Stefan Edberg: The Tennis Week Interview

12-08-2003, 11:12 PM
The Tennis Week Interview: Stefan Edberg

By Richard Pagliaro

The Scottsdale sunshine casts a golden glow across the Grand Slam champion poised to serve. He is one of tennis' most highly respected sportsman, but from the shadows across the court, Stefan Edberg is about to feel the heat of high stakes tennis in his return to the competitive court.

"Edberg, you're too old! Show me what you've got!" screams his opponent, an exuberant Las Vegas weatherman who is trying to apply the heat to the customarily cool Swede.
Edberg the target of taunts?

Even though the joking comment is issued completely in good fun, the sight is as surprising as seeing someone spray painting graffiti in Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. An unfazed Edberg takes the trash-talking in stride before responding with a bold challenge of his own.

"I'll give you $100 if you touch this serve," Edberg evenly replies.

The challenge elicits a buzz of excitement from the crowd of about 100 people seated around the hard court on white plastic chairs and nearly everyone leans forward in eager anticipation at the action about to unfold.

Most members of the crowd have paid about $775 to attend this three-day adidas Stefan Edberg Fantasy Camp conducted on the eight hard courts of the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort at Gainey Ranch last weekend. Virtually every one of the attendees have enjoyed the experience of trading shots and and stories with the six-time Grand Slam champion, 17th-ranked Meghann Shaughnessy and the energetic and entertaining staff of the ITUSA who have run the camp. The camp culminates on Sunday with Edberg, Shaughnessy and former No. 1 Martina Hingis rallying with more than 60 of us hackers who have traveled from all over the country to play with and against the greats of the game.

The challenge from the former No. 1 is so unlike Edberg, you begin to wonder if John McEnroe's bravado has briefly been implanted in his brain, but it intensifies the excitement of the tiebreaker.

The classic Edberg service motion begins: the lofty service toss, the index finger extended slightly on his right hand which is wrapped around the brown, leather grip of his Wilson racquet, the deep knee bend the exposes the bulging muscles of his quads bursting from beneath the bottom of his adidas shorts, the impossibly acute arch of his back and then Edberg explodes upward and launches a kick serve that soars so high it would easily eclipse the top tier of Wimbledon's Centre Court as well as the star that shines from atop the Christmas tree in Manhattan's Rockefeller Center.

The ball clears the net, the back fence and the towering light post overlooking the court and continues its flight path beyond the boundaries of the facility probably settling somewhere on the side of East Doubletree Ranch Road, a yellow felt companion to the cactus that dots the desert.

Everyone erupts in spontaneous laughter and applause and even Edberg offers a sly smile.

More than seven years removed from his final match on the ATP Tour, Edberg looks almost exactly as you last saw him when he glided across the court. His short blond hair is parted from the left side, he stands so straight you could balance tennis balls on his head without worrying about one bouncing off and he's clad in the clean adidas outfit that was his customary attire during his 14-year career.

The 37-year-old Edberg moves with the effortless ease of a man who looks like he could compete with world-class athletes at any sport you spontaneously select.

Edberg has a dry, understated sense of humor. At one point during a break from the camp drills, we ask where we can see him play next and Edberg replies with a smile: "You can see me anytime you like ó on old match videos."

Those videos provide a view of one of the most graceful players to ever play the game

A six-time Grand Slam champion, Edberg amassed 41 singles titles and 18 doubles championships in his career. Edberg and 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.

His athleticism and grace made him a wonder to watch. Compatriot Mats Wilander once told Tennis that "In their prime, Borg and Edberg weren't just the best tennis players in Sweden, they were the best athletes in Sweden."

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. The honor prompted the mercurial McEnroe, who Edberg cites as one of his toughest opponents, to jokingly wonder: "Why wasn't I under consideration?"

In his conversation and camp demonstrations, the message Edberg imparts is clear: express your individuality on the court. Find your own style, recognize your own strengths and actively try to win the point rather than playing prevent defense in an effort not to lose the point.

His kindness cannot be mistaken as weakness: Edberg has not succumbed to peer pressure from some former fellow champions to join the senior tour. It's not that he doesn't love tennis ó in fact he freely admits he's played tennis two or three times a week nearly every week since he officially retired from the ATP Tour ó he's just no longer interested in riding the merry-go-round of an organized tour.

There's a purity to Edberg's approach that is refreshing and admirable: he clearly still loves to hit tennis balls and is happy to do just that without any pursuit of further fame or glory or accolades.

Asked early on in the camp if he will consider conducting it again next year, Edberg deadpans: "that depends on how nice you guys are to me." He knows what makes him happy ó spending as much time as he can with his family at home in Sweden ó and has little interest in turning his life into a road show.

The man who was always certain of his direction on the court ó moving forward and attacking the net ó is equally comfortable in pursuing his own path on his own terms. On the final day of the camp, Edberg sat down with Tennis Week ó or more precisely we stood in the corner of the court and spoke for this wide-ranging interview. Tennis Week: You're up for induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame this year and it seems very likely you and Steffi Graf, both great classy champions and both adidas players, will be inducted in a prestigious class of 2004 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Hall of Fame. What would that honor mean to you?

Stefan Edberg: It would be a great honor and something to be very proud of. So many players have told me so many great things about it and I've never actually been there so I would really look forward to going there and seeing it very much.

Tennis Week: Do you do many of these clinics or exhibitions now?

Stefan Edberg: I do very few things during the year. I've said that to myself since I stopped playing: "I'm not going to get on the senior tour." I do somewhere around four exhibitions a year, mostly I've done it in Sweden in small clubs. I've done it (a legends match against former foe Boris Becker) at Queen's Club this year. So that I will do. This is really the first time I've done something like this (a fantasy camp) here. I want to be restricted on what I do and you don't want to over do things. You can do it once in a while. It means a lot of traveling too. I'm quite happy being at home now after traveling around the world for so many years.

Tennis Week: Do you still spend a lot of time in London (Edberg formerly lived in London)?

Stefan Edberg: No, I don't. I live in Sweden now so I hardly spend any time in London. I moved back to Sweden in the year 2000.

Tennis Week: I frequently hear people say "serve and volley tennis is dead", but this year we saw Tim Henman win Paris, Taylor Dent win three tournament titles, Roger Federer, playing all-court tennis with a great volley, win Wimbledon and finish the year No. 2 and players like Mardy Fish come to the net. Do you think serve-and-volley tennis is going to come back?

Stefan Edberg: It probably eventually will at some stage. I think if you look at tennis over the last 40 to 50 years, I think it's gone in cycles where you have the cycle of the serve and volleyer and then the baseliner takes over. If you have everybody playing the same, then somebody comes up with some other goods they're going to be successful.

Tennis Week: Federer is so exciting to watch because his style is so different.

Stefan Edberg: Yes, that's right. He's got the goods now and he'll be the next one to take over and maybe more players will be like him and play a bit more aggressive.

Tennis Week: Federer has said in the past he liked your style. Do you see any of your stylistic influence in him or any other player?

Stefan Edberg: What I think is ó if you have to put some players in different categories ó I think you can put myself, Sampras and Federer in the same mold. We play ó not exactly the same ó but we do play similar. We all pretty much have got the goods. We sort of move well on the court and play similar with serve-and-volley. I was there. Maybe Sampras took over from me and now Federer will take over from Sampras.

Tennis Week: Of all the young players on the ATP Tour, who do you think has the ability to emerge as a long-term No. 1?

Stefan Edberg: I think Roddick has the ability, especially since he's working with Brad Gilbert as his coach, to stay near the top. I think Federer has the greatest game of all the young guys. It's a matter of if he wants to work hard enough and has enough motivation and has the mental discipline and if he does, then I think he has the game to stay at the top for years.

Tennis Week: Who do you like to watch play?

Stefan Edberg: I quite like the way Roger Federer is playing the game. He's playing some great tennis. He's got all the shots and I think he's going to be a great player going forward. If he can just get things right between the ears because that's sometimes the toughest part. But he's got the goods ó there's no question he's got the game. On the women's side, I like the way Justine Henin-Hardenne hits the one-handed backhand because that's becoming such a rare shot now.

Tennis Week: So many of the Swedes were and are baseliners. Who influenced you when you were growing up?

Stefan Edberg: It was definitely Borg with all his success. But I'm one of the very few (Swedes) that went my own way. I practiced a lot on my serve-and-volley when I was younger and sort of found my own style. I got in contact with (Edberg's long-time coach) Tony Pickard, so I had an English coach where everybody else had a Swedish coach and kind of played from the baseline. So I sort of took a different route and it was probably the right route to take. Because me as a baseliner, I wouldn't have had half the success. You've got to use your strength and what you're good at. I think that's important for people to find their game. You can always copy certain things, but you can't copy someone exactly ó that's impossible. You've got to find your strength and use your strength and you work really hard at your strength at the same time you work at your weaknesses. A lot of people think, "I have to work on my weakness." You can ask players: "What's your weakness?" and they can answer the question straightaway. But you ask: "What's your strength?" and they have to think about it.

Tennis Week: Because you have to know how you win points and what works for you?

Stefan Edberg: Yeah, what works for you. And that's something to do because if you work with your strengths, then your weak shots are going to get better automatically.

Tennis Week: I've heard you play squash fairly frequently now. I would imagine you're a very good squash player?

Stefan Edberg: Yes, I play squash. I enjoy it. I feel I'm getting a bit better as I play more.

Tennis Week: I spoke to Mats Wilander recently and he seems happy working as Sweden's Davis Cup captain. Would you ever consider any role with Sweden's Davis Cup team given your great success as a Davis Cup competitor (Edberg holds the record for most Davis Cup final appearances by a Swedish player with seven and his 13 years as a Davis Cup player ties him with Ove Bengston for most years played on Sweden's Davis Cup team)?

Stefan Edberg: I've been asked throughout the last couple of years and I spent a lot of time with (former Swedish Davis Cup captain) Carl-Axel (Hageskog) and we work together ó he's been there (with the Davis Cup team) 20 years ó and I know how much work it requires to be a Davis Cup captain. I would say it's full-time work, you know, spending 200 days a year with tennis. And I'm not prepared to do that ó that's too much tennis for me. If I'm going to do it, then I want to do it properly and put in a lot of time. And I feel like I don't want to spend 200 days of the year just traveling and working with tennis. I'm not quite ready for that yet. Maybe later on life, I might be ready for the challenge, but I doubt it to be honest. And I'm not sure whether I would even be a good Davis Cup captain (smiles). Because you've got to believe in yourself that you're actually going to do some good.

Tennis Week: Do you have any interest in ever playing senior tennis?

Stefan Edberg: Well, they've been trying for five years (to get me to play) and I don't hear much from them nowadays because they know what the answer is going to be. I really don't have the interest to go back because it would feel like going back on the tour again. I don't mind playing a few exhibitions a year when you play just one night or one match ó that's fine, I can do that. But to go away and play three or four matches over a week would be like picking up your old job again. And I'm not sure if I can do that mentally.

Tennis Week (question from Tennis Week contributing writer Brad Falkner): Speaking of endeavors, are you involved in any sort of business ventures not involving tennis?

Stefan Edberg: A little bit. I do some of the money management now myself a little bit. I'm involved in a Swedish company where I sit on the board and sort of look after other people's money. So that's where I have a little bit of interest today.

Tennis Week: You look so fit and so strong. I've been so impressed with the way you've played here. What do you do ó either in terms of tennis or fitness ó to stay in shape?

Stefan Edberg: I play tennis two or three times a week. I've done that since I've stopped (playing on the ATP Tour). I play some squash too ó once or twice a week ó so if you can do that three times a week on average throughout the year, you're gonna keep your fitness. It's obviously going to go down (as you age), but it's going to go down slowly.

Tennis Week: But you're already at such a high level it just brings you down a little closer to mortal level.

Stefan Edberg: Yeah, but the thing is I've kept myself in shape since I've retired. Because if you suddenly go from playing a lot and then you don't do anything, you're gonna slide down pretty quickly (Edberg holds his hand down near his waist to illustrate his point). And then it's so hard work to get back up (Edberg holds his hand up near his shoulder) so I decided I may as well keep working and then the body is going to be slower (to get out of shape).

Tennis Week (question from Tennis Week contributing writer Brad Falkner): I saw you play doubles once with Sampras in Cincinnati in '92. Was that just a one-time thing?

Stefan Edberg: We played a few times just to get some matches and just for a little bit of fun, but we never really played good doubles together (laughs).

Tennis Week (question from Tennis Week contributing writer Brad Falkner): I know. You guys got smoked!

Stefan Edberg: (laughs) Yeah, yeah, we did. I don't know, we just didn't fit each other, I guess. I don't know how much he cared, to be honest (laughs).

Tennis Week (question from Tennis Week contributing writer Brad Falkner): It seemed like you guys were both relaxed and joking about it a bit.

Stefan Edberg: Yeah. You know, we should be a good team, but we weren't (smiles).

Tennis Week: Who was the toughest opponent for you to play?

Stefan Edberg: Goran Ivanisevic was tough to play because it seemed like it was either an ace or a double fault and you really couldn't get a rhythm against him. It was tough to get into your game against him. There were many tough players. Agassi was tough because of his great returns. Playing other serve-and-volleyers could be tough as well.

Tennis Week: You were a serve-and-volleyer, but you weren't typically trying to win the point outright on serve. You were using the kick serve to set up your volley. What do you think about the impact of the big servers on tennis today?

Stefan Edberg: I think a big serve is a big key in men's tennis today. You almost need to have a big serve today. It was usually like that with my game. If I served well, then usually everything else was coming together well. If you knew you were going to hold serve nine times out of ten then it was a big advantage. And that's maybe one of the big differences between men's and women's tennis because the guys today serve really, really hard and win a lot of free points that way. Sometimes, it's not the greatest tennis to watch, but it's very, very effective.

12-08-2003, 11:35 PM
Is this going to be in the next issue? If so, I'll just wait to read it then - I'm feeling very lazy right now.

Btw, I just loved Kimmy's interview in the November issue. Very cute. :)

12-08-2003, 11:39 PM
Interesting interview. Edberg is the reason I started watching tennis, I loved his game.

12-08-2003, 11:45 PM
:kiss: :kiss: :kiss:

That was simply fabulous, Bunk!!

Gosh. I would have paind $775 for that. Martina and Stefan. wow.

12-08-2003, 11:57 PM
:kiss: :kiss: :kiss:

That was simply fabulous, Bunk!!

If it makes you feel special, I thought of you when I saw the interview and that's why I posted it here :hug:

12-09-2003, 12:00 AM
great interview bunk

J. Corwin
12-09-2003, 12:25 AM
Thank ya Deb. Nice read!

12-09-2003, 12:25 AM
ya welcome :)

12-09-2003, 12:26 AM
If it makes you feel special, I thought of you when I saw the interview and that's why I posted it here :hug:

awwwwww That does make me feel special!

12-09-2003, 12:27 AM
Interesting interview. Edberg is the reason I started watching tennis, I loved his game.

You must have smiled to see what he had to say about Federer.

12-09-2003, 12:28 AM
awwwwww That does make me feel special!

:bounce: :)

12-09-2003, 02:03 AM
You must have smiled to see what he had to say about Federer.

Yep, their style of game is pretty similar. Not really relying on brute power but the huge talent they both have.
The single handed backhands, the well placed serves, those great volleys......players like these two only come around once a generation.

Even Pete who I am a fan of, was not as pleasing to watch and relied far more on power then Federer & Edberg

12-09-2003, 02:09 AM
Pete was more like Becker.
Ive never seen Edberg in his prime.

12-09-2003, 02:14 AM
Neither have I, only started watching tennis in 1993 when I was 11

12-09-2003, 02:26 AM
To me Edberg was a lot different than Federer although both are elegant players.

Edberg was very very strong. His legs were magnificent. John McEnroe used to just go gaga in the announcer's booth.

To me he was much more a pure serve and volley player than is Federer.

12-09-2003, 08:00 AM
Edberg loves Roger man, Stich and Edberg praise Rogi in one week. How good can it get? :worship:

12-09-2003, 04:23 PM
thanx Bunk, Edberg was the one who really got me hooked onto the ATP, i used to watch before too, like Connors, McEnroe, Lendl etc but Stefan was my fav and still is.
Edberg and McEnroe (later Rafter) were pretty similar, i dont agree that Pete and Roger were like him, they dont play S & V all time, both on 1st and 2nd even on clay.

Action Jackson
12-10-2003, 08:26 AM
Edberg in his prime was magnificent and his playing style made a great contrast with his contemporaries Lendl, Becker, Wilander and to an extent Agassi.

He was magnificent even in spite of that forehand. There was this guy who did everything he could to be Edberg, even to the extent of copying his forehand. Everything else I can understand for sure, but copying the forehand hmm.

Action Jackson
12-01-2005, 04:11 PM
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.

Action Jackson
12-01-2005, 04:11 PM
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.

Action Jackson
12-01-2005, 04:12 PM
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.

Action Jackson
12-01-2005, 04:16 PM
Here is a pic with Stefan and the 2 other great Swedes.

12-01-2005, 05:17 PM
I Love Edberg,
i started watching tennis because of him!!!!!

12-01-2005, 05:35 PM
Thanks for the article George :wavey: :)

12-01-2005, 06:39 PM
What happened to the new generation of Swedish players.

There was Borg, Wilander and Edberg (all winning 6 or more grand slams) plus numerous other quality players from 1974 to 1992. Since 1992 only Johansson has won a grand slam.

12-01-2005, 06:41 PM
To me Edberg was a lot different than Federer although both are elegant players.

Edberg was very very strong. His legs were magnificent. John McEnroe used to just go gaga in the announcer's booth.

To me he was much more a pure serve and volley player than is Federer.

I think Edberg had the most powerful legs on tour at the time.

12-01-2005, 09:17 PM
thanks guys for the interview ,actually Edberg was my first favorite player..he's one of the main reasons i loved the game.. :) such a respected character.. :hatoff:
also interesting he expected Federer's success..

Doris Loeffel
12-01-2005, 10:00 PM
Thanks GWH
Edberg was one of my first faves too!! So it's nice to hear from him once in a while.

Action Jackson
12-02-2005, 01:37 AM
What happened to the new generation of Swedish players.

There was Borg, Wilander and Edberg (all winning 6 or more grand slams) plus numerous other quality players from 1974 to 1992. Since 1992 only Johansson has won a grand slam.

Heaps of things happened and it would take too long to explain all of them, but just the next generation aren't that good is the simple version.

12-02-2005, 02:31 AM
Thanks for the interview George. Edberg was one of my first favourites in the early 90's.

12-02-2005, 02:33 AM
What happened to the new generation of Swedish players.

There was Borg, Wilander and Edberg (all winning 6 or more grand slams) plus numerous other quality players from 1974 to 1992. Since 1992 only Johansson has won a grand slam.

The benchmark is extremely high. I think they hold 24 slams between them, that is unlikely to be surpassed any time soon.

Action Jackson
12-02-2005, 02:35 AM
The benchmark is extremely high. I think they hold 24 slams between them, that is unlikely to be surpassed any time soon.

I am actually working on a translation project about this subject, it will take a long time to do it, though less if I was more diligent.

12-02-2005, 04:36 AM
It was quite awesome that Wilander and Edberg followed Borg. Normally, you would expect tennis to become quite popular and get many people involved but the Swedish tennis in the 80's exhibits much more than that. Good luck in your project. :wavey:

Action Jackson
12-03-2005, 05:30 AM
It was quite awesome that Wilander and Edberg followed Borg. Normally, you would expect tennis to become quite popular and get many people involved but the Swedish tennis in the 80's exhibits much more than that. Good luck in your project. :wavey:

Well they had a huge generation up until 1989, then from there obviously it has died down, due to the cyclical nature of sport and other factors as well. I mean Edberg left his own legacy.

I will let you know when the project is done.