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Björn Borg

[bawrg]

(born 6 June 1956) is a former World No. 1 tennis player from Sweden who is widely regarded by observers and tennis players as one of the greatest players in the sport's history. He won 11 Grand Slam singles titles between 1974 and 1981 (five at Wimbledon and six at the French Open).

Biography

Borg was born in Södertälje, Sweden. Before he was 21, Björn Rune Borg had registered feats that would set him apart as one of game's greats--and before he was 26, the golden-locked Swede was through. No male career of the modern era has been so brief and bright.

Tennis is filled with instances of precocious achievements and championships, but none is as impressive as those of Borg. Just before his 18th birthday Borg was the youngest winner of the Italian Championship, and two weeks later he was the youngest winner of the French Championship (a record lowered by Mats Wilander, 17, in 1982, and subsequently by Michael Chang, a younger 17 in 1989). Eighteen months later, at 19, he climaxed a Davis Cup record winning streak of 19 singles by lifting Sweden to the 1975 Cup for the first time in a 3-2 final-round victory over Czechoslovakia. His Cup singles streak of 33 was intact at his retirement, still a record.

During a nine-year career, Borg won 41 percent of the Grand Slam singles tournaments he entered (11 of 27) and 89.8 percent of the Grand Slam singles matches he played. Both are male open era records. In addition, Borg's six French Open singles titles is the all-time record for a male player.

Borg is the only player in the open era to have won both Wimbledon and the French Open in the same year more than once; he did so in three consecutive years. (In 2008 Rafael Nadal became the first player since Borg to win both titles in the same year.)

Career overview

As a child growing up in Södertälje, a town near Stockholm, Borg became fascinated with a golden tennis racquet that his father won at a table-tennis tournament. His father gave him the racquet, beginning one of the brightest careers in tennis history.

In 1972, at the age of 15, Borg became one of the youngest players ever to represent his country in the Davis Cup and won his debut singles rubber in five sets against seasoned professional Onny Parun of New Zealand. Later that year, he won the Wimbledon junior singles title.

In 1973, Borg reached the Wimbledon main draw quarterfinals in his first attempt.

In 1974, Borg won his first top-level singles title at the Italian Open. Two weeks later, he won his first Grand Slam title at the French Open, defeating Manuel Orantes in the final 2–6, 6–7, 6–0, 6–1, 6–1. Barely 18 at the time, Borg was the youngest-ever male French Open champion (the record has since been lowered by Mats Wilander in 1982 and Michael Chang in 1989).

In early 1975, Borg defeated Rod Laver, then 36 years old, in a semifinal of the World Championship Tennis (WCT) finals in Dallas, Texas 7–6, 3–6, 5–7, 7–5, 6–2. Borg then lost to Arthur Ashe in the final.

A player of great strength and endurance, he had a distinctive and unorthodox style and appearance, bowlegged, yet very fast. His muscular shoulders and well-developed torso gave him the strength to lash at the ball with heavy topspin on both forehand and backhand. He used a two-handed backhand, adapted from the slap shot in hockey, a game he favored as a child. By the time he was 13 he was beating the best of Sweden's under-18 players and Davis Cup captain Lennart Bergelin cautioned against anyone trying to change Borg's rough-looking, jerky strokes. They were effective. Through 1977 he had never lost to a player younger than himself.

Borg retained his French Open title in 1975, beating Guillermo Vilas in the final in straight sets. Borg then reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals, where he lost to eventual champion Ashe 2-6, 6-4, 8-6, 6-1. Borg did not lose another match at Wimbledon until 1981.

Borg won two singles and one doubles rubber in the 1975 Davis Cup final as Sweden beat Czechoslovakia 3–2. With these singles wins, Borg had won 19 consecutive Davis Cup singles rubbers since 1973. That was already a record at the time. But Borg never lost another Davis Cup singles rubber, and, by the end of his career, he had stretched that winning streak to 33--a Davis Cup record that still stands.

The only player who defeated Björn Borg at the French Open is the Italian Adriano Panatta. This happened twice – in the fourth round in 1973 (7–6, 2–6, 7–5, 7–6), and in quarter-finals in 1976 (6–3, 6–3, 2–6, 7–6).

Borg won Wimbledon in 1976 without losing a set, defeating the much-favoured Ilie Năstase in the final. Borg became the youngest male Wimbledon champion of the modern era at 20 years and 1 month (a record subsequently broken by Boris Becker, who won Wimbledon aged 17 in 1985). Some speculate that Borg's surviving the first week of Wimbledon, when the courts were slick and fast, was the key to his success. This might have been due to the unusually hot conditions that summer. The courts played slower in the second week, which suited Borg's baseline game. Borg also reached the final of the 1976 US Open, which was then being played on clay courts. Borg lost in four sets to World No. 1 Jimmy Connors.

Borg missed the French Open in 1977 because he was under contract with WTT, but he repeated his Wimbledon triumph, although this time he was pushed much harder. He defeated his good friend Vitas Gerulaitis in a semifinal 6–4, 3–6, 6–3, 3–6, 8–6. In the final, Borg was pushed to five sets for the third time in the tournament, this time by Connors. The win propelled Borg to the #1 ranking on the computer, albeit for just one week in August.

Borg was at the height of his career from 1978 through 1980, winning the French Open and Wimbledon all three years.

In 1978, Borg won straight-set finals over Vilas at the French Open and Connors at Wimbledon but was defeated in straight sets by Connors in the final of the US Open, now held on hard courts in Flushing Meadow, New York. That autumn, Borg faced John McEnroe for the first time in a semifinal of the Stockholm Open and was upset 6–3, 6–4. Borg did not drop a set at the 1978 French Open, a feat only he, Năstase, and Rafael Nadal have accomplished during the open era.

Borg lost to McEnroe again in four sets in the final of the 1979 WCT Finals but was now overtaking Connors for the top ranking. Borg established himself firmly in the top spot with his fourth French Open singles title and fourth straight Wimbledon singles title, defeating Connors in a straight-set semifinal at the latter tournament. At the French Open, Borg defeated big-serving Victor Pecci in a four-set final, and at Wimbledon, Borg took five sets to overcome an even bigger server, Roscoe Tanner. Borg was upset by Tanner at the US Open, in a four-set quarterfinal played under the lights.

At the season-ending Masters tournament in January 1980, Borg survived a close semifinal against McEnroe 6–3, 6–7, 7–6(3). He then beat Gerulaitis in straight sets, winning his first Masters and first title in New York. In June, he overcame Gerulaitis, again in straight sets, for his fifth French Open title. Again, he did not drop a set.

Borg won his fifth consecutive Wimbledon singles title in 1980 by defeating McEnroe in a five-set match, often cited as the best Wimbledon final ever played. In the fourth-set tiebreak, McEnroe saved five match points and Borg six set points before McEnroe won the set. Borg then won 19 straight points on serve in the deciding set and prevailed after 3 hours, 53 minutes. Borg himself commented years later that this was the first time that he was afraid that he would lose, as well as feeling that it was the beginning of the end of his dominance.

Borg lost to McEnroe in another five-set final, this one lasting 4 hours and 13 minutes, at the 1980 US Open. He then defeated McEnroe in the final of the Stockholm Open, 6–3, 6–4, and faced him one more time that year, in the round-robin portion of the year-end Masters, played in January 1981. With 19,103 fans in attendance, Borg won a deciding third-set tie-break for the second year in a row, 6–4, 6–7, 7–6(3). Borg then defeated Ivan Lendl for his second Masters title, 6–4, 6–2, 6–2.

Borg won his last Grand Slam title at the French Open in 1981, defeating Lendl in a five-set final. Borg's six French Open singles titles remains a record for a male player.

In reaching the Wimbledon final in 1981, Borg stretched his winning streak at the All England Club to a record 41 matches. In a semifinal, Borg was down to Connors by two sets to none before coming back to win the match 0–6, 4–6, 6–3, 6–0, 6–4. However, Borg's streak was brought to an end by McEnroe, who defeated him in four sets.

Borg went on to lose to McEnroe at the 1981 US Open. After that defeat, Borg walked off court and out of the stadium before the ceremonies and press conference had begun. Borg said that his consecutive losses to McEnroe at Wimbledon and the US Open had confirmed that he was no longer the World No. 1 tennis player and that he did not want to be World No. 2. It would turn out to be the Swede's last Grand Slam final. By the end of 1981, Borg was on the verge of break-down.

In 1982, Borg played only one tournament, losing to Yannick Noah in the quarterfinals of Monte Carlo. Nevertheless, Borg's announcement in January 1983 that he was retiring from the game at the age of 26 was a shock to the tennis world. McEnroe tried unsuccessfully to persuade Borg to continue.

Retirement

After he retired, Borg's marriage to the tennis player Mariana Simionescu ended in divorce, he fathered a child by another woman, and he was briefly married to the Italian singer Loredana Bertè. There were rumors of a drug overdose and an attempted suicide, both of which Borg denies, and he narrowly averted personal bankruptcy.

He later bounced back as the owner of the Björn Borg fashion label, whose most noted advertising campaigns asked Swedes (from the pages of a leading national newspaper) to "Fuck for the Future." His label has since become second only to Calvin Klein in his home country.

Attempted comeback

In the early-1990s, Borg attempted a comeback on the men's professional tennis tour. This time around, however, he was completely unsuccessful. Playing with his old wooden rackets in an attempt to regain his once-indomitable touch, he lost his first comeback match in 1991 to Jordi Arrese at the Monte Carlo Open. A series of first-round losses to low-ranked players followed over the next two years. The closest he came to winning a match was in 1993 in Moscow, when he pushed Alexander Volkov to three sets and lost a final set tiebreaker 9–7. After that match, he retired from the tour for good and confined himself to playing on the senior tour, with modern rackets, where he renewed his old rivalries with John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, and Guillermo Vilas.

Memorabilia preserved

In March 2006, Bonhams Auction House in London announced that it would auction Borg's Wimbledon trophies and two of his winning rackets on June 21, 2006. Several players then called Borg wondering what he was thinking, but only McEnroe was able to make Borg reconsider. According to Dagens Nyheter – who had talked to Borg – McEnroe called from New York and asked, "What's up? Have you gone mad? The conversation apparently persuaded Borg to buy out the trophies from Bonhams at an undisclosed amount.

Distinctions and honors

Place among the all-time greats

With 11 titles, Borg ranks fourth in the list of male tennis players who have won the most Grand Slam singles titles behind Pete Sampras (14), Roger Federer (13), and Roy Emerson (12). Among his other achievements are a record 89.8 Grand Slam match winning percentage (141–16) and a male open era record 41 winning percentage for Grand Slam tournaments played (11 of 27). The French Open-Wimbledon double he achieved three times consecutively was called by Wimbledon officials "the most difficult double in tennis and "a feat considered impossible among today's players. Only Rafael Nadal has managed to achieve this double since, and Nadal and Andre Agassi are the only male players since Borg to have won the French Open and Wimbledon men's singles titles over their career.

In his 1979 autobiography, Jack Kramer, the long-time tennis promoter and great player himself, had already included Borg in his list of the 21 greatest players of all time. And in 2003, Bud Collins chose Borg as one of his top-five male players of all time.

In 2008, ESPN.com asked tennis analysts, writers, and former players to build the perfect open era player. Borg was the only player mentioned in five categories -- defense, footwork, intangibles, and mental toughness -- with his mental game and footwork singled-out as the best in open era history.

Borg never won the US Open or the Australian Open, losing in the final at the US Open four times. The only players to defeat Borg in a Grand Slam final were fellow World No. 1 tennis players John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors. Borg chose to play the Australian Open only once, in 1974, where he lost in the third round. Chris Evert, a contemporary of Borg, has pointed out that skipping Grand Slam tournaments was not unusual then, before counting Grand Slam titles became the norm. Borg has stated publicly that he would have attempted to complete the calendar year Grand Slam and played in the Australian Open had he succeeded in winning the first three Grand Slam tournaments of the year, which he never did. (During Borg's career, the Australian Open was the last Grand Slam tournament of each year.)

Playing style

Borg had one of the most distinctive playing styles in the open era. Borg played from the baseline, with powerful ground-strokes and a two-handed backhand (very rare at the time and unorthodox). He hit the ball hard and high from the back of the court and brought it down with considerable topspin, which made his ground strokes very consistent. There had been other players, particularly Rod Laver and Arthur Ashe, who played with topspin on both the forehand and backhand. But Laver and Ashe used topspin only as a way to mix up their shots and pass their opponents at the net easily. Borg was one of the first top players to use heavy topspin on his shots consistently.

Complementing his consistent ground-strokes was his fitness. Both of these factors allowed Borg to be dominant at the French Open.

One of the factors that made Borg unique was his dominance on the grass courts of Wimbledon, where baseliners since World War II did not usually succeed. Some experts attributed his dominance on this surface to his consistency, an underrated serve, and his adaptation to grass courts. Against the best players, he almost always served-and-volleyed on his first serves (but he naturally played from the baseline after his second serves).

Another trait usually associated with Borg is his grace under pressure. His calm court demeanor earned him the nickname of the "Ice Man" or "Ice-Borg.

Borg's physical conditioning was legendary as he could outlast most of his opponents under the most grueling conditions. Contrary to popular belief, however, this wasn't due to his exceptionally low resting heart rate, often reported to be near 35 beats per minute. In his intro to Borg's autobiography My Life and Game, Eugene Scott relates that this myth arose from a medial exam the 18-year-old Borg once took for military service, where his pulse was recorded as 38. Scott goes on to reveal Borg's true pulse rate as "about 50 when he wakes up and around 60 in the afternoon."

Borg is credited with helping to develop the style of play that has come to dominate the game today.

Career singles titles (99)

Singles titles listed on the ATP website (63)

No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score
1. 1974 London WCT, England Hard (i) Mark Cox 6–7, 7–6, 6–4
2. 1974 Sao Paulo WCT, Brazil Hard (i) Arthur Ashe 6–2, 3–6, 6–3
3. 1974 Rome, Italy Clay Ilie Năstase 6–3, 6–4, 6–2
4. 1974 French Open, Paris Clay Manuel Orantes 2–6, 6–7, 6–0, 6–1, 6–1
5. 1974 Båstad, Sweden Clay Adriano Panatta 6–3, 6–0, 6–7, 6–3
6. 1974 Boston, U.S. Clay Tom Okker 7–6, 6–1, 6–1
7. 1974 Adelaide, Australia Grass Onny Parun 6–4, 6–4 3–6, 6–2
8. 1975 Richmond WCT, U.S. Carpet Arthur Ashe 4–6, 6–4, 6–4
9. 1975 Bologna WCT, Italy Carpet Arthur Ashe 7–6, 4–6, 7–6
10. 1975 French Open, Paris Clay Guillermo Vilas 6–2, 6–3, 6–4
11. 1975 Boston, U.S. Clay Guillermo Vilas 6–3, 6–4, 6–2
12. 1975 Barcelona, Spain Clay Adriano Panatta 1–6, 7–6, 6–3, 6–2
13. 1976 Toronto Indoor WCT, Canada Carpet Vitas Gerulaitis 2–6, 6–3, 6–1
14. 1976 Sao Paulo WCT, Brazil Carpet Vitas Gerulaitis 7–6, 6–2
15. 1976 Dallas WCT, U.S.WCT Finals Carpet Guillermo Vilas 1–6, 6–1, 7–5, 6–1
16. 1976 Düsseldorf, West Germany Clay Manuel Orantes 6–2, 6–2, 6–0
17. 1976 Wimbledon, London Grass Ilie Năstase 6–4, 6–2, 9–7
18. 1976 Boston, U.S. Clay Harold Solomon 6–7, 6–4, 6–1, 6–2
19. 1977 Memphis, U.S. Carpet Brian Gottfried 6–4, 6–3, 4–6, 7–5
20. 1977 Nice, France Clay Guillermo Vilas 6–4, 1–6, 6–2, 6–0
21. 1977 Monte Carlo WCT, Monaco Clay Corrado Barazzutti 6–3, 7–5, 6–0
22. 1977 Denver, U.S. Carpet Brian Gottfried 7–5, 6–2
23. 1977 Wimbledon, London Grass Jimmy Connors 3–6, 6–2, 6–1, 5–7, 6–4
24. 1977 Boca RatonPepsi Grand Slam Clay Jimmy Connors 6–4, 5–7, 6–3
25. 1977 Madrid, Spain Clay Jaime Fillol Sr. 6–3, 6–0, 6–7, 7–6
26. 1977 Barcelona, Spain Clay Manuel Orantes 6–2, 7–5, 6–2
27. 1977 Basel, Switzerland Carpet John Lloyd 6–4, 6–2, 6–3
28. 1977 Cologne, West Germany Carpet Wojtek Fibak 2–6, 7–5, 6–3
29. 1977 Wembley, England Hard John Lloyd 6–4, 6–4, 6–3
30. 1978 Birmingham WCT, U.S. Carpet Dick Stockton 7–6, 7–5
31. 1978 Boca RatonPepsi Grand Slam Clay Jimmy Connors 7–6, 3–6, 6–1
32. 1978 Las Vegas, U.S.WCT Tournament of Champions Hard Vitas Gerulaitis 6–5, 5–6, 6–4, 6–5
33. 1978 Milan WCT, Italy Carpet Vitas Gerulaitis 6–3, 6–3
34. 1978 Rome, Italy Clay Adriano Panatta 1–6, 6–3, 6–1, 4–6, 6–3
35. 1978 French Open, Paris Clay Guillermo Vilas 6–1, 6–1, 6–3
36. 1978 Wimbledon, London Grass Jimmy Connors 6–2, 6–2, 6–3
37. 1978 Båstad, Sweden Clay Corrado Barazzutti 6–1, 6–2
38. 1978 Tokyo Indoor, Japan Carpet Brian Teacher 6–3, 6–4
39. 1979 Richmond WCT, U.S. Carpet Guillermo Vilas 6–3, 6–1
40. 1979 Boca RatonPepsi Grand Slam Hard Jimmy Connors 6–2, 6–3
41. 1979 Rotterdam, Netherlands Carpet John McEnroe 6–4, 6–2
42. 1979 Monte Carlo, Monaco Clay Vitas Gerulaitis 6–2, 6–1, 6–3
43. 1979 Las Vegas, U.S. Hard Jimmy Connors 6–3, 6–2
44. 1979 French Open, Paris Clay Víctor Pecci 6–3, 6–1, 6–7, 6–4
45. 1979 Wimbledon, London Grass Roscoe Tanner 6–7, 6–1, 3–6, 6–3, 6–4
46. 1979 Båstad, Sweden Clay Balázs Taróczy 6–1, 7–5
47. 1979 Toronto, Canada Hard John McEnroe 6–3, 6–3
48. 1979 Palermo, Italy Clay Corrado Barazzutti 6–4, 6–0, 6–4
49. 1979 Tokyo Indoor, Japan Carpet Jimmy Connors 6–2, 6–2
50. 1979 Montreal, CanadaWCT Challenge Cup Carpet Jimmy Connors 6–4, 6–2, 2–6, 6–4
51. 1979 Masters, New York Carpet Vitas Gerulaitis 6–2, 6–2
52. 1980 Salisbury, U.S.WCT Invitational Carpet Vijay Amritraj 7–5, 6–1, 6–3
53. 1980 Boca Raton, U.S.Pepsi Grand Slam Hard Vitas Gerulaitis 6–1, 5–7, 6–1
54. 1980 Nice, France Clay Manuel Orantes 6–2, 6–0, 6–1
55. 1980 Monte Carlo, Monaco Clay Guillermo Vilas 6–1, 6–0, 6–2
56. 1980 Las Vegas, U.S. Hard Harold Solomon 6–3, 6–1
57. 1980 French Open, Paris Clay Vitas Gerulaitis 6–4, 6–1, 6–2
58. 1980 Wimbledon, London Grass John McEnroe 1–6, 7–5, 6–3, 6–7, 8–6
59. 1980 Stockholm, Sweden Carpet John McEnroe 6–3, 6–4
60. 1980 Masters, New York Carpet Ivan Lendl 6–4, 6–2, 6–2
61. 1981 French Open, Paris Clay Ivan Lendl 6–1, 4–6, 6–2, 3–6, 6–1
62. 1981 Stuttgart Outdoor, West Germany Clay Ivan Lendl 1–6, 7–6, 6–2, 6–4
63. 1981 Geneva, Switzerland Clay Tomáš Šmíd 6–4, 6–3

Singles titles not listed by the ATP, including invitational tournament titles (36)

Non-ATP, exhibition, invitational, or special events singles titles – draw at least eight players

Year Date Tournament Surface Prize Money Final Opponent Final Result Winners Prize
1973 January 30 – February 4 Helsinki Scandinavian Indoor Open Tennis Championships Indoor carpet Jacek Niedzwiedzki 6–3, 6–7, 6–3, 6–4
1974 January 6–12 Auckland New Zealand Open Grass Onny Parun 6–4, 6–3, 6–1
1974 January 28 – February 3 Oslo Scandinavian Indoor Open Tennis Championships Indoor carpet Raymond Moore 2–6, 6–4, 6–4, 6–1
1979 Sept 28–30 Marbella European Championships of Tennis Clay Adriano Panatta 6–2, 6–2, 7–5
1979 Nov 26–29 Milan – Brooklyn Masters Tennis Tournament Indoor carpet John McEnroe 1–6, 6–1, 6–4
1979 Nov 29-Dec 2 Frankfurt Cup Invitational Tennis Tournament Round Robin Carpet Jimmy Connors 6–3, 4–6, 6–3, 6–4
1981 Oct 10–13 Edmonton – Challenge Cup Indoor carpet José Luis Clerc 6–2, 6–2, 7–5

Non-ATP, exhibition, invitational, or special events singles titles – draw fewer than eight players

Year Date Tournament Surface Final Opponent Final Result Winners Prize
1976 Sep 18–20 Mexico Marlboro Tennis Tournament Round Robin Clay Ilie Năstase 7–6, 0–6, 6–1
1976 Sep Guadalajara, Jalisco Round Robin Clay Ilie Năstase 6–3, 6–3
1976 Oct 11–15 Hilton Head World Invitational Tennis Classic Clay Arthur Ashe 6–1, 6–2
1976 Nov 5–7 Detroit Michigan Pro tennis 4-men invitational Indoor carpet Rod Laver 6–3, 6–1
1976 Nov 24–28 Copenhagen Pondus Cup Invitational Tournament Round Robin Indoor carpet Wojtek Fibak 7–5, 3–6, 7–6, 7–5
1977 Sep 27–30 Hilton Head World Invitational Tennis Classic Clay Roscoe Tanner 6–4, 7–5
1978 Mar 7–9 Goteborg Invitational Scandinavian Cup Indoor carpet Vitas Gerulaitis 6–4, 1–6, 6–3
1978 Apr 18–20 Copenhagen Pondus Cup Invitational Tournament Round Robin Indoor carpet Vitas Gerulaitis 2–6, 6–4, 6–4
1978 Apr 21–23 Tokyo Suntory Cup Indoor carpet Jimmy Connors 6–1, 6–2
1978 Oct 16–18 Essen Tennis Championships Clay Vitas Gerulaitis 6–3, 7–6
1978 Oct 28–29 Manila Clay Vitas Gerulaitis 6–2, 7–6
1978 Nov Antwerp Indoor carpet Tom Okker 6–4, 6–3
1979 Feb 17–18 Vienna Velo Cup Tennis Tournament – 4-men invitational Indoor carpet John McEnroe 3–6, 6–1, 6–4
1979 Sept 15–16 or 25–27 Essen Tennis Championships – 4-men invitational Clay Ilie Năstase 6–1, 6–4
1979 Oct 2–3 Groningen – 4-men invitational Indoor carpet Eddie Dibbs 6–4, 6–1
1979 Oct 5–6 Rotterdam Roxy Tennis Tournament Round Robin – 5-men invitational Indoor carpet Eddie Dibbs 6–3, 6–0
1979 Nov Brussels – 4-men invitational Indoor carpet Adriano Panatta 6–1, 7–6
1979 Dec 27–28 Cairo Egypt's First International Round Robin – 4-men invitational Clay Ismail El Shafei 6–2, 6–3, or 6–3, 6–4
1980 March 1–2 Mar del Plata, Argentina – 4-men invitational Clay Guillermo Vilas 6–1, 6–3, 6–3
1980 March 8–9 Stuttgart Cup-80 – 4-men invitational Indoor carpet Adriano Panatta 6–2, 5–7, 6–1
1980 October Berlin – 4-men invitational Indoor carpet Vitas Gerulaitis 7–6, 6–3
1981 Jan 26–27 Bologna – 4-men invitational Carpet José Luis Clerc 6–7, 7–5, 7–6
1981 Feb 20–22 Melbourne Benson & Hedges Gold Challenge Series (Australia) – 4-men invitational Vitas Gerulaitis 2-6, 6-2, 6-4
1982 March 24–25 Cascais – $68,000 4-men invitational Carpet Vitas Gerulaitis 7–6, 6–1
1982 March 23 or 24–25 Tokyo – $250,000 Suntory Cup Carpet Guillermo Vilas 6–1, 6–2 $110,000
1982 April 30-May 1 Cairo Four Master Championships 4-men invitational ? Peter McNamara 6-1 6-4
1982 Nov 5–7 Sydney – Akai Gold Challenge Carpet Ivan Lendl 6–1, 6–4, 6–2
1984 May 10–13 Osaka – Championship of the Gunze Invitational Tennis Tournament Indoor Carpet Harold Solomon 6–2, 6–2
1985 May 9–12 Tokyo – Gunze World Tennis Tournament Indoor carpet Anders Järryd 6–4, 6–3

Career singles runner-ups (24)

No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score
1. 1973 Monte Carlo, Monaco Clay Ilie Năstase 6–4, 6–1, 6–2
2. 1973 San Francisco, U.S. Carpet Roy Emerson 5–7, 6–1, 6–4
3. 1973 Stockholm, U.S. Hard (i) Tom Gorman 6–3, 4–6, 7–6
4. 1973 Buenos Aires, Argentina Clay Guillermo Vilas 3–6. 6–7, 6–4, 6–6, RET.
5. 1974 Barcelona WCT, Spain Carpet Arthur Ashe 6–4, 3–6, 6–3
6. 1974 Houston, U.S. Clay Rod Laver 7–6, 6–2
7. 1974 Dallas WCT, U.S.WCT Finals Carpet John Newcombe 4–6, 6–3, 6–3, 6–2
8. 1974 Indianapolis, U.S. Clay Jimmy Connors 5–7, 6–3, 6–4
9. 1974 Madrid, Spain Clay Ilie Năstase 6–4, 5–7, 6–2, 4–6, 6–4
10. 1975 Barcelona WCT, Spain Carpet Arthur Ashe 7–6, 6–3
11. 1975 Munich WCT, West Germany Carpet Arthur Ashe 6–4, 7–6
12. 1975 Dallas WCT, U.S.WCT Finals Carpet Arthur Ashe 3–6, 6–4, 6–4, 6–0
13. 1975 Masters, Stockholm Hard (i) Ilie Năstase 6–2, 6–2, 6–1
14. 1976 Philadelphia WCT, U.S. Carpet Jimmy Connors 7–6, 6–4, 6–0
15. 1976 US Open, New York Clay Jimmy Connors 6–4, 3–6, 7–6, 6–4
16. 1977 Masters, New York Carpet Jimmy Connors 6–4, 1–6, 6–4
17. 1978 US Open, New York Hard Jimmy Connors 6–4, 6–4, 6–2
18. 1979 Dallas WCT, U.S.WCT Finals Carpet John McEnroe 7–5, 4–6, 6–2, 7–6
19. 1980 Toronto, Canada Hard Ivan Lendl 4–6, 5–4, RET.
20. 1980 US Open, New York Hard John McEnroe 7–6, 6–1, 6–7, 5–7, 6–4
21. 1980 Basel, Switzerland Hard (i) Ivan Lendl 6–3, 6–2, 5–7, 0–6, 6–4
22. 1981 Milan, Italy Carpet John McEnroe 7–6, 6–4
23. 1981 Wimbledon, London Grass John McEnroe 4–6, 7–6, 7–6, 6–4
24. 1981 US Open, New York Hard John McEnroe 4–6, 6–2, 6–4, 6–3

Grand Slam and Masters singles tournament timeline

Tournament 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 Career WR Career Win–Loss
Grand Slam Tournaments
Australian Open A 3R A A A A A A A 0 / 1 1–1
French Open 4R W W QF A W W W W 6 / 8 49–2
Wimbledon QF 3R QF W W W W W F 5 / 9 51–4
US Open 4R 2R SF F 4R F QF F F 0 / 9 40–9
Win Ratio 0 / 3 1 / 4 1 / 3 1 / 3 1 / 2 2 / 3 2 / 3 2 / 3 1 / 3 11 / 27 N/A
Win–Loss 10–3 12–3 16–2 17–2 10–1 20–1 18–1 20–1 19–2 N/A 141–16
Year-End Championship
The Masters1 A RR F A F A W W A 2 / 5 15–7

A = did not participate in the tournament

WR = the ratio of the number of won tournaments to the number of tournaments played

1The Masters tournaments for calendar years 1977, 1979, and 1980 were actually held in January of the following year. In this table, however, the year of the tournament is listed for the preceding year.

Records

Grand Slam singles tournament records

  • Borg's 11 Grand Slam singles titles out of 27 tournaments played gives him a male open era record 41 winning percentage. Margaret Court holds the record among all players.
  • In Grand Slam singles tournaments, Borg's match record is 141–16, giving him an 89.8 winning percentage, better than any male player ever. The only other male players in the open era with winning percentages over 80 are Roger Federer (86.6), Rafael Nadal (85.1), Pete Sampras (84.2), Jimmy Connors (82.6), Ivan Lendl (81.9), John McEnroe (81.5), and Andre Agassi (80.9).
  • Borg played in 16 Grand Slam singles finals, which as of the end of his career was a male record for the open era and second in tennis history only to Rod Laver's 17 finals. This record was broken by Lendl who played in 19 singles finals.
  • Borg (1974–1981) and Sampras (1993–2000) won at least one Grand Slam singles title for eight consecutive years, an all-time men's record.
  • Borg and Sampras have defeated 9 players in Grand Slam singles finals. Federer has defeated 10 players in Grand Slam Finals more than any other player in the history.
  • Borg (1976-80 Wimbledon and the 1978-81 French Open) is the first player to have won two different Grand Slam singles tournaments at least four consecutive times. Federer has won two different Grand Slams five consecutive times (2003-07 Wimbledon and 2004-08 US Open).
  • Borg (6 French Open and 5 Wimbledon), Sampras (7 Wimbledon and 5 US Open) and Federer (5 US Opens and 5 Wimbledons) are the only male players to have won two different Grand Slam singles tournaments at least five times.
  • Borg's five Wimbledon singles titles is the second highest number of titles won by a male player since the abolition of the Challenge Round in 1922. Sampras won seven singles titles, the last of which was in 2000.
  • Borg and Federer have won more consecutive Wimbledon singles titles (5) than any other male player under modern rules. Only William Renshaw won more consecutive singles titles (1881–86), but in Renshaw's day, the defending champion played only one match, the Challenge Round.
  • Borg (1976–1981) and Federer (2003–2008) played in six consecutive Wimbledon singles finals, still a record since the abolition of the Challenge Round in 1922.
  • Borg's 41 consecutive singles match winning streak at Wimbledon remains an all-time record. Federer has come closest to matching this, with a winning streak of 40 consecutive Wimbledon singles matches from 2003 through 2008, before being beaten by Nadal.
  • Borg won more French Open singles titles (6) than any other male player in tennis history.
  • Borg and Nadal won four consecutive French Open singles titles, the only players to do so, during the open era. Borg retired while on a winning streak of 28 consecutive matches at the French Open.
  • Borg (1978–81), Lendl (1984–87), and Nadal (2005–08) played in four consecutive French Open singles finals, a men's open era record.
  • Borg won the French Open singles title without losing a set in 1978 and 1980, and he was the last man to do so until Nadal in 2008.
  • Borg is the only male player to have appeared in the singles finals of both the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year for four consecutive years (1978–81).
  • Borg is the only male player to have won both the French Open and Wimbledon singles titles in the same year for three consecutive years (1978–80).
  • During the open era, Borg was the first male to play in six finals of two different Grand Slam tournaments (6 at the French Open and 6 at Wimbledon). Later, Sampras appeared in at least seven finals of two different Grand Slam tournaments (7 at Wimbledon and 8 at the US Open).
  • During the open era, Borg is the first player to win the same Grand Slam 6 times (6 French Open). Later, Sampras broke this record by winning 7 Wimbledon titles.
  • During the open era, Borg is the first player to win at least 28 consecutive matches at two different Grand Slams (1978-1981 French Open and 1976-81 Wimbledon). Later, Federer broke this record by winning at least 34 consecutive matches at Wimbledon (2003-2008) and US Open (2004-2008).
  • During the open era, Borg is the first player to appear in 3 Grand Slam Finals in a calendar year three different times in his career (1978, 1980-81). Later Federer broke this record by appearing in 3 Grand Slam Finals in a calendar year four different times in his career (2004, 2006-08).

Youngest to win

  • In 1972, Borg became the youngest-ever winner of a Davis Cup match, at age 15.
  • In 1974, one month before his 18th birthday, Borg became the youngest winner of the Italian Open. That record has since been broken.
  • In 1974, only days after his 18th birthday, Borg became the youngest man ever to hold a Grand Slam singles title. He retained that distinction until another Swede, Mats Wilander, won the French Open in 1982.
  • At 18, he was the youngest winner of the U.S. Professional Championships until Aaron Krickstein won in 1983.
  • In 1976 at age 20, Borg became the youngest winner of Wimbledon during the open era until Boris Becker became the youngest Grand Slam winner of all time by taking Wimbledon at age 17 years, 7 months in 1985 (a record broken by Michael Chang who won the French Open when he was 17 years, 3 months in 1989).
  • Borg won his 11th Grand Slam singles title in 1981 aged 25 years and 1 day, the youngest male to reach that number of titles. By comparison, Roger Federer won his 11th aged 25 years and 324 days; Pete Sampras won his 11th at almost age 27, Roy Emerson at age 30, and Rod Laver at age 31.

Match competition

  • Borg compiled a 576–124 win–loss singles record, winning 82.29 percent of the matches he played. By comparison, Jimmy Connors won 81.96 percent, Ivan Lendl won 81.75 percent, John McEnroe won 81.66 percent, Pete Sampras won 77.44 percent, and Andre Agassi won 76.05 percent.
  • Borg won 14 consecutive five-set singles matches before losing to McEnroe at the 1980 US Open, a record for the open era.
  • In career five-set matches, Borg was 24–4. His 85.7 winning percentage was unrivalled in the open era, with Aaron Krickstein in second place at 75.7 percent (28–9). Five of Borg's wins were in Grand Slam finals, a mark that surpassed Bill Tilden (who won four) and has remained unequalled.
  • In 1980, Borg won the longest-ever Wimbledon singles final to that time, 3 hours and 53 minutes (the record stood until 1982). That year, he also lost the longest-ever US Open final to that time, 4 hours and 13 minutes (the record stood until 1988).
  • Borg won the longest tiebreak of the open era, 20–18 in the third set of his first round match at the 1973 Wimbledon – a mark that has been tied four times (by Roger Federer, Goran Ivanišević, José Acasuso, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga).
  • Borg won 19 consecutive points on serve in the fifth set on two occasions: his 1980 Wimbledon final against McEnroe and his 1980 US Open quarterfinal against Roscoe Tanner.

Career winning streaks

  • On the list of open era winning streaks, Borg is third (43 consecutive tour matches in 1978). The only other men with winning streaks of at least 40 matches are Guillermo Vilas (46), Ivan Lendl (44), John McEnroe (42), and Roger Federer (41).
  • Borg previously held the record for most consecutive wins on grass, with 41 victories (all at Wimbledon). Federer, who customarily plays a lesser grass tournament in Halle in addition to Wimbledon, had his 65 match winning streak on grass (from 2003 through the 2008 Wimbledon final) ended by Rafael Nadal.
  • Borg holds the Davis Cup record singles winning streak at 33 consecutive victories.
  • Borg holds third place for most consecutive wins on clay, with 46 victories in 1977–79. Only Rafael Nadal with 81 and Vilas with 53 have won more consecutive clay court matches.

Miscellaneous

  • Borg's 62 career titles as listed on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) website places him fifth on that website's open era list behind Jimmy Connors (106), Ivan Lendl (94), John McEnroe (77), and Pete Sampras (64). He is tied with Guillermo Vilas.
  • Borg retired with US$ 3.6 million in career prize money, a record at the time.
  • According to the match scores listed on the ATP website, Borg bageled his opponents (sets won 6–0) 116 times from 1973 through 1981, compared to Roger Federer's 55 bagels from 1999 through the 2007 French Open.
  • Borg was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987 at only 30 years of age.
  • In 1999, Borg was elected the best Swedish sportsman ever by a jury in his home country. His tennis rivals included a pair of top ranked players: Mats Wilander (who won seven Grand Slam titles) and Stefan Edberg (who won six).
  • In their only career match-up, Borg defeated Wilander in September 1981 in the first round of a tournament in Geneva, Switzerland. The score was 6–1, 6–1. Geneva was the last tournament that Borg won during his career.
  • Borg won the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal in 1974 and 1978, the latter being shared with alpine skier Ingemar Stenmark. They are the only men to have won this honor twice.
  • Borg was well-known for his sleek signature line of Fila 'BJ' sportswear, particularly the pin-striped tennis shirts that became a trademark. Although Borg wore Fila throughout the world, he used different rackets and shoes for different parts of the world. In North America, he wore Tretorn sneakers and used a Bancroft Borg frame, while everywhere else it was the Donnay Allwood or Borg Pro, with Diadora Borg Elite shoes. There was superstition in what he wore, too. Borg always reverted to the traditional green pinstripe shirt for Wimbledon, no matter what other design he may have worn at the time.

See also

References

Bibliography

  • John Barrett, editor, World of Tennis Yearbooks, London, from 1976 through 1983.
  • Michel Sutter, Vainqueurs Winners 1946–2003, Paris, 2003. Sutter has attempted to list all tournaments meeting his criteria for selection beginning with 1946 and ending in the fall of 1991 . For each tournament, he has indicated the city, the date of the final, the winner, the runner-up, and the score of the final. A tournament is included in his list if: (1) the draw for the tournament included at least eight players (with a few exceptions, such as the Pepsi Grand Slam tournaments in the second half of the 1970s); and (2) the level of the tournaments was at least equal to the present day challenger tournaments. Sutter's book is probably the most exhaustive source of tennis tournament information since World War II, even though some professional tournaments held before the start of the open era are missing. Later, Sutter issued a second edition of his book, with only the players, their wins, and years for the 1946 through April 27, 2003, period.
  • Scott, Eugene L.; Borg, Björn (1980). My Life and Game. New York: Simon and Schuster.
  • Borg, Björn (1975). The Björn Borg Story. Chicago: H. Regnery Co.

Video

  • The Wimbledon Collection – Legends of Wimbledon – Bjorn Borg Standing Room Only, DVD Release Date: September 21, 2004, Run Time: 52 minutes, ASIN: B0002HODA4.
  • The Wimbledon Collection – The Classic Match – Borg vs. McEnroe 1981 Final Standing Room Only, DVD Release Date: September 21, 2004, Run Time: 210 minutes, ASIN: B0002HODAE.
  • The Wimbledon Collection – The Classic Match – Borg vs. McEnroe 1980 Final Standing Room Only, DVD Release Date: September 21, 2004, Run Time: 240 minutes; ASIN: B0002HOEK8.
  • Wimbledon Classic Match: Gerulaitis vs Borg Standing Room Only, DVD Release Date: October 31, 2006, Run Time: 180 minutes, ASIN: B000ICLR8O.

External links

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