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Stefan Edberg

tennis player
Full name: Stefan Bengt Edberg
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Class of HOF
Bio A stylistic misfit among the Swedish legion that rose in Bjorn Borg's sneaker steps and image, Stefan Edberg has ever been an extraordinarily graceful attacker. A serve-and-volleyer, he has done superbly with only one hand propelling his backhand. Clay, on which he was reared, hasn't been his favorite surface, although he nearly beat Michael Chang in a five-set French final in 1989. A splendid junior career led to great expectations, which he fulfilled with six major singles - two each, Australian (1985, '87), Wimbledon (1988, '90), U.S. (1991, '92). In 1983 he became the lone achiever of a junior Grand Slam, winning the Australian, French, Wimbledon and U.S. 18-and-under singles.

Making his Davis Cup bow in 1984, at 18, he was the youngest to play for a Cup winner (until Chang, a slightly younger 18 in 1990). Edberg performed a consequential one-day role in Sweden's startling upending of the U.S. in the final at Goteborg. He and Anders Jarryd clinched the 4-1 victory by stunning Peter Fleming and John McEnroe, unbeaten in 14 previous Cup starts, 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5. In successfully defending the Cup the following year in Munich, a 3-2 victory over Germany, Edberg won it at the wire, a thrilling, rebounding fifth-match decision over Michael Westphal. Though he didn't play in the 1987 final, he had an earlier hand in winning that Cup. A brilliant end-of-the-line backhand seized victory from Alexander Volkov at match point down in the fifth set as the 1994 Cup final began in Moscow. Turning that upside down for a 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 0-6, 8-6 win, Stefan set the tone in a 4-1 triumph, Sweden' fifth Cup.

Having slipped below the standard he set for himself, he announced that the 1996 season would be his valedictory - Stefan had a good year, beating Chang at the French, playing all four to stretch his participation record to 54 straight major championship appearances at the U.S. Open, where he knocked off Wimbledon champ Richard Krajicek and made the quarters (a 25th time at that stage).

Edberg, a slim 6-foot-2 blond right hander, was born in the seaside town of Vastervik, Sweden, Jan. 19, 1966, and was reared there. He lives in London with his Swedish wife, Annette. He had a hammering serve, as well as a difficult kicker and a raking backhand, and he is one of the finest of all volleyers. His groundstrokes improved continuously throughout his career. Outwardly unemotional, he dispelled doubts about his competitiveness by winning Wimbledon in 1988. He charged from two sets down to beat Miloslav Mecir in the semis, 4-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4, and a set down to overcome favored Boris Becker, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 6-2, for the title. His rivalry with Becker was a highlight of the '80s and '90s. At the close of his career, Becker was in the lead, 25-10.

Beating the 1983-84 champ, countryman Mats Wilander, in the final, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3, Stefan took the Australian in 1985, his first major. He repeated two years later, the last man to win it on grass, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3 over Pat Cash. Flushing Meadow was almost the mystery to him that it had been for Borg (no titles in 10 tries). But on his ninth, Edberg came through for the U.S. crown in one of the most devastating final round performances, 6-2, 6-4, 6-0, over Jim Courier, holding serve throughout. Edberg, a first-round loser the year before (to Volkov) was the second in the tournament's history to spring from such ignominy to the title. Mal Anderson did so in 1957. Edberg refused to relinquish the title, beating Pete Sampras in the 1992 final. In the semis he overcame Chang, 6-7 (3-7), 7-5, 7-6 (7-3), 5-7, 6-4, the longest-lasting major match - 5 hours, 26 minutes. Edberg's last major final (his 11th) was at the Australian in 1993, when he lost to Courier.

Stefan was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004.

Source:Bud Collins
Tournament AO RG W US Win-Loss
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