tears in his eyes he serves two double faults when he plays his way to the championship point, but on his fourth match point he manages to finally close. Neither before or since has such a low ranked player won Wimbledon and never before had the audience in London been so wild as in the unforgettable final match of 2001.
Stefan Edberg was a possibly even greater recognition by the audience after his farewell match as a professional player in Stockholm in 1996. Tributes knew no bounds, which in itself is worthy of a global player with impeccable character. Edberg won six Grand Slam titles in singles and contributed strongly to at least three Swedish Davis Cup titles. He belonged to the world's elite for more than ten years and throughout this period Edberg was the personification of sportsmanship.
The meeting between Edberg and Ivanisevic has all the makings of a blockbuster. Edberg will make every effort to equalize the statistics, while Ivanisevic hopes to exploit the relatively rapid surface to his advantage. The result is uncertain, but it seems that we will see at least a tiebreak when two of tennis history's best attacking players collide.
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