Bjorn Borg, also famously dubbed by who was most certainly a journalist, the 'rock star of tennis', is one of tennis' legends. Looking at the two pictures above, we can see why such appellation came into being. Greater than his looks are his achievements on the tennis court, arguably. Between 1974 and 1981 the legendary Borg became the first man in the Open Era to win 11 Grand Slam singles titles (six at the French Open and five consecutive at Wimbledon). Apart from his achievements on the grand slam stage, he also won three year-end championships and 15 Grand Prix Super Series titles. Throughout his short career he set numerous records that still stand. This article is a short biography of the legend from Sweden.
Björn Borg was born in Stockholm, Sweden, on 6 June 1956, as a single child. His passion was sparked by his fascination with a golden tennis racket that his father won from a table tennis contest, and ended up giving him. A player of precociously great athleticism and endurance, he had a distinctive playing style built on his ability to move around the court at great speed. On the shot-making front, his natural muscularity allowed him to put heavy topspin on both his forehand and two-handed backhand. He then decided to follow his idol - Jimmy Connors - in using the two-handed backhand. Despite the unconventionality of his strokes (which raised a lot of eyebrows in what must have been a very conservative society), by the time he was 13 he was beating the best of Sweden's under-18 players, and Davis Cup captain Lennart Bergelin (who would go on to serve as Borg's primary coach throughout his professional career) cautioned against anyone trying to change Borg's semi-western grip.
Borg caught the attention of tennis coach Percy Rosberg and thus begun his making of regular three-hour round-trip train rides to meet with the coach. He won his first tournament at age 11, and at 13 he won both the under-13 and under-14 age-group divisions of the Swedish National Junior Championships. Given the demonstration of such immense promise, he dropped out of school to devote himself to training tennis full time. Borg qualified for the Swedish Davis Cup team at the tender age of 15 and went on to won both of his first singles matches. After taking the 1972 Wimbledon juniors' crown, he officially declared himself professional.
Bjorn Borg shot to prominence with his distinct playing style of having a two-handed backhand and topspin-heavy ground strokes hit with the semi-western grip (most grips back then were used the continental way). He won his first professional tournament just days before his 18th birthday, but more impressively just two weeks afterwards he became the then-youngest winner of the French Open. In 1976, Borg defeated Ilie Nastase for the first of what would be a record of five consecutive Wimbledon championships (since tied by Roger Federer)! The last title in that unbroken chain came after an epic 1980 finals win over John McEnroe - a four-hour thriller which included a spectacular 34-point fourth-set tiebreaker (with parallels to but in our opinion greater than the 4th set of the Wimbledon 2008 final). That same year (1980) Borg won his fourth consecutive French Open title and also reached the finals of the U.S. Open, but he realized he was losing the desire to continue competing at a high level. In January 1983, he stunned the sporting world with a bomb of tragedy by announcing his retirement at age 26. His incredible records despite the brevity of his career makes us wonder what could have come out of a Borg who played just a few years more. With his five Wimbledon and six overall French Open crowns, Borg was so short of equaling Roy Emerson's then-record of 12 major championships. He had been the world number one for a total of 109 weeks between 1977 and 1981, and walked away with a record 33-game win streak in Davis Cup play intact.
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