“Bjorn Borg: The Undisputed Legend”
Born on 6th June, 1956, in Sodertalje, Sweden, Bjorn Borg was an improbable Wimbledon titlist whose playing style appeared more amenable to the relatively slower European clay courts. The tennis legend that sealed six French Open titles was a formidable force on both grass and clay courts alike. The Swede’s record 41 successive match winning streak which commenced after Borg’s defeat by Arthur Ashe in 1975in SW19 was ultimately terminated by the finals loss to John McEnroe in 1981. This extraordinary winning campaign witnessed “Ice Borg” clinch a phenomenal five consecutive titles after demolishing a formidable opposition that included IIie Nastase, Jimmy Connors, Roscoe Tanner and John McEnroe.
The brilliant Swede’s winning dash comes across as all the more striking considering the dazzling displays were produced amidst one of the games most illustrious eras, amidst a generation that swarmed with many a worthy contender for the ultimate tennis reward. Borg can deservingly claim to be the vanguard of a new generation of tennis players after conceiving the playing approach that most modern players have adopted to great advantage; a volley marked by considerable top-spin that very effectively hinders the rival’s ability to mount a counterattack. The Swedish wonders retirement at only 26 years of age after surrendering to John McEnroe in 1981 is just one of the many factors that contribute to his enduring legacy. Over his concise spell as a professional tennis player, Borg won an impressive 11 grand slam tournaments and put on a stunning show of five consecutive Wimbledon singles victories and four head-to-head French Open singles trophies. A master-class volleyer distinguished by his aggressive ground strokes, Borg was fittingly heralded “The Ice Man” of tennis owing to his perplexingly emotionless on-court demeanor that was in stark opposition to the behavior of his conspicuously temperamental contemporaries that included the likes of John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors.
It was Lennart Bergelin, an ex-Swedish Danish Cup participant, who first recognized the school-going Borg’s extraordinary potential; the young Swede possessed an astonishing speed that belied his tall and wiry frame. Borg’s boyish passion for tennis rapidly evolved into a career choice as he soon began to test his fortunes in international competitions after stamping authority at the local level. The teenage star proved he was a born tennis player after putting on a series of dazzling displays that saw him being selected as the youngest ever competitor in a Davis Cup squad. Such was Borg’s extraordinary skill that he managed to demolish crowd favorite Michel Orantes at the 1974 French Open aged just 18. In the coming years, he would go on to define an era at Roland Garros after repeating his 1974 French Open triumph again in 1975, and 1978, 79, 80 and 1981. After booking his first Wimbledon win in 1976, the Swede initiated the process which would see him cast an indelible mark on the grass courts of the All England Championship. He went on to win the Wimbledon titles of 1977, and 1978, 79 and 1980 before losing out to the temperamental newcomer John McEnroe in the 1981 epic.
In spite of his breath taking successes at tennis’s most prestigious events, Borg never quite made a mark at the Australian and the US Open where the American public showered him with adoration. In spite of the common belief that many features of the US Open Courts were apparently amenable to Borg’s style of the game, he was to lose the competition to Jimmy Connors in 1976 and 1978. The 1980 showdown saw him defeated once again by John McEnroe in a five set thriller, enabling the American to exact retribution for his defeat by the Swede at Wimbledon earlier that year. The extremely reserved Swede never quite opened up about his enigmatically early exit from professional competition, a goodbye he was perplexingly more than happy to make. Since his leave from the sport, the Swede has embarked on countless entrepreneurial adventures and remains a familiar face at the ATP’s Senior circuit.
Ditty, Witty. "Bjorn Borg: Tennis Player." BBC. 2 Nov 2001. Web. 5 June 2010.
"Wimbledon Legends: Bjorn Borg." BBC News. 31 May 2004. Web. 5 June 2010.