The tennisplayer Stefan Edberg is nowadays a legend in his sport. I met him
myself in France in 1987. I was 8 years old. He and the other members of the
Swedish Daviscup team were playing the Daviscup against France. However, before
the training I met them in the lobby of their hotel in Frjus. My father knew
the Swedish captain of the team so we could watch them training.After that
Stefan has been one of my idols. I play tennis a lot myself. But now to the
story about Stefan Edberg.
Saw the ad
His career started when the local paper in Vstervik ( the town where he was
born ) had an advertisement about mini-tennis in the early 70s. It said Day of
tennis.Luckily his mother Barbro read the article and liked it. The day after
she sent her son to the tennis-school for beginners. At that time she didn’t
know how important this initiative would be to Stefan, to Swedish tennis and
even to the world tennis. An incredible athletic career had seen the morning
Was convinced to continue
The seven year old Stefan struck his first hits at the tennis school in the
sommer of 1973. To start with he played once a week. He liked his new sport
but was close to quitting after the first term. -My friend wanted to quit,and so
did I. But my trainer convinced me to continue, Stefan says with a smile on his
face. The young Edberg soon became taken by the sport. Soon he played matches
with the boys’ team, and outside his home he played fantasy Davis Cup-matches. In
the sommer holidays he almost lived at the tennis court. At the age of ten he
stopped playing his two other sports, football and icehockey, and concentrated
everything on tennis. Soon he won his first tournament, Ostkustensprla, a
very memorable victory for him.
Star even in school
But a couple of years went by before he dared to go in for tennis full time.
He was in the ninth grade as took the big step and gave tennis the big chance.
-I felt I had a serious chance of becoming a worldplayer. Because I had
just won JEM and taken a set on Mats Wilander who was a professional player,
Stefan says. But it couldn’t have been an easy choice, because Stefan was
also a very good student with an average about 4,3 after the ninth grade.
He was better than all the others!!!
The trainers at the club where he was training, Westerviks TK, quickly realized
what a big talent this boy was. Just after a couple of years, they noticed that
his way of playing tennis was different from all the great Swedes who played at
that time, for an example Bjrn Borg. Stefan attacked the net, as quickly as
possible,unlike the baseline players of that time. -I’ve never liked long rallys,
but I’ve always had a good serve. I also grew tall pretty early so it fitted me
well to go forward to the net.
His trainer encouraged him to continue to play his own game. ( I think that was
pretty good ) His biggest triumphs as a junior were JEM in Nice in 1980 and a
grandslam. ( Grandslam= To win all of the four biggest tournaments, Wimbledon,
French Open, U.S Open and Australian Open!!! )
During high-school in the early 80s Stefan got in touch with the famous trainer
Percy Rosberg, the person who had made Bjrn Borg a star. Stefan was free from
school once a week to go to Stockholm to train with Percy. One of the biggest
improvements Edberg made with Percy was his backhand which later became one of
the best in the world. When he left school his training hours increased by 100
percent from four to eight times a week.
Tony Pickard has been Stefan`s trainer for almost his entire career. They first
met in Bournemouth when Stefan was there to sign contracts with the racket-
manufacturer Wilson. Tony saw him playing and invited him to his house: A famous
trainer/adept couple was born. It lasted for ten years with great success.
Warned only once
During all his years at the top he always has behaved like a real gentleman,
both on the court and outside it. He was always proper and correct in his way of
acting. He has been warned only once. It happened in Dusseldorf, after a wrongly
judged ball when he hit the ball hard to the ground. The ball bounced out into
the audience and he was warned. Don’t forget that John McEnroe was lucky if he
wasn’t warned at all in a match.
The big drop came
For nine years in a row he constantly was among the top five ranked players in
the world. It was at the end of 1994 he slipped out of the top five. However,
it was last year when the big drop came and he ended the year as the number 23
on the ranking list. He explains it himself that it’s pretty hard to keep the
motivation for such a long time.
His golden years
During the years 1990-93 he had his undoubtfully best years. For two years in a
row he finished as number one on the ranking lists.
Never been drunk
In comparison to other top athletics, Stefan is living a comfortable family life.
He is married to Anette and has a little daughter, Emilie. He is seldom seen at
parties, and he’s very careful with alcohol. And he admits that he has never
Some facts about him
Born: 19th January 1966 in Vstervik Lives : London Family: The wife Anette, the
daughter Emile, 3 years old Height:188 cm Match weight: about 77 kg Highest
singles ranking: 1 Highest doubles ranking: 1 Prize money: 20,5 U.S dollar
Single titles: 41 Double titles: 18 Single finals: 76 Double finals: 29 Dc-
-singles: 35-14 ( won-lost )
List of references: Svensk Tennis nr. 11, Sport Expressen and my self.
Written by: Kristoffer Lindgren NV2D