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Bjorn Borg tennis profile

He was termed the ‘IceBorg’ for his ice-cool ability to handle pressure. His arrival on the Tennis stage made the sport immensely popular. The winning streak that he had accumulated in his displays in the French and Wimbledon tournaments made him legendary. Perhaps, after the music band ABBA, the next best thing to have come out of Sweden in the early 70s was Bjorn Borg. Born on June 6, 1956, in Stockholm, Borg was literally a gift to the Tennis world. When he had won a Ping Pong tournament, he was gifted a Tennis racquet by his father. That was the start of something sensational.

At a very young age, he was already making giant strides in the sport. At the age of 16, he was already part of the Davis Cup squad for Sweden where he had tremendous success. He was one of the few players to have adopted a different playing style in order to win one prestigious tournament. Borg, with his trademark headband and good looks, was the rockstar of the Tennis world. His contests with the likes of John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, and Ilie Nastase.

Borg was predominantly a baseline player, preferring long rallies and also playing on the patience of the opponent. But, in the middle, he had to change his style. His serve, which was his weakest asset in the game, had to undergo a lot of changes. The aspect of serve and volley was also added after months of rigorous training. The main reason for his change was to win Wimbledon. When he improved his service and the main factor of serve and volley was included, Borg became one of the best players on the circuit. 

At the age of 16, Borg’s first success in a major Tennis tournament came in 1972 when he won the Italian Open. But, in 1974, at the age of 18, Borg became one of the youngest winners of a Grand Slam when he won the French Open. That started a legendary streak where he established a level of dominance at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. 

After having won the French Open, the pinnacle of his success came in 1975. Borg won the French Open for the second consecutive time. But, it was his Davis Cup success that propelled him into international stardom. He had already won 19 consecutive matches as Sweden defeated Czechoslovakia 3-2 to win the Davis Cup.

After failing in grass in 1974 and 1975, Borg arrived in Wimbledon with plenty of practice on his serve and volley. The training had worked. Borg managed to win the tournament in dominating style without losing a set. In the final, he had beaten Nastase in straight sets to win his first Wimbledon title. 

The Wimbledon success followed a brilliant streak of wins from 1977 to 1981. In 1977, he won a second consecutive Wimbledon title after two epic five-set matches. He beat Vitas Gerulaitis but it was his five-set win against Jimmy Connors. Borg now did the double for three consecutive years, winning the French and Wimbledon tournaments. 

In 1978, he had a much more convincing win against Connors in the Wimbledon final, winning in three sets. After beating Roscoe Tanner in 1979 final, Borg was on the cusp of history in the Open Era. In 1980, he faced John McEnroe in the final. McEnroe won the first set 6-1 but Borg fought back to win 7-5, 6-3. The fourth set witnessed an epic 34-point tie-breaker. Borg was on the cusp of five match points and had to save six set points. But, McEnroe prevailed. The fifth set went down to the wire and he won 8-6 to win Wimbledon for the fifth straight time. 

After winning the French Open for the sixth time, Borg lost in the final to McEnroe in the Wimbledon final in 1981. At the age of 25, Borg had already won 11 titles and was on the cusp of breaking Roy Emerson’s tally of 12.

While his success on clay and grass was unprecedented, Borg struggled on hard courts. He visited Australia only once in 1974 and he lost in the third round. But, it was in the US Open where he suffered heartbreaks consistently. He lost four finals, two apiece to Connors and McEnroe. Overall, he had a 10-7 head-to-head record against Connors but he was tied 7-7 with McEnroe.

Borg held the world number one ranking for two years but after his loss to McEnroe in 1981, he was never the same again. In 1982, he retired at a very young age but played senior tennis. Borg was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987.

Grand Slam record

Australian Open: 3R (1974)

French Open: W (1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981)

Wimbledon: W (1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980)

US Open: F (1976, 1978, 1980, 1981)