Today Stefan Edberg celebrates his 55th birthday. The Swede has captivated with his style and stylistic confidence.
The late 1970s, then the 1980s – what golden times those were for manufacturers of tennis clothing! The inclined fan could feast his eyes on his idols over a longer period of time. And he actually saw these stars in the same clothes over a longer period of time! Boris Becker in Puma, Martina Navratilova as well. Nike only really stepped up to the plate with Andre Agassi, but then at full speed. The Austrians followed Thomas Muster to Lotto. And then there was Adidas, where Ivan Lendl appeared one day with something quite unheard of on his left chest: his initials, depicted in geometric shapes.
This suited the image of Lendl, who was rather angular on the tennis court. To put it mildly. Quite the opposite of Stefan Edberg, who moved extremely smoothly (and quietly) around the court, mainly toward the net (which was good in that Edberg’s forehand was pretty average for a player of his class). Not that Adidas built Edberg up to counter Lendl, but the fact that the Swede also appeared with his initials on his jersey not long after the exiled Czech took the other side of the fan universe.
Edberg wins Wimbledon twice
Stefan Edberg, who celebrates his 55th birthday today, achieved something as a junior that was and remains unique: in 1983, he won all four Grand Slam tournaments, starting with the French Open, with the season concluding in Australia towards the end of the year. It was also there that Edberg won his first two of a total of six majors, in 1985 and 1987, both on grass.
In 1988 and 1990, he beat Boris Becker in the Wimbledon final, against whom he otherwise had a weak record (10:25, including several meetings in the Davis Cup). In 1989, Edberg had a great chance to win Roland Garros against Becker. But he lost the final to the amazing Michael Chang. Two US Open titles followed (1991 and 1992), and Edberg won a total of 18 tournaments.
The brilliance at the net also helped Edberg further at the net, with partner Anders Järryd he won two majors early in his career, and alongside Petr Korda he won the Australian Open again in 1996 to finish his career.
Return as Federer’s coach
After that, Stefan Edberg, who has long since returned to Sweden after many years in London, rarely stayed near the professional tennis scene. Until the call from Roger Federer reached him at the end of 2013. Edberg preached an even more offensive approach during his time as a super coach, but the two still failed to win a major title together. The 2015 Wimbledon final, in which Edberg met his old rival Becker again, is particularly memorable from their collaboration. The German had the better end for himself as coach of Novak Djokovic.
At the end of that tennis year, Federer and Edberg parted ways, on good terms, as became apparent a few years later, during Federer’s last Wimbledon victory to date: after the maestro’s eighth title, Stefan Edberg and his wife were among the first well-wishers. Today, the congratulations go in the opposite direction.