An Interview with Stefan Edberg the Gentleman Champion [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

An Interview with Stefan Edberg the Gentleman Champion

Action Jackson
07-01-2004, 09:15 AM
He was not one of my favourites, but I thought I would share this interview. It's very long, so I will type it in 3 parts.

Here is part 1

Stefan Edberg
The Gentleman Champion

If there was ever a Sportsmanship Hall of Fame, Stefan Edberg would likely be one of the first athletes selected. Meanwhile the ITF will induct highly respected Edberg at its July 11 ceremony in Newport, Rhode Island. The stylish serve-and-volleyer, who twice captured singles titles at Wimbledon and the Australian ad US Opens, talks exclusively with Paul Fein

When you were a boy growing up in the seaside town of Všstervik, did you ever think you would become a tennis champion and some day go into the International Tennis Hall of Fame?

No, not in my wildest dreams! Tennis was just another sport to try. It wasnít until the end of my junior career that I realized I had a chance to go on the pro tour (He won the Junior Slam in 1983). When I was young, I was just trying to become a better player and maybe No.1 in my age group. I didnít think much further than that.

Tennis stars often become coaches or TV commentators or compete on the senior tour after they retire from the Tour. What have you been doing since retiring in 1996?

TV commentating is not for me. I donít feel like playing the ATP seniors tour either. Iíve tried to live as normal a life as I possibly can and have my kids grow up in a quiet environment. Apart from that, Iím still involved in tennis a little bit. And I do quite a bit of work from home, managing my investments.

What is your typical day like?

I usually get up at 6 or 6.30 because the kids have to be in school by 8. I work in the morning and then some days I work out. By 10.30 I am quite tired. But the great thing is that I can make my own schedule.

Please tell me about your wife and children.

I have been together with my wife, Annette, for almost 20 years, so itís quite solid. Emily will turn 11 this summer, and Christopher just turned seven. Theyíre both in school now. We moved back to Sweden in 2000 to the countryside. They are typical Swedish kids now. Iíve gone back to my roots. I live pretty close to where I was brought up in a small place with only seven houses. Itís 30 kilometres south of VšxjŲ in southern Sweden.

Why did you start a tennis foundation in Sweden?

Tennis has been so great to me. Itís meant a lot to my life and made me what I am today. So I wanted to do something for the young generation coming up to give them a better chance of succeeding in tennis. Instead of writing a cheque for the Swedish Tennis Federation, I decided to start a foundation at the end of my career. I want to run it for the long term and make sure the money is used for the right things.

Specifically, what does your foundation do for young players?

The foundation is for 14-16 yr old kids. You can earn a scholarship if you perform well during the year. We put quite a bit of money into what we call Davis Cup and Fed Cup schools. They bring the best kids in the country to BŚstad to train for a few days. Itís more for the elite juniors than a grass-roots program because thatís quite an important age in your career when tennis costs a lot of money. We help with travel expenses. The kids have other coaches, but I do visit the two schools and play with them a bit. They hardly recognise me because I havenít played for seven or eight yearsÖ Itís usually their mums and dads who recognise me, not the kids.

Looking back at your career, what were your three biggest on-court victories?

Winning the first Wimbledon final over Boris Becker is a great memory. The best match I ever played was beating Courier 6-2 6-4 6-0 in the í91 US Open final. I had a great day. Also, the 1984 Davis Cup final was huge when we beat America in GŲteborg. Anders Jšrryd and I beat McEnroe and Fleming to win the final. I donít think they had lost in 14 or 15 Davis Cup matches previously.

You competed against several great champions during your 14-year career Ė McEnroe, Connors, Wilander, Lendl, Becker, Agassi and Sampras. Who were the best players?

Itís a tough question because they were all at their best at different times. The only thing I can say Ė and I havenít seen Laver play and other champions before him long ago Ė is that Pete Sampras stands out as the most complete player of all because he could play well from the baseline and he could serve and volley. Iíd pick Sampras as the best. Itís hard to pick the order after thatÖ. I would put them together in a group.

What did you find most exciting about your era?

It was a great era of tennis. Tennis was building up in theí70s, and a lot of money poured into the sport in 1980 to 1982 when I started. Tennis grew in popularity because of the stars but also companies put a lot of money into tennis. It was a special era. You had Connors, McEnroe, Lendl, Vilas and Borg Ė all the big names that made tennis prosper. Along I came as a youngster to join that great era. They had thrilling rivalries like Connors-Borg, Borg-McEnroe, McEnroe-Lendl. I was lucky to have a close rivalry with Boris. Rivalries have always created great excitement and been important in an individual sport like tennis.

What are the biggest changes youíve seen in tennis since you retired eight years ago?

There havenít been big changes. But the guys are taller and stronger, and they hit the ball a bit harder. But there is less variation now. Tennis is played in a similar way by most of the guys today.

Which men and women players today do you most like to watch?

Federer because he has all the weapons and moves well. The Williams sisters have brought lots of attention to the sport of tennis. The women have had lots of personalities in recent years, which is good for tennis. Itís always good to watch the top-ranked girls. Henin-Hardenne plays the best way. She has a one-handed backhand, which is nice to see. Itís quite an unusual shot. And she is a very good athlete.

I will type up more of the interview

Lalitha
07-01-2004, 09:34 AM
Nice one. Once I saw a Wimbledon documentary with one of the officials saying "Tell me something bad about Edberg". Such was his niceness.

Action Jackson
07-01-2004, 09:52 AM
During your last US Open in 1996, Andre Agassi said about you: ďHe only adds to the game. His image and his person are impeccable.Ē Pete Sampras said: ďIf you are looking for a role model for kids, heís the guy.Ē How did you maintain an unblemished reputation in a high-pressure, high-stakes individual sport filled with controversy?

Itís a good question. I really donít know myself sometimes (Laughter) Iíve stuck to a simple strategy: to be myself and not try and act like somebody else. Itís quite important because young kids look up to stars to show them whatís right and wrong. That means being a good citizen and showing respect for other people, whether they are drivers or people working at the tournament. They are a part of the big picture, so you shouldnít forget them, too.

You won an amazing five ATP Sportsmanship Awards and were so admired for your sportsmanship that the ATP renamed the award the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award. Is that the legacy you are most proud of?

Yeah, thatís quite an achievement. At the same time, maybe it came a little early, so soon after I retired. I have mixed feelings about that. When you think about it, itís really quite honourable to have a sportsmanship award named after you.

In 1999 Mats Wilander said, ďJohn McEnroe, Ivan Lendl and Jimmy Connors werenít the nicest people in the world, they were the most selfish players, but they were great for the game. Tennis needs players who donít care about pleasing sponsors, who donít care about being nice.Ē Since you are a nice guy, do you agree with Mats? Why or why not?

In a way, I do. Because youíre never going to have a perfect world no matter how hard you try. Having only nice players may have worked 30, 40 years ago, but we live in a different society today. Itís almost abnormal to be normal today. If you are normal today, you donít get any attention. You need to be really good or really bad.

So itís good to have normal people like you and crazy people like McEnroe?

It creates discussion and attention around the sport. And even bad publicity today is good publicity. Itís almost like you need a good guy ad a bad guy to create the best concept. But being a bad guy is nothing I recommend. Weíre all very different.

Agassi and Laver are the only men players to win all four Grand Slam events during the Open Era. But you came very close when you led Michael Chang two sets to one and had 10 break points in the fourth set and then were twice up a service break in the fifth set of the French Open final. Was losing that exciting final your biggest disappointment?

Not at the time because I thought Iíd have more chances. But as the years went by, I realised that was my great opportunity. It was similar to the great chance McEnroe had against Lendl in the 1984 final. With my game I wasnít going to get that many chances in Paris. And I was playing very well that year. If I had played one big point better, that probably would have been enough to win the match. But Chang had God on his side, or whatever you call it. (Laughter) Maybe he was destined to win that year. That was a big, big chance, and itís obviously something I regret today. But what the heck, you canít win everything.

Today players change coaches more often than ever. Tony Pickard coached you for nearly your entire pro career. You once said, ďTony is really my friend, not just my coach.Ē Is that why your relationship with Tony was so successful and so long?

I think so. Thatís part of the reason. We were well suited together. He became a friend, almost like a father. What he did for me was great, and Iím very thankful.

You won a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics when tennis was demonstration sport. Are you pleased with the way tennis is staged at the Olympics?

Yes and No. In 1984 having tennis in the Olympics was a bit suspect. But at the same time you have to be supportive because the Olympics is a big event. It wasnít until Agassi won it in the US that you got a little pop about winning the Olympics. But I doní t think tennis really needs the Olympics. Iím not sure football does either. Tennis can stand on its own feet without it.

Mrs. B
07-01-2004, 10:06 AM
Thanks for this GWG.

It's about time he got into the Tennis Hall of Fame, they should have done it earlier. ;)

CarnivalCarnage
07-01-2004, 10:07 AM
That's hysterical! Edberg takes shot at Chang! Not so nice! WHOOO!

PerezRoldan
07-01-2004, 10:14 AM
Thanks for the article, but as Carnival says it's very funny when someone like Edberg has a go at Chang. I wonder who had more friends on tour Chang or Muster?

WyveN
07-01-2004, 10:15 AM
Thanks GWH, Stefan is a wise man and I loved how he played tennis.

BjŲrki
07-01-2004, 10:18 AM
GWH where it is from?

sigmagirl91
07-01-2004, 10:59 AM
This is great, GWH. Thanks.

Action Jackson
07-01-2004, 11:06 AM
This is the last part of the interview.

As late as 1991 Annette cut your hair. Even though you are wealthy, you are still frugal. Does that come from your conservative middle-class values as the son of a police detective?

Well, I do have a respect for money. Thatís how I was brought up. Iím not throwing away money. I buy things I need but nothing more than that.

You were one of the most elegant, athletic and effective serve-and-volleyers in tennis history. But today there are few serve-and-volleyers. What should tennis do so this entertaining and important style of play doesnít die?

Thatís a good question. If I was playing today I would not play as aggressively as I did because itís too predictable and the guys return serve far better than previously. With serve-and-volley, it takes a couple more years to learn about the game. Itís riskier, there is less margin for making mistakes. I donít think serving-and-volleying will die. I just wish there will be more serving-and-volleying because itís beautiful to watch.

Arien Kantarian, chief executive of the USTA says ďThe sport is best marketed as tough, athletic, and macho. The Williams sisters have done as much as anyone to market the sport as macho. Tennis players are up there with basketball players as the finest athletes in the world.Ē Do you agree with that?

Not totally. You need to be athletic. But the game itself Ė the way itís played, the scoring system Ė is exciting the way it is. You can play badly for 45 minutes, but itís still the last point that wins the match. We donít need to be like other sports. Tennis has always been a gentlemanís sport, and thatís the way we should keep it. Otherwise, it will be like everything else.

In America some coaches teach juniors to grunt, pump their fist and yell, ďCome on!Ē What do you think of that?

Itís good to show your emotions to some extent, but you donít have to overdo itÖ. At Wimbledon youíre out there in the fifth set, and itís as exciting as you can get, and you can hear a pin drop on the floor. Thatís quite astonishing. That kind of tension is great for tennis.

Fame never seemed to matter much to you, but you once said: ďSports always has been my passion. It has given me a chance to be somebody.Ē Would you please explain that?

Iím a low-key person. Fame comes with the sport. Tennis has given me a lot. Itís give me a career, and I can support my family for the rest of my life. Thatís the great part of it. I can deal with being famous and recognised. Itís kind of nice. It helps you in normal life. At restaurants if youíre Mr. Svensson, people donít take notice. But if youíre Mr Edberg, you may get that table you want. In many ways itís quite good to be famous. I think people are nice to you.

Even though you became a somebody, you never really changed. How did you stay so normal in a tennis world which is so abnormal?

Yeah, itís quite abnormal to stay that normal. It comes down to the way you are brought up, what you believe in. Today I am quite a famous person. But whatís important to me today is to bring up my kids in a normal atmosphere. Thatís part of the reason we live in the country. They go to a public school. We try to have our feet on the ground and have the kids not taking things for granted. Kids look up to you. If you are a good example for your kids, you teach them good manners, what is right and wrong, and respect for other people. They have to do that to get through life.

McEnroe, Becker, King, Cash, Navratilova and many great champions have written highly revealing autobiographies. When will you write your autobiography?

You have a guess. Iíve had a interesting life. But Iíve stayed very normal. And thatís why I donít think my autobiography would sell today. Maybe it would in 20 years time. I doubt I would write a book about myself because I am a private person. I donít feel any need for a book about myself. If I want to help people. Iíll help them in my own private way.

CarnivalCarnage
07-01-2004, 11:23 AM
Hmmm ...

Edberg seems to have a deadpan sense of humor.

I also agree with his assessment of the popularity of a future book. ;)

Well, maybe it would do ok in Sweden, I don't know.

WaynesWorld
07-01-2004, 11:24 AM
Thanks a lot for posting that great interview!!!
Stefan was the reason why I became a tennisfan end of the 80īs and I still like him very much. Itīs great that he finally got into the Hall of Fame.

Neely
07-01-2004, 11:31 AM
completely agree with Edberg about what he says about Justine :)
(of course, he is also right in many other things :angel: )

although he was never one my biggest favorites in the 90s, I liked watching Edberg also, I think he had a nice and modern game and maybe he even deserved more big titles than he actually got. Alltogether really a complete player.

PerezRoldan
07-01-2004, 11:34 AM
Hmmm ...

Edberg seems to have a deadpan sense of humor.

I also agree with his assessment of the popularity of a future book. ;)

Well, maybe it would do ok in Sweden, I don't know.

Edberg is even boring by Swedish standards, but a deadpan sense of humor is a wonderful thing and I appreciated his tennis, even though he was not a favourite of mine.

The book wouldn't do that well in Sweden, then he never had BjŲrn Borg like antics away from the court.

CarnivalCarnage
07-01-2004, 11:36 AM
Isn't he a beloved sports figure in Sweden? No? Shut down? Ok then.

Perhaps he doesn't have a deadpan sense of humour (or any at all) and was simply accidentally making jokes! Now that would be funny.

PerezRoldan
07-01-2004, 11:41 AM
Isn't he a beloved sports figure in Sweden? No? Shut down? Ok then.

Perhaps he doesn't have a deadpan sense of humour (or any at all) and was simply accidentally making jokes! Now that would be funny.

He is still a well known and respected sports figure there is no doubt about that, but he is still boring that is what I was saying actually.

It was always interesting when Edberg played Wilander, I mean they got along, but Wilander was definitely more a man of the people than Edberg. Though I am not sure how well a Wilander book would do though.

CarnivalCarnage
07-01-2004, 11:54 AM
He is still a well known and respected sports figure there is no doubt about that, but he is still boring that is what I was saying actually.

It was always interesting when Edberg played Wilander, I mean they got along, but Wilander was definitely more a man of the people than Edberg. Though I am not sure how well a Wilander book would do though.

Yes, I caught the boring remark. But you'd think he'd have a fan base.

That said, I don't think he'd write much of a book. Not unless he has untapped reserves of personality.

PerezRoldan
07-01-2004, 11:56 AM
Yes, I caught the boring remark. But you'd think he'd have a fan base.

That said, I don't think he'd write much of a book. Not unless he has untapped reserves of personality.

I see your point of course because of his name he has a fan base, but as the man said himself it wouldn't sell and I think that's being realistic.

Next time I am in Sweden, I will put a poll to the people would they buy an Edberg book?

CarnivalCarnage
07-01-2004, 12:00 PM
I see your point of course because of his name he has a fan base, but as the man said himself it wouldn't sell and I think that's being realistic.

Next time I am in Sweden, I will put a poll to the people would they buy an Edberg book?

Damn "write" you will.

Listen, when you concoct that poll, make "Would you buy an Edberg book?" the first option, then make "Would you buy an Edberg book ghostwritten by Wilander?" the second. The result shall be shocking.

Action Jackson
07-01-2004, 12:34 PM
Damn "write" you will.

Listen, when you concoct that poll, make "Would you buy an Edberg book?" the first option, then make "Would you buy an Edberg book ghostwritten by Wilander?" the second. The result shall be shocking.

That's a nasty idea, but a very good one. If Wilander ghostwrote the book I wonder whether he would include the chapter about Annette Edberg, otherwise known as Wilander's ex-girlfriend, before she introduced him to Edberg and then went off with him.

PerezRoldan
07-01-2004, 12:57 PM
That's a nasty idea, but a very good one. If Wilander ghostwrote the book I wonder whether he would include the chapter about Annette Edberg, otherwise known as Wilander's ex-girlfriend, before she introduced him to Edberg and then went off with him.

But will you translate it once I do my tour and get all the responses?

alfonsojose
07-01-2004, 02:57 PM
But Chang had God on his side, or whatever you call it. (Laughter)

:tape:

He's :worship: :worship: :worship:

Boludo
07-01-2004, 03:00 PM
Well done Stefan, that was a great comment about God being on Chang's side during the 1989 French Open.

Finally they will induct him in the Hall of Fame, not many people deserve a Sportsmanship award named after him.

Boludo
07-01-2004, 05:20 PM
The guy was a class act on court, even allowing for the jokes.

Lee
07-01-2004, 05:39 PM
Thanks for the article GWH ;)

chris whiteside
07-01-2004, 07:03 PM
He may not have won a Mr Personality contest but on a grass court his serving and volleying (especially the backhand) was poetry in motion.

sigmagirl91
07-01-2004, 07:05 PM
Edberg was poetry in motion with his game and his looks...

YoursTruly
07-01-2004, 07:44 PM
Stefan has always been a great example to look up to, as a person and in tennis. He rocks!

tangerine_dream
07-01-2004, 08:57 PM
Poor Chang can't get no respect. :lol:

And I'm really tired of the media always whining about how s/v is "dying". It's not dying, it's hobbling along just fine. :)

Tommy'sGF
07-02-2004, 02:43 AM
Stefan !!! I miss you!!!! you were great!!!

thanks for posting this interview

BaselineSmash
07-02-2004, 04:01 PM
A serene great.

Action Jackson
07-03-2004, 10:13 AM
Stefan !!! I miss you!!!! you were great!!!

thanks for posting this interview

No problem posting that I figured some people might have been interested in what he was doing and had to say.

Pea
07-03-2004, 04:29 PM
The Amazing Stefan Edberg!:worship:

Action Jackson
07-05-2004, 07:05 PM
This one is for you TBE.

Marc Rosset is Tall
07-05-2004, 07:31 PM
Poor Chang can't get no respect. :lol:

And I'm really tired of the media always whining about how s/v is "dying". It's not dying, it's hobbling along just fine. :)

Chang gets plenty of respect, though God failed in a few semi finals.

S/V well then again, do you honestly think the Roddick style of game is aesthetically pleasing? I mean he has to play a way that suits his abilities, but it's not the most exciting, raw power itself isn't the best thing. Different strokes for different folks.

TheBoiledEgg
07-05-2004, 07:59 PM
thanx George for bumping this back up :)

Stefan was my FAV, probably still my all-time FAV player, he got me hooked really into tennis :)
though i didnt get to see him in action much back then as me had no dish/cable :fiery:

Stefan :worship: :bowdown:

Zetlandsk
07-22-2004, 09:03 AM
Thanks for the article GWH, I bet he is just as good as managing the money as he was in playing tennis.

Space Cowgirl
07-22-2004, 10:19 AM
Stefan was the reason why I became a tennisfan end of the 80īs and I still like him very much.


Me too! I was a huge Edberg fan back in the late '80s. His Wimbledon win against Becker in '88 was great. I remember I was in Germany at the time and as soon as the match was over, the broadcaster cut to another programme (no doubt bitter that Boris-Liebling lost :mad: )

Mechlan
07-22-2004, 05:23 PM
Thanks for the interview!

Edberg was (and is) a class act. Loved watching him play... he's probably my all-time favorite as well. Wish there were more like him! :worship:

TheBoiledEgg
07-22-2004, 05:45 PM
some more stuff on him this week from Tennis week
http://www.sportsmediainc.com/tennisweek/index.cfm?func=showarticle&newsid=11212

The Tennis Week Interview: Stefan Edberg


Tennis Week: How did it feel being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame over the weekend and what was the experience like?

Stefan Edberg: It was an exciting weekend because I didn't know what to expect. You know, I've never been to Newport before. Getting there and seeing it, it was quite an astonishing place. It has a lot of tradition and it's very beautiful. They did a great job setting up the entire event and the parade of champions and 50th anniversary of the Hall of Fame was very, very special because they put a lot of effort into the entire event to make it very nice. It was very special and it is an emotional event. You know, it's one day and there are so many things that go through your mind about history and about who did what and who's been there for you throughout your career.

Tennis Week: Did it prompt you to think about the fact you are among a long line of champions ó those who came before you and those who are now coming after you?

Stefan Edberg: Absolutely. Oh yes. You think about how many great champions are there and to be a part of tradition ó that is very, very special and something, obviously, you will never forget.

Tennis Week: How did you write your speech? Did you think about it in advance or write in on the plane ride over?

Stefan Edberg: Well, I never write speeches ever. What I do is, I thought about it a little bit on the plane. I thought about who has been important to me, a few memories of playing and I made two or three notes about that.

Tennis Week: So it was more of a spontaneous speech from the heart?

Stefan Edberg: Yes, it was more spontaneous. You know, it's got to come from the heart, I think. I think I got most of the things said that I wanted to say. There are a few more things that maybe I should have said, but at the time you know it's tough to fit everything in.

Tennis Week: How did your family feel about your induction? It must have been special for you to have your family there?

Stefan Edberg: I think it was very special for my family. At least now my children are old enough to remember things and a day like this, they will remember. When I was playing, Christopher wasn't born and Emily was only three so she's not going to remember anything from when I played on the tour. They've both seen some exhibitions I've played, but it's not quite the same.

Tennis Week: When they saw you inducted did they realize who you are in tennis and what you've accomplished in the game?

Stefan Edberg: I don't think it's really quite got into them. I don't think they will understand until they get a little bit older, to be honest. You know, Christopher is not old enough and Emily is starting to get a feel for it. To me, I'm a dad. I'm not a tennis player. Maybe when Emily gets to 16 or 17 she starts to realize...

Tennis Week: You can show her the old videos to let her see...

Stefan Edberg: (laughs) Yes, I can show her the videos.

Tennis Week: When I think of your career, the first two things that come to mind are how graceful you were and the great sportsmanship you showed on the court. How important to you was your demeanor on court ó not just the way you played and won, but the way you behaved and conducted yourself?

Stefan Edberg: I think I just sort of stuck to being myself. I never tried to be someone else. And I think that's why it's been sort of easy for me to keep a straight line over the years. Maybe I wasn't so very popular to start with because maybe I was hanging my head and maybe was a little subdued. Maybe I wasn't looking like the happiest person on two legs out there (laughs), but I think over the years maybe they appreciated what I did and what I stood for. It's come around pretty nicely that people (respect that).

Tennis Week: Were you always naturally calm or did it take effort for you to stay so cool on court?

Stefan Edberg: No, I'm pretty naturally calm, but I think you know getting my head up, lifting my head up, I've worked on that. And the small things you have to work on to make it better and it's quite important not being so hard on yourself, which I was in the beginning of my career.

Tennis Week: The best match I ever saw you play was the '91 U.S. Open when you beat Jim Courier, 6-2, 6-4, 6-0. Tony Trabert once said that was one of the best performances he saw in a major final. What did winning that match mean for you in your career?

Stefan Edberg: Quite a lot. I mean, the U.S. Open was not my favorite tournament to start with in my career. It was quite noisy and the weather could change from one way to another. And I never really liked playing at night there. I never minded playing at night at a lot of tournaments, but I never found the lights quite right there.

Tennis Week: Borg said he never liked the lights there either.

Stefan Edberg: It was tough to see the ball. It could be so extreme. In the day time it could be 85 or 90 degrees ó really hot ó and then at night it was freezing and sort of windy and I had some really horrific matches at night when the wind was blowing and it was cold. That made it difficult and that was hard to overcome, but I think in '91 I played some exceptional tennis and was probably mentally ready for the Open.

Tennis Week: A match like that '91 final where you played such flawless tennis ó did you feel yourself moving toward that level of play throughout the tournament or did the tennis just flow from you in that particular match?

Stefan Edberg: I struggled a little bit the first week in '91, but the second week I was really very, very steady. The final was like walking on clouds ó it was just such a great day. I think everyone has their day when you just play such exceptional tennis and for me it happened to be in the U.S. Open final, which makes it even more special for me.

Tennis Week: Was that the best quality match you ever played?

Stefan Edberg: I think so. If I had to pick out a match, definitely the best match I played under the circumstances, was that one.

Tennis Week: The following year you returned to the Open and successfully defended your title. What do you remember from that experience because you had a lot of long, tough five-set victories, beating Krajicek in the fourth round, Lendl in the quarters and the Chang match in the semis, was brutal.

Stefan Edberg: It was a brutal second week. Three five-setters and being down a break in each of them. They were really, really long five-setters. I think I started against Lendl on a Wednesday or Thursday and I had to finish the next day. Then five hours ó almost five and a half hours ó against Chang in the semifinals on Saturday. The coming back the next day and playing Sampras in the finals, so it was difficult. That second U.S. Open was a nice achievement after all the tennis I played.

Tennis Week: And all the pressure you had to face as defending champion.

Stefan Edberg: Oh yes.

Tennis Week: Sampras has always said that loss to you in the '92 final completely changed his career because he realized at that moment how much he hated losing and never wanted to feel it in a major final again. He's said that loss helped make him the player he became. When you beat him that day, did you envision Sampras would go on to have the career he had?

Stefan Edberg: Oh, yeah. I always thought Sampras could be a great player. But he lacked maybe the mental toughness to start with and maybe he was aware of that himself. Or maybe that changed with that match and he realized he had to work harder. And of course he became one of the greatest players to ever play the game. That was the turning point for him. Maybe it was the turning point for me too because that was the last Grand Slam title I ever won (laughs).

Tennis Week: What was your most memorable Grand Slam victory?

Stefan Edberg: They're all good to win (smiles). But obviously winning Wimbledon the first time was very special to me because of the history of Bjorn Borg winning five titles. About the only tennis you could watch on television in Sweden was Wimbledon and Davis Cup so to be there yourself and to actually be on the same court and to win it was a very special feeling. I would say the U.S. Open in '91 was very special, too, playing probably the best match of my career. So that's the answer to that.

Tennis Week: Roger Federer often says you were one of the players he admired and emulated when he was growing up. He is such a complete player. Can you envision Federer staying at the top of the game for as long as he's motivated to do so?

Stefan Edberg: Well, he's the best player. There's no question about it. He's got the game, he's got the strength. I think he can go on for another couple of years dominating the game with what he's got. There's only really one or two things that can stop him: obviously an injury or something personal to happen, but if that doesn't happen he's going to continue to dominate. In a way, it's quite nice to see because he plays such beautiful tennis ó it's really beautiful to watch. I quite like the way Federer plays the game.

Tennis Week: What is your future in tennis? Are you still working a lot with juniors in Sweden?

Stefan Edberg: I'm still involved in tennis and I still have my foundation, which I'm running back in Sweden. I still do some work locally. I set up a place with Carl-Axel Hageskog, who was the previous Davis Cup captain for Sweden. We set up a place where you can combine studies with playing tennis nearly full-time.

Tennis Week: Sort of like an academy?

Stefan Edberg: Yeah, yeah, you can say so. I'm spending some time on court with these guys and some of the girls. They're about 16, 17 and 18 years old.

Tennis Week: Do you still play a lot? Because you look so fit, like you could walk out on court right now if you wanted?

Stefan Edberg: I do play regularly. At the moment, I'm not playing anything because I've got a slipped disc in my back in the moment.

Tennis Week: It's not because of this (emulates the back bend on Edberg's serve), is it?

Stefan Edberg: (smiles) Probably that's part of the reason. Otherwise, I play some tennis twice a week and I some squash too. I keep active. And that's why I still keep playing with the young guys: so I can still keep competitive and give them a match out there.

Tennis Week: Do you think any of the Swedes ó Joachim Johansson, Thomas Johansson, Robin Soderling ó are potential top-10 or top-20 players long-term?

Stefan Edberg: Well, Johansson has the potential. As you know, he's had a huge setback with his injuries so he's going to find it hard to get back to where he was. Soderling, I think, he's got the game to get up there. He was just in the semis of a tournament. Ususally with these young guys, like Soderling at his best is really good, but it's getting to a consistently good level every time you step on the court that can be difficult.

Tennis Week: Even Federer, as a young player, struggled to get that consistency at times.

Stefan Edberg: Absolutely. But Soderling has potential: he's got the game, he's strong so he could definitely get up there to the top 10. Soderling has the potential to get there, there's no question about that, it's staying there that can be a little bit more difficult.

Tennis Week: You played so many great players at or near their peak. Who do you consider your best rival? Who brought out the best in you?

Stefan Edberg: The Spanish guys on clay (laughs). No, I think obviously the Becker rivalry was great at the time. Becker was such a great competitor especially in the big finals. There was a little rivarly with Mats (Wilander) too. We both brought out some great tennis in each other. I was lucky enough to play McEnroe at his best, which was awfully tough. I competed against Lendl at his best, which was not easy either. I competed with Agassi close to his best and he caused me a lot of trouble because he returned the ball so well. And Pete Sampras somewhere close to his best as well. He sometimes blew me off the court when he was close to his best. So I was lucky enough to play against great players at the peak of their careers or pretty close to it.

Tennis Week: You had some memorable matches with McEnroe (McEnroe won seven of their 13 meetings). You were both attacking players, but obviously so different in terms of temperament. What was it like playing McEnroe?

Stefan Edberg: I kind of liked John, the way he acts on the court. He makes it pretty interesting. I always liked to watch him play. I didn't agree with him all the time, but I didn't really mind playing against him because he was more arguing with himself or the umpire. He didn't really care the opponent that much. He was more worried about the calls so that was a good thing about John. I didn't really get too irritated playing him because I knew what to expect. He did a great job arguing ó he was the best ó so we miss him (smiles).

Tennis Week: Did you ever have a time where you just mentally lost it on court?

Stefan Edberg: Oh yeah. It happens to everybody.

Tennis Week: How did you keep it together and stay so cool for so long?

Stefan Edberg: Well, there are times when you're there, but you're not quite there. When you're tired and you just do the best you can for the moment. It's like you haven't got the strength and you just have to finish. So you just play and do the best you can and then take a break from it because you have to understand it happens to everybody at some point.

Tennis Week: During rain delays at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open they'll sometimes televise old matches. Do you ever see old matches that you've played; do you ever watch yourself?

Stefan Edberg: Hardly ever. I've got all my prizes and all the videos packed away in boxes. And I haven't gotten to the stage where I do watch them. I've got a chance now because they asked me to send some of my trophies for the Hall of Fame museum. So I had to get up in the attic, go through the boxes and dig out the few videotapes I had.

Tennis Week: Do you think you'll ever sit down with your kids and show them any of those matches?

Stefan Edberg: I think if they ask we'd do it. If they get to the stage where they're interested and want to see it. When they want to do it and they're interested we can, but I think that's the key with kids: they have to want to do it. It's like that with tennis: you don't want to push them into playing tennis unless they really want to do it on their own. But if they come to you and want to play tennis then you're in a much better position because it comes from them and they're interested.

Hagar
07-22-2004, 08:44 PM
He is one of these players from the period in between McEnroe and Borg and the end of the 90-ies = my dark Middle Ages concerning tennis = many years where I for some obscure reason did not know what went on in tennis.
So I have unfortunately only very rarely seen him play (some points and games here and there).
Looks like he was a very fine player in his days, need to catch some of his matches.

Always good to read how the greats think of the wonderful game of tennis.

TheBoiledEgg
07-22-2004, 08:59 PM
Hagar, you missed out on someone special

I take it you've seen Rafter right ?? then x10 at least, then you get Edberg :worship:

Mechlan
07-22-2004, 08:59 PM
No, I think obviously the Becker rivalry was great at the time. Becker was such a great competitor especially in the big finals. There was a little rivarly with Mats (Wilander) too. We both brought out some great tennis in each other. I was lucky enough to play McEnroe at his best, which was awfully tough. I competed against Lendl at his best, which was not easy either. I competed with Agassi close to his best and he caused me a lot of trouble because he returned the ball so well. And Pete Sampras somewhere close to his best as well. He sometimes blew me off the court when he was close to his best. So I was lucky enough to play against great players at the peak of their careers or pretty close to it.


That's pretty amazing that he got the opportunity to play so many greats of the game. Not many players that have the chance to assess the relative merits of players of different generations through playing them the way he does.

TheBoiledEgg
07-22-2004, 09:03 PM
This was the 1st part of the piece at bottom of page 1

http://www.sportsmediainc.net/tennisweek/index.cfm?func=showarticle&newsid=11213&bannerregion=

Two days after Stefan Edberg was immortalized with his induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, he sat in a room surrounded by family, friends, fans and fellow Hall of Famers celebrating a ceremony even closer to his heart ó his daughter Emily's 11th birthday.

As a roomful of people ó including Rod Laver, Martina Hingis, Pancho Segura and Tom Gullikson ó sang "Happy Birthday", Edberg wore the smile of a proud parent. The former No. 1 looked genuinely happy to be doing exactly what he finds most fulfilling these days ó spending time with wife Annette, daughter Emily and three-year-old son Christopher.

"To me, I'm a dad. I'm not a tennis player," Edberg said.

The 38-year-old Edberg, Laver, Hingis, Jenny Hopkins and Carly Gullickson were among the pros who convened at Cape Cod's Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club for the adidas tennis smash, July 12-14th.

A slipped disk in his back prevented Edberg from playing, but he compensated by spending time, signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans. Throughout the event, Edberg exuded a natural ease interacting with fans and accommodating their requests.

Now in its fourth year, the adidas tennis smash is no mere celebrity tennis tourney, but a spectatorís dream offering the unique opportunity to not only watch classic tennis at the Ocean Edge Tennis Stadium, but to mix and mingle with top-ranked pros in a casual, comfortable and characteristically Cape Cod atmosphere. The event benefits an important cause, with proceeds going to the Tim & Tom Gullikson Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the funding of care and support programs for brain tumor patients and their families. The Tim & Tom Gullikson Foundation was founded in 1995 by Tim Gullikson, former pro and coach of Pete Sampras, and his identical twin brother, Tom Gullikson, a former pro, coach and captain of the United States Davis Cup team. Tim was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1995 and lost his battle with the illness in 1996 at the age of 44.

Speaking to an audience after an impromptu indoor volley drill, Tom Gullikson recalled his initial memories of the young Edberg.

"One year in Brussels we had a pretty big indoor tournament. I was ranked about 45 or 50 and I was in the qualifying playing this young Swedish kid in the second round, Stefan Edberg," Gullikson said. "I played him on a Sunday morning in Brussels and I beat him 6-4 in the third set. He was maybe 17-years-old at the time. Then in the afternoon, I was playing this young 18 year old kid from Australia named Pat Cash. And I lost to Pat Cash in the final round of qualifying like 6-3 in the third. I was in my mid 30s at the time. I retired very shortly after that. I turn on the TV about 18 months later and I was watching the Australian Open finals and who was playing the finals? Stefan Edberg and Pat Cash. Eighteen months previously, I played them both on the same day and I'm sure Stefan probably fondly remembers that match."

In a career that saw him compile an 806-270 (.749 winning percentage), Edberg produced many memorable moments on the court. At the age of 17, the Vastervik, Sweden native became the first man to win the junior Grand Slam when he swept all four junior majors in 1983. Edberg turned pro amid high expectations and spent his 14-year professional career fulfilling them.

A six-time Grand Slam champion, Edberg amassed 41 singles titles and 18 doubles championships in his career. Edberg and John McEnroe are the only men in Open Era history to hold the No. 1 ranking in both singles and doubles simultaneously. Edberg is such a gentleman it often obscures the truth about his game: stylistically speaking he was a revolutionary in his home country. He shattered the Swedish stereotype of swift, steady, stoic baseliners who modeled their styles on 11-time Grand Slam champion Bjorn Borg. Edberg's aggressive attacking game may have looked risky, but like McEnroe before him he was in tune with a fundamental truth of tennis: the wide serve that pushed his opponent in pursuit off the court followed by the crisp volley into the open court he created is the highest-percentage play in tennis.

The obituary for serve-and-volley tennis has been written again and again in recent years yet the world's top player ó Roger Federer ó plays all-court tennis and serve-and-volleyers ranging from Tim Henman to Max Mirnyi to Taylor Dent have enjoyed varying degrees of success. Edberg's elegant serve-and-volley style captured the attention of a generation of fans. He sees the sport as cyclical and believes the net game will eventually be revived by more players.

"Obviously, tennis goes through changes and cycles," Edberg said. "You know, having been away from the game now for a couple of years since I stopped here obviously, looking at the game today, one would wish to see a little bit more variation of play out there. But at the same time, you know, tennis makes progress. Might not be as exciting as it was in the past, but it depends who you ask. Younger people may be on a different opinion. I'm not quite sure. But it's hard to make changes, but at least one can look at it. If there is anything that can be done to improve the game, you should always look at those things."

Federer's feel at the net and his one-handed backhand are slightly reminiscent of his boyhood hero ó Edberg ó but the most striking similarity between the pair is in their movement: both glide gracefully across any surface, both are tremendously adept at transitioning from defense to offense and both asserted an attacking instinct when playing their best tennis.

At their best, Edberg and Federer are prime examples of Grand Slam champions who worked very hard to make the game appear extremely easy. Edberg said his movement was the key component to his success as a champion.

"I think it really was the key: my physical fitness and the way I was moving around the court was really my strength," Edberg said. "I didn't really particularly hit the ball that hard. I think really the movement was really the key to my game in playing solid and obviously aggressive tennis. I think the movement is key to most of the players out there is to be able to move around the court in the right way. Because everyone can hit the ball out there, but it's getting to it and getting to the right place at the right time is really what tennis is all about. It's really a running sport."

He made his mark as a champion, and Edberg's integrity, honesty and sportsmanship made him one of the sport's most admired figures. Revered and respected by players and fans, Edberg always conducted himself with class both on and off the court. His superb sportsmanship is so legendary, Edberg not only earned the ATP's Sportsmanship Award a record five times, the ATP actually renamed the award in his honor ó it is now known as the "Edberg Sportsmanship Award" ó in 1996.

In today's era of abrasive athletics where WWF-style taunts have infiltrated all sorts of sports, talking a good game is sometimes more common than playing one. During his career, Edberg let his classy conduct on court speak for him, but spoke out about the importance of sportsmanship in the game.

"I always thought it to be quite important as an idol to many people, having somebody to look up to and be a good example," Edberg said. "To me sportsmanship is very, very important ó maybe even more important in today's society. (It is) something that I'm proud of and feel that it's very important to have these kind of people around."

Impeccably attired in dark blue adidas sweat pants, a white tennis shirt and sleeveless blue vest, Edberg looks as fit today as he did when he played his last match ó a 3-6, 4-6, 3-6 loss to Cedric Pioline in the 1996 Davis Cup final ó Edberg sat down with Tennis Week last week for this interview in which he discusses his induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, identifies his toughest rivals and recalls his greatest Grand Slam moments.

Hagar
07-23-2004, 01:24 PM
Hagar, you missed out on someone special

I take it you've seen Rafter right ?? then x10 at least, then you get Edberg :worship:

Egg, I've seen Rafter in the last years of his career and I loved him. So I am sure Edberg would have been my kind of guy.
As you mention Rafter, I now have to think about that Wimbledon final in 2001 against Goran. Great stuff and boy, did I have mixed feelings when it was all over: thrilled for Goran but so sad for Rafter.

1NightStandsRule
07-27-2004, 07:47 AM
A fine player and it's good to see that he is happy and content with his life after tennis.

Eden
10-07-2009, 05:36 PM
An interview with Stefan from 1996:

Adieu to an elegant assassin: Stefan Edberg interview

As Stefan Edberg prepares to play his last Wimbledon, John Roberts talks to the winner in 1988 and 1990, someone who has always brought a special style to the lawns of SW19

John Roberts

Monday, 24 June 1996

There was a delicious moment when an announcer at Madison Square Garden, New York, hailed the winner of the 1989 Masters thus: "From London, England, Stefan Edberg!"

Dream on. Edberg may be at ease strolling along Kensington High Street, having based himself in England at the onset of his professional career some 14 years ago, but the policeman's son from Vastervik remains as Swedish as Bjorn Borg.

The 30-year-old Edberg is ours only in the sense that great sportsmen belong to everybody, although there would hardly have been a quibble if the New York MC had introduced him as Stefan Edberg from Wimbledon.

His style was made for the lawns of the All England Club, his deportment complementing the ambience of the sport's traditional theatre as impressively as his strokes. He embraces the so-called power game with a gentle touch, serving and volleying with elegance.

There is not a trace of brutality in Edberg's play, yet the leading players of his generation, Connors, McEnroe, Lendl, Becker et al, would endorse the potency of his first serve and the wicked kick of his second serve.

Edberg's natural gifts, galvanised by a self-belief painstakingly instilled by his coach, Tony Pickard, from Nottingham, enabled him to win the Wimbledon singles title twice in three consecutive finals against Boris Becker.

In addition, Edberg has won both the Australian and United States championships on two occasions and here, in his retirement year, he is about to compete in his 53rd consecutive Grand Slam tournament, a unique record which dates back to Wimbledon 1983.

Two months before the odyssey began, however, a 17-year-old Edberg had to come to terms with the loss of a trusted ally. Having advanced to the semi-finals of the State Express Tennis Classic at Bournemouth with a victory against the Hungarian Balazs Taroczy, he was summoned to the media interview room.

"I had one good racket, a Wilson Javelin," Edberg recalled. "It was my favourite racket, and I made the mistake of putting it next to the heater. It just got so hot that it melted. I still had rackets, but not as good as that one. Next day I lost easily to Jose Higueras, 6-1, 6-1."

The experience did not impede Edberg's progress. That year, he went on to become the only player ever to win a junior Grand Slam. Replacing a racket was not a problem. His impact on the senior game was delayed by a tendency to signal despondency to opponents by lowering his head when matches ran against him.

Pickard called the condition "the droops", and helping Edberg cure it was a big triumph. There is not a finer sight in tennis than a confident Edberg in full flow. One could imagine him enjoying equal success in the pre-synthetic era, when wooden rackets might warp or scorch but were not known to melt.

Becker and Edberg dominated Wimbledon in the latter part of the 1980s, the diffident Swede finally catching the precocious German who had startled the All England Club by winning the title, unseeded, in 1985 when only 17.

"We had a little bit of a battle going," Edberg said, whose victories in 1988 and 1990 sandwiched Becker's last success, in 1989. "Three finals in a row, and Boris made a fourth one in 1991, when I lost to [Michael] Stich in an incredible semi-final." Stich won, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 7-6, without once breaking Edberg's serve.

"I think the rivalry with Boris has been very good for both of us, because that's really what's important in tennis. We've been fighting through Wimbledon and we've been fighting for the No 1 spot and looking at each other's results. Connors and Borg and McEnroe and Lendl had this thing going, and Boris and I had it going for a little while."

Probably the most important moment in Edberg's career was his Wimbledon victory in 1988, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-2, in a rain-delayed final which began late on Sunday and was completed on Monday afternoon.

"That was a major breakthrough for me," he said. "I'd won the Australian Open twice, but winning Wimbledon takes something special. I remember having a great match with [Miloslav] Mecir in the semi-finals. I was down two sets to love and nearly out of the match, and I think winning that match gave me a lot of determination, a lot of guts going into the final.

"Obviously, the rain delay after playing just a few games on the Sunday was a bit frustrating. I was hitting the ball beautifully on Sunday and started off not as good on the Monday. But the change really came in the tie-break in the second set. From then on I never looked back. I was flowing around the court and doing the things that I wanted to do. It was a great day."

The loss to Becker in 1989, 6-0, 7-6, 6-4, was Edberg's second disappointment within a month. He had returned to London from Paris determined to atone for an agonising five-set defeat by Michael Chang in the French Open final.

"I thought I had a good chance at Wimbledon because I was playing very well towards the final," Edberg said. "I was lucky to finish my semi-final match against McEnroe on Friday. Becker had a rain delay and had to come back on Saturday.

"Maybe a lot of people thought I was going to win that match, but I think he [Becker] really picked up speed on that Saturday in his final set against Lendl. He really took off flying, and I never really had a chance to get into the match, apart from a little bit in the second set.

"He just blew me off the court that day. I didn't play well, unfortunately, and I felt pretty bad after the match. It's fine if you play well and you lose, no problem. But when you don't play up to standard it makes you feel even worse.

"It was a tough year for me, '89, losing two Slam finals and losing another five finals. It wasn't until I won the Masters, or what's now called the ATP Finals, that things changed again. Suddenly I won seven tournaments in 1990 and became No 1."

Having advanced to the Wimbledon final again in 1990, Edberg appeared to be heading towards a victory even more comfortable than Becker's the previous year. In the end it went to five sets, and Edberg was relieved to win, 6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4.

"I was playing great for two sets, and it was almost looking as easy in the third set," Edberg said. "But he got the break, and once Boris sees his chance he takes it. He took over the match completely. He levelled the match and then had that break in the fifth set before I turned things round.

"It was a good omen. That year I was down 3-1 in the final set of a lot of matches. Even when I beat Michael Chang in Cincinnati to become No 1 [in August], I was down 3-1 in the third set."

Pickard sat through it all until they parted amicably at the end of 1994, a rare British presence in the corner of a Wimbledon champion. He is back there again for the valedictory performance. "Tony's probably got a lot of satisfaction out of it as well," Edberg said. "Being a British person, and having played there before, he really enjoys going to Wimbledon. I think he's handled the pressure pretty well. I mean, a coach can do so much. In the end it's still up to the player."

Edberg may have been eliminated in the second round on his last two visits to SW19 and dropped in the pecking order, but he has lost none of his fascination for the championships. "There is nothing like being on the Centre Court," he said. "For me, and most of the other players, too, if you had to pick one of the four Grand Slams, you would pick Wimbledon. It's got tradition, it's got atmosphere, and it's got mystique."

What will he remember most in the years to come? "I think you remember the times you were sitting in the locker-rooms, around all the other big players, the ones when you first came on the tour, and walking out on the Centre Court and bowing, which you only do at one place; little things like that. You sort of will miss those moments."

He will even miss the All England Club's idiosyncrasies. "I think you have to laugh about all the rules they have. It's sometimes so strict. Some of the rules are almost ridiculous. But that's what makes it."

For example? "Well, I don't want to get into that too much," he said, laughing, "I'd rather stand aside here. Actually, I think they're right in keeping the traditions and the rules because if you start loosening it, you won't have that special feeling."

And will he remember the rain delays? "Yeah, yeah, those have been tough at times, too. Rain is part of Wimbledon. I've had a four-day match, when I played [Marc] Rosset in '91. We were supposed to play at two o'clock on the Monday, and we finished on Thursday. I was there from early morning till late evening four days in a row before we completed it. That's the longest match I've played so far."

For the record, Edberg, the No 1 seed, won, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/adieu-to-an-elegant-assassin-stefan-edberg-interview-1338517.html

Eden
12-02-2009, 05:27 PM
Best & Worst: Stefan Edberg

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00652/Sport_652270a.jpg
Stefan Edberg wins the Men's Singles at Wimbledon in 1988


What was the best moment of your career?

The first time I became the worldís No 1-ranked player in 1990 would be right up there with winning Wimbledon two years earlier. Ivan Lendl was the player I knocked off the top and heíd been there a long time.

What was your worst moment?

There are two. The first was losing the final of French Open in 1989 to a 17-year-old Michael Chang. It was the only time I got beyond the quarter-final at Roland Garros. The other was 7Ĺ years later and my last match, which came in the Davis Cup final against France in Malmo. I knew it was where I would bow out but I got injured early in my first match against Cedric Pioline. I lost in straight sets.

What was the best thing about being a player in your era?

I played in the tail-end of one stunning era and figured in another later in my career. McEnroe, Connors and Lendl were still around when I broke through. Boris was pretty much a constant as we began playing each other when we were juniors but then Sampras, Agassi, Courier and Goran [Ivanisevic] came to the fore when the older guys bowed out. There was a little more edge between the players in that first era but the quality of play was always so high in the second.

[B]What was the worst thing about tennis in your era?

The rain delays at Wimbledon. I look at the Centre Court roof and wish it was there in my time.

Who was the best coach you had and why?

Most people think I only ever had one coach, Britainís Tony Pickard, but they would be wrong. When I was young I worked with Percy Rosberg, the man who first spotted Borgís talent. Technically he was so good and his help was invaluable. But Tony was the best coach for me and we stuck together throughout my top career. He had to be tough at times. Tony became almost a second father and that special relationship still holds true to this day.

Who was the best player you played against?

The opponent who gave me the most problems was unquestionably Pete Sampras. We played 14 times in all and he won eight. His serve was phenomenal and his overall game so strong. He would overpower you and was the complete player with just about every shot.

What was the best venue you played at?

Predictable but true, nowhere can compare to Wimbledonís Centre Court. It is almost sacred. But Kooyong, the home of the Australian Open before it moved to Melbourne Park, also has great memories because it was where I won my first major title. It was always a great feeling down there.

Who is the best player today?

No hesitation: Roger Federer. In the same way Sampras was at his peak, Roger is the complete player and I was happy for him when he finally won the French Open this year. It was the only Grand Slam title that I didnít win. Sampras, Becker, Connors and Newcombe suffered the same fate. Federer goes into every Grand Slam as the major contender and I can see that lasting for a while yet. Will things change now he is a father? I have no idea but from my experiences I know it didnít get any easier when it came to focusing on my tennis when my daughter and then my son came along.

What is the worst thing about the game today?

I always played serve and volley and there are few players who specialise in those tactics now. Itís easy to understand because with the changes in technology the game got too fast so steps were taken to slow it a little in terms of surface and balls. But it would be wrong if the art of attacking the net to hit the winning volley disappeared.

What was the best advice you were given as a player?

I remember early in my career practising with Jimmy Connors. He insisted there was no point being out there if you were not giving 100% and that every point mattered. He told me if you had that outlook in practice then it would make you even more focused in matches. Itís a lesson every young player should be taught.

WHERE ARE YOU NOW?

Tennis remains a part of my life and I play a few tournaments each year on the ATP Champions Tour. I donít think you ever lose the urge to be competitive but I have plenty of other things on the go. I have always taken a keen interest in the international stock market and spend a couple of hours every day in front of my computer working on my portfolio. I am also involved in property rental around my hometown, Vaxjo, in Sweden. Sport-wise, I keep an eye on the fortunes of Leeds United and hope better times are coming back, and I play a lot of squash. Itís a great game and I support the campaign to make it an Olympic sport. But most important is my family; my wife, Annette, daughter Emilie, who is now 16, and son Christopher, who is 12.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00652/Sport_652271a.jpg

- Stefan Edberg is one of an eight-man singles field in the Aegon Masters at the Albert Hall, London, from December 1 to 6

Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/tennis/article6936119.ece

Eden
12-05-2009, 05:29 PM
Short interview with Stefan:

PzBS83__Zxg

star
12-05-2009, 06:28 PM
I never knew this.

Edberg was involved in a freak accident during the boys' singles final at the 1983 US Open, when Richard Wertheim, a linesman, was struck by a ball hit by Edberg. Wertheim toppled backwards off his chair fracturing his skull as he hit the ground. Wertheim died of his injury.[5]

FairWeatherFan
12-05-2009, 09:42 PM
Nice articles. Edberg of course had one of the most beautiful, flowing games of all time and his style is not seen on tour anymore these days, which means that we should appreciate his efforts even more. Edberg is a genuinely nice guy, but the fact he knew how to suffer fools unlike say a Lendl and his looks meant that he was well-treated by the media.

thrust
12-06-2009, 12:32 AM
One of my all-time favorite players! Great tennis, great attitude.

rocketassist
12-06-2009, 12:38 AM
Saw him dismantle Rusedski on ITV4 before- classic stuff.

juan77
12-06-2009, 05:29 AM
A gentleman champion indeed. His game was elegance personified. His service motion, the way he used to rush to the net after every serve, his movement around the court, his exquisite volleying, and his spectacular backhand were so much fun to watch. On court he would always appear unaffected whether he won or lost. In spite of achieving so much, he comes across as very down to earth person in these interviews.

Eden
02-24-2010, 06:57 PM
I translated a current German interview with Stefan:

„The worst was the day after the accident“


At the Pitztaler hotel „Kirchenwirt“ the Swedish Ex-tennis-star Stefan Edberg (44) talked about his image and Agassi.

http://www.tt.com/csp/cms/sites/dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls?STREAMOID=O8OHh TW8sn3hGDH$weUYr8$daE2N3K4ZzOUsqbU5sYuifgBBEFBAz7U nh8$qAsLuWCsjLu883Ygn4B49Lvm9bPe2QeMKQdVeZmXF$9l$4 uCZ8QDXhaHEp3rvzXRJFdy0KqPHLoMevcTLo3h8xh70Y6N_U_C ryOsw6FTOdKL_jpQ-&CONTENTTYPE=image/jpeg&CSPCHD=00b00001000038ddiRaa000000G71097vI2gEXdYtWg V3QHg—


Mr. Edberg, is this your first visit in Tirol?

Stefan Edberg: Yes. This place here in Pitztal is really something special. I already went skiing in Italy and France, but something like this you find seldom.

Did you have to write many autographs yet?

Edberg (laughs): No, not yet. The advantage of skiing is that you wear sunglasses and a cap which means that the people don’t recognize you
You ended your tenniscareer in 1996 after having won 42 titles and being #1 for 72 weeks. What have you done in the last 14 years?
Edberg: I worked and I enjoyed the time with my family. 10 years ago I moved back to Sweden from London. I established an investment company.

Have you ever missed the hype around you?

Edberg: No. I’m happy the way it is. I always liked it to seclude myself. Of course there are sometimes moments which I have fond memories of. But on the other hand I’m really glad that all the waitings before each match are over.

How much private life and intimacy did you have to sacrifice for your career?

Edberg: There have been a lot of deprivations. You build your life around tennis. You don’t have much spare time and you try to use this time as good as possible.

How long have you put your racket into the corner?

Edberg (laughs): Only for 3 weeks. I know many people who throw their racket after 15 years into the rearmost corner and who are happy that they don’t have to take it again. For me it is all mental. Everything is the same as in former times. You pack you bag, play tennis and have a shower afterwards. Just not on the ATP tour, but in the club next door.

Since 2008 you are active on the seniors tour.

Edberg: Yes, that’s a lot of fun. I got asked for 10 years if I would going to participate. Then I thought: „Okay, when you want to play again do it now.“ The biological clock is ticking. The difference to the old times is that the head is meanwhile faster as the legs.

Is there a match in your career which you are dreaming of in the night?

Edberg: I often think about my loss against Michael Chang in the French Open final 1989. Certain shots, where I should have played cross instead of longline. Maybe I would have won then. But you never know.

You have won 6 Grand Slam titles, only the French Open was missing. Are you still angry about this today?

Edberg: No. I see it this way: I could have ended without having won any tournament. I’m really grateful for my achievements.

Andre Agassi broke with his image after his career with his biography „Open“. You haven’t done anything like this.

Edberg: Yes, that’s the difference. I have always been myself. It was important for me to be respectful towards other people. It must be hard to play a role, which you don’t like. But for the media only at the very top or at the bottom exist. When you are in the middle nobody is interested in it.

Have you read the book of Andre Agassi? And do you have any idea why he confessed about doping and criticised his former opponents in public?

Edberg: I haven’t read it, but I heard from many people what’s written in there. I can’t explain why Agassi had to do this. Maybe he really wanted it or he just wanted to sell more books. Either way: He got the needed attention.
During the juniors tournament of the US Open in 1983 you hit a linesman with a hard serve so accidental that he died from the consequences of his fall.

Does this still haunt you today?

Edberg (serious): I have left it behind today. During that time it was different. The worst was the day after the accident. To wake up in the morning and to have to go out on the center court later and to have to give all those interviews about the happening. I was 18 years old and it was really hard for me.

How did you cope with it?

Edberg (quietly): A lot of people talked with me about it. At some point I accepted that it was an accident.

Roger Federer dominates tennis like no other. Is this good for the sport?

Edberg: Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer raised this sport one level higher. That’s undisputed. I don’t think that’s a bad development. During my time we had different kind of players. Today nearly everything is played from the baseline.

Would a Stefan Edberg in topform be able to beat Roger Federer?

Edberg (laughs): On a good day it would have been a close match. But Federer is for sure the most complete player. He doesn’t even sweat. Beside this he is rarely injured – he has an outstanding physique.

What is Stefan Edberg doing in 10 years?

Edberg (laughs): That’s a good question. I know what I’m going to do the next 7 years. That’s the time my son is going to school. I don’t know what I’m going to do afterwards. Maybe I travel more.

Interview by Daniel Suckert

Original source: http://www.tt.com/csp/cms/sites/tt/%C3%9Cberblick/Sport%C3%BCberblick/Sport%C3%BCberblickContainer/325859-8/am-schlimmsten-war-der-tag-nach-dem-unfall.csp