Stefan Edberg on the cover page of Tennis Magazine (issue 502/October 2018)
STEFAN EDBERG-TONY PICKARD... A little like the Rafael and Toni Nadal of the 80s-90s, a mythical duo with slightly (and deliciously) vintage reflections today. More than 20 years after theÂ retirement of the Swedish player, that also marked the one of the British coach, both retain a brilliant form, and a magnificent complicity. Discretion not being the least of their qualities, their word remains very rare. For Tennis Magazine, they made an exception. For almost an hour, we have redone the match with them. And we feasted.
Tennis Magazine: Do you remember your first meeting and your debut together?
Stefan Edberg: Yes, we met in England, through Wilson, our common sponsor. I must have been 16 or 17 years old. At the time, I was working with Percy Rosberg (the man with whom he had changed his two handed backhand to move to a single-handed one, editor's note), a coach who had collaborated with a lot of young Swedish players, especially BjĂ¶rn Borg, but who did not really have experience on the circuit.
Tony Pickard: Specifically, it was in 1983, occasionally at the Bournemouth tournament. I had already seen Stefan play before, he was a very promising young player, but I did not know him personally. We have immediately hooked. I never imagined at the time that I would pass so many years on the road by his side. It will remain an amazing experience to have been able to work with someone like him. He was extremely easy to coach. He was listening, he had this incredible ability to assimilate and execute immediately what we had previously discussed about. In more than fifteen years, I donâ€™t think that we have argued once. It was a beautiful time, too. After McEnroe and Connors, gentlemen had taken over the game. And Stefan was the first of these "new" gentlemen.
But, basically, that made this duo work so well?
T. P.: The secret is that we trusted and believed in each other. That is surely the reason why we have never had "words" all this time. There have been a lot of discussions. Our relationship was not a dictatorship. It was a construction over the long term. On the other hand, this is the problem that a lot of coaches face today. They are there for three months, then it's over. You can not build anything this way.