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Mats_Wilander

Mats Wilander

Mats Wilander (born August 22 1964, in Växjö, Sweden) is a former World No. 1 tennis player from Sweden. From 1982 through 1988, he won seven Grand Slam singles titles (three at the French Open, three at the Australian Open, and one at the U.S. Open), and one Grand Slam men's doubles title (at Wimbledon). He won three of the four Grand Slam singles events in 1988 and finished that year ranked World No. 1. Although he never won the singles title at Wimbledon, Wilander twice won the Australian Open when that tournament was still played on grass courts. This makes Wilander one of only three men (along with Jimmy Connors and Andre Agassi) to have won Grand Slam singles titles on grass, hard, and clay courts.

Career

Wilander won 33 singles titles and seven doubles titles during his career. He was also a driving force behind Sweden's run of seven consecutive Davis Cup finals in the 1980s.

In 2002, Wilander was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Juniors

Born in Växjö, Sweden, Wilander first came to the tennis world's attention when he won the French Open junior title, the European under-16 and under-18 championships, and the Orange Bowl under-16 event in Miami.

1982-1988

Wilander made his debut on the professional tour at the clay court tournament in Båstad, Sweden in 1980. In September 1981, he lost his only career match against Björn Borg, losing in the first round of the tournament in Geneva 6–1, 6–1.

Wilander surprised the tennis world at the French Open in 1982. As an unseeded player, he upset second seeded Ivan Lendl in the fourth round, fifth seeded Vitas Gerulaitis in the quarterfinals, fourth seeded Jose Luis Clerc in the semifinals, and third seeded Guillermo Vilas in the final 1–6, 7–6, 6–0, 6–4 in 4 hours and 42 minutes. He was the youngest-ever male Grand Slam singles champion at 17 years, 9 months. (This record has since been broken by Boris Becker and Michael Chang.) Wilander then lost in the fourth round at both Wimbledon (to Brian Teacher) and the U.S. Open (to Lendl). Wilander won three additional tournaments in 1982 and finished the year ranked seventh in the world. During that year, Wilander was also the winner of the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal.

Wilander returned to the French Open final in 1983, where he lost to Yannick Noah after defeating John McEnroe in a quarterfinal. He lost in the third round at Wimbledon to Roscoe Tanner and in the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open to Lendl. Wilander won his second Grand Slam title later that year at the Australian Open, played on grass at Kooyong, where he defeated McEnroe in a semifinal and Lendl in the final. He won nine other tournaments in 1983, including his first hard court title (Cincinnati), and finished the year ranked fourth in the world.

Wilander retained his Australian Open title in 1984, beating Stefan Edberg in the quarterfinals and Kevin Curren in the final. He lost in the semifinals of the French Open to Lendl, the second round at Wimbledon to Pat Cash, and the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open to Cash. He won three tournaments in 1984 and again finished the year ranked fourth in the world.

In 1985, Wilander won the French Open for the second time, beating Lendl in the final, and again reached the Australian Open final, where he lost to Edberg. However, he lost in the first round at Wimbledon to Slobodan Zivojinovic and the semifinals of the U.S. Open to McEnroe. He won three tournaments in 1985 and finished the year ranked third in the world.

Wilander rose to the World No. 2 ranking, behind Lendl, on April 28, 1986. He then lost in the third round of the French Open to Andrei Chesnokov, the fourth round of Wimbledon to Cash, and the fourth round of the U.S. Open to Miloslav Mečíř. His consistency at other tournaments, however, allowed him to again finish the year ranked third in the world. Wilander partnered with countryman Joakim Nyström to win the men's doubles title at Wimbledon in 1986.

Wilander was defeated by Lendl in the final of both the French Open and the U.S. Open in 1987. Cash again proved to be Wilander's nemesis at Wimbledon, winning their quarterfinal match in straight sets. Wilander won five tournaments in 1987 and finished the year ranked third in the world for the third consecutive year.

1988 was the pinnacle of Wilander's career. In January, he won his third Australian Open singles title, this time on Melbourne Park's hardcourts, defeating Edberg in a five-set semifinal and home town favourite Cash in a five-set final. In doing so, he became the only player to win the Australian Open on both grass (twice) and hardcourt. Wilander faced another home crowd favourite, Henri Leconte, in the final of the French Open. Wilander won in straight sets, missing one first serve the entire match. At Wimbledon, Wilander reached the quarterfinals where he lost to Mečíř. At the U.S. Open, he reached his third Grand Slam final of the year. In a repeat match-up of the previous year's final, he defeated Lendl in five sets (in close to 5 hours) and ended Lendl's three-year reign at the top of the world rankings. This was Wilander's seventh Grand Slam singles title and resulted in his receiving the World No. 1 ATP ranking, having won three of the year's Grand Slams, two Mercedes Super 9 titles (Key Biscane and Cincinnati), and one other title (Palermo). He held the No. 1 ranking for a total of 20 weeks until Lendl reclaimed it at the end of January 1989.

His 1988 title at Cincinnati was his fourth there, making him one of only three players since 1899 to win four titles in Cincinnati. The other two are fellow International Hall of Famers Bobby Riggs (who won in 1936, 1937, 1938, and 1940) and George Lott (who won in 1924, 1925, 1927, and 1932).

1989-1996

Wilander's motivation, results, and ranking suffered in 1989. He lost in the second round of the Australian Open to Ramesh Krishnan, the quarterfinals of the French Open to Andrei Chesnokov, the quarterfinals of Wimbledon to John McEnroe (7–6, 3–6, 6–3, 6–4), and the second round of the U.S. Open to Pete Sampras (5–7, 6–3, 1–6, 6–1, 6–4). He did not win a tournament during 1989 and he finished the year ranked twelfth in the ATP ranking.

Wilander briefly moved back into the top 10 rankings on February 12, 1990, but by the end of the year, his ranking had slumped to 41st. He defeated Boris Becker in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, only to lose to Stefan Edberg in straight sets in the semifinals. He skipped the French Open and Wimbledon and lost in the first round of the U.S. Open to Brad Gilbert.

Wilander played only the first half of 1991. He lost in the fourth round of the Australian Open and the second round of the French Open. He finished the year ranked 159th in the world.

Wilander was absent from the tour in 1992. He played seven tournaments in 1993, losing in the first round of five of them. At the U.S. Open, he lost in the third round to Cédric Pioline. He finished the year ranked 330th in the world.

Except for Wimbledon, Wilander played a full schedule in 1994. He lost in the fourth round of the Australian Open to Malivai Washington, the first round of the French Open to Andre Agassi (6–2, 7–5, 6–1), and the first round of the U.S. Open to Guy Forget. His only victory over a top ten player was in the second round of the tournament in Indianapolis against Todd Martin. He finished the year ranked 129th in the world.

Wilander's results improved slightly in 1995 as he finished the year ranked 46th in the world. After losing in the first round of the Australian Open to Jacco Eltingh, he lost in the second round of the French Open to eighth ranked Wayne Ferreira 6–7(5), 7–6(1), 6–3, 6–7(4), 8–6. He then lost in the third round of Wimbledon to Eltingh and the second round of the U.S. Open to Martin. In other tournaments, he had wins against tenth ranked Marc Rosset, eight ranked Ferreira, and sixth ranked Yevgeny Kafelnikov. He also won his final tour match against Edberg, in the second round of the Canadian Open in Montreal.

In 1996, Wilander played only one Grand Slam tournament, losing in the second round of the French Open to Martin. He retired from the tour after losing his final match to Martin Damm in Beijing in October.

During most of his career, Wilander used the Rossignol F-200 tennis racquet, an early graphite model.

Davis Cup

Wilander was an integral member of Sweden's highly-successful Davis Cup team throughout the 1980s.

He reached his first final with Sweden in 1983, which they lost 3–2 to Australia (despite Wilander winning both his singles rubbers in the final). In 1984, Sweden (with Wilander) won the cup, beating the United States 4–1 in the final. Sweden retained the cup in 1985, with a 3–2 final victory over West Germany. Wilander helped Sweden reach the final again in 1986 but declined to play in the final because he was getting married (Sweden lost 3–2 to Australia). Wilander played in his fourth final in 1987, where Sweden beat India 5–0. Two more finals followed in 1988 and 1989, but Sweden lost both to West Germany. Wilander last played in Davis Cup in the 1995 semifinals, where he lost to Andre Agassi 7–6(5), 6–2, 6–2 and Pete Sampras 2–6, 7–6(4), 6–3.

Wilander compiled a 36–16 record in singles and a 7–2 record in doubles in the Davis Cup for Sweden. However, Wilander's most memorable Davis Cup match came in defeat. In a July 1982 quarterfinal tie against the United States on carpet in St. Louis, Wilander was defeated in the deciding fifth rubber by John McEnroe 9–7, 6–2, 15-17, 3–6, 8–6. At 6 hours and 32 minutes, it remains the longest match in Davis Cup history.

Private life

Wilander now spends much of this time living in Hailey, Idaho (part of the Sun Valley ski resort) with his wife Sonja (née Mulholland), a South African-born model. He competes from time-to-time on the senior tour. Since retiring as a player, he has served as captain of the Swedish Davis Cup team and as coach of the Russian player Marat Safin. He also occasionally spends time commentating tennis matches on Eurosport.

Wilander has four children named Emma, Karl, Erik, and Oscar. His son Erik suffers from a comparatively mild form of Epidermolysis Bullosa, and Wilander and his wife have worked to raise funds for research into cures for the disease.

Wilander created a minor controversy during the 2006 French Open when he criticized several top players, including Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters, as lacking the competitive edge to beat their toughest rivals. After Federer's 1–6, 6–1, 6–4, 7–6 loss to Nadal in the final, Wilander said that "Federer, today, unfortunately came out with no balls...you don't find too many champions in any sport in the world without heart or balls. He might have them, but against Nadal they shrink to a very small size and it's not once, it's every time.

In the aftermath of these comments, fans coined the neologism "Wilanders" as a humorous synonym for "balls," denoting a competitive spirit and tenacity to win.

He began coaching Tatiana Golovin in July 2007. After working with Golovin in the later part of 2007, Wilander began coaching Paul-Henri Mathieu.

Grand Slam singles finals

Wins (7)

Year Championship Surface Opponent in Final Score in Final
1982 French Open Clay Guillermo Vilas 1–6, 7–6, 6–0, 6–4
1983 Australian Open Grass Ivan Lendl 6–1, 6–4, 6–4
1984 Australian Open (2nd) Grass Kevin Curren 6–7, 6–4, 7–6, 6–2
1985 French Open (2nd) Clay Ivan Lendl 3–6, 6–4, 6–2, 6–2
1988 Australian Open (3rd) Hard Pat Cash 6–3, 6–7, 3–6, 6–1, 8–6
1988 French Open (3rd) Clay Henri Leconte 7–5, 6–2, 6–1
1988 U.S. Open Hard Ivan Lendl 6–4, 4–6, 6–3, 5–7, 6–4

Runner-ups (4)

Year Championship Surface Opponent in Final Score in Final
1983 French Open Clay Yannick Noah 6–2, 7–5, 7–6
1985 Australian Open Grass Stefan Edberg 6–4, 6–3, 6–3
1987 French Open (2nd) Clay Ivan Lendl 7–5, 6–2, 3–6, 7–6
1987 U.S. Open Hard Ivan Lendl 6–7, 6–0, 7–6, 6–4

Singles titles

Legend
Grand Slam (7)
Masters (Tennis Masters Cup) (0)
Grand Prix (26)
Titles by Surface
Hard (9)
Clay (20)
Grass (2)
Carpet (2)

No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score
1. 6 June, 1982 French Open, Paris, France Clay Guillermo Vilas 1–6, 7–6, 6–0, 6–4
2. 18 July, 1982 Båstad, Sweden Clay Henrik Sundström 6–4, 6–4
3. 26 September, 1982 Geneva, Switzerland Clay Tomáš Šmíd 7–5, 4–6, 6–4
4. 10 October, 1982 Barcelona, Spain Clay Guillermo Vilas 6–3, 6–4, 6–3
5. 28 March, 1983 Monte Carlo, Monaco Clay Mel Purcell 6–1, 6–2, 6–3
6. 10 April, 1983 Lisbon, Portugal Clay Yannick Noah 2–6, 7–6, 6–4
7. 11 April, 1983 Aix-en-Provence, France Clay Sergio Casal 6–3, 6–2
8. 18 July, 1983 Båstad, Sweden Clay Anders Järryd 6–1, 6–2
9. 21 August, 1983 Cincinnati, U.S. Hard John McEnroe 6–4, 6–4
10. 25 September, 1983 Geneva, Switzerland Clay Henrik Sundström 3–6, 6–1, 6–3
11. 9 October, 1983 Barcelona, Spain Clay Guillermo Vilas 6–0, 6–3, 6–1
12. 6 November, 1983 Stockholm, Sweden Hard (I) Tomáš Šmíd 6–1, 7–5
13. 19 October, 1983 Australian Open, Melbourne, Australia Grass Ivan Lendl 6–1, 6–4, 6–4
14. 26 August, 1984 Cincinnati, USA Hard Anders Järryd 7–6, 6–3
15. 7 October, 1984 Barcelona, Spain Clay Joakim Nyström 7–6, 6–4, 6–2
16. 9 December, 1984 Australian Open, Melbourne, Australia Grass Kevin Curren 6–7, 6–4, 7–6, 6–2
17. 9 June, 1985 French Open, Paris, France Clay Ivan Lendl 3–6, 6–4, 6–2, 6–2
18. 14 July, 1985 Boston, USA Clay Martin Jaite 6–2, 6–4
19. 21 July 1985 Båstad, Sweden Clay Stefan Edberg 6–1, 6–0
20. 23 March, 1986 Brussels, Belgium Carpet (I) Broderick Dyke 6–2, 6–3
21. 24 August, 1986 Cincinnati, USA Hard Jimmy Connors 6–4, 6–1
22. 29 March, 1987 Brussels, Belgium Carpet (I) John McEnroe 6–3 6–4
23. 26 April, 1987 Monte Carlo, Monaco Clay Jimmy Arias 4–6, 7–5, 6–1, 6–3
24. 17 May, 1987 Rome, Italy Clay Martin Jaite 6–3, 6–4, 6–4
25. 12 July, 1987 Boston, USA Clay Kent Carlsson 7–6, 6–1
26. 19 July, 1987 Indianapolis, USA Clay Kent Carlsson 7–5, 6–3
27. 24 January, 1988 Australian Open, Melbourne, Australia Hard Pat Cash 6–3, 6–7, 3–6, 6–1, 8–6
28. 27 March, 1988 Key Biscayne, USA Hard Jimmy Connors 6–4, 4–6, 6–4, 6–4
29. 5 June, 1988 French Open, Paris, France Clay Henri Leconte 7–5, 6–2, 6–1
30. 21 August, 1988 Cincinnati, USA Hard Stefan Edberg 3–6, 7–6, 7–6
31. 11 September, 1988 U.S. Open, New York, USA Hard Ivan Lendl 6–4, 4–6, 6–3, 5–7, 6–4
32. 6 March, 1988 Palermo, Italy Clay Kent Carlsson 6–1, 3–6, 6–4
33. 11 November, 1990 Itaparica, Brazil Hard Marcelo Filippini 6–1, 6–2

Grand Slam singles tournament timeline

Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 Career SR Career Win-Loss
Australian Open A 1R A W W F NH A W 2R SF 4R A A 4R 1R A 3 / 10 36-7
French Open A A W F SF W 3R F W QF A 2R A A 1R 2R 2R 3 / 12 47-9
Wimbledon A 3R 4R 3R 2R 1R 4R QF QF QF A A A A A 3R A 0 / 10 25-10
U.S. Open A A 4R QF QF SF 4R F W 2R 1R A A 3R 1R 2R A 1 / 12 36-11
Grand Slam Win-Loss 0–0 2–2 13-2 18-3 16-3 17-3 8–3 16-3 25-1 10-4 5–2 4–2 0–0 2–1 3–3 4–4 1–1 N/A 144-37
Grand Slam SR 0 / 0 0 / 2 1 / 3 1 / 4 1 / 4 1 / 4 0 / 3 0 / 3 3 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 0 0 / 1 0 / 3 0 / 4 0 / 1 7 / 44 N/A

NH = tournament not held

A = did not participate in the tournament

SR = the ratio of the number of Grand Slam singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played

Masters Series tournament timeline

Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 Career SR
Indian Wells Masters A A A A A A A SF A A 1R A A A 2R 2R 1R 0 / 5
Miami Masters A A A A A 4R F QF W 3R A A A A 1R QF 1R 1 / 8
Monte Carlo Masters A A A W F F SF W 2R SF A 2R A A A A A 2 / 8
Rome Masters A A SF A 2R SF SF W 3R 3R A 1R A A A 1R A 1 / 9
Canada Masters A A 3R 2R A A A A A A A A A A A SF A 0 / 3
Cincinnati Masters A A A W W F W 3R W SF 2R A A A 1R 1R A 4 / 10
Paris Masters A A A A A A A A A 1R 1R A A A A A A 0 / 2
Tennis Masters Cup A A 1R SF SF SF SF F RR A A A A A A A A 0 / 7
SR 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 3 2 / 4 1 / 4 0 / 5 1 / 5 2 / 6 2 / 5 0 / 5 0 / 3 0 / 2 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 3 0 / 5 0 / 2 8 / 52
Note: ''These events were designated as the 'Masters Series' only after the ATP took over the running of the men's tour in 1990.

A = did not participate in the tournament

SR = the ratio of the number of Masters Series singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played

See also

References

External links

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