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Stefan Edberg Q&A

Stefan Edberg
Edberg played an exhibition match against Jim Courier in LA last month

Stefan Edberg is a six-time Grand Slam champion, four-time Davis Cup winner and former world number one, and the Swede has taken some time out to answer questions from 606 users.

The 43-year-old retired in 1996 after a stellar career and now plays on the ATP Champions Tour, which has been in the Algarve at the Vale Do Lobo event over the last week.

You can catch him in action in December at The Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall.

Q: Stefan, as perhaps the best volleyer ever what do you make of the decline of the use of the volley in today's game?

A: "It's a good question. I think it probably goes in cycles. I know it's a game that takes a little bit longer to develop and it takes a lot of practice in younger years, that's how I developed my serve and volley game.

"I feel a little bit sad that it has disappeared, because it's always great to put a little bit more variation into the game of tennis."

Q: Which was your most memorable grand slam win and why?

Murray's a good enough player to win a Grand Slam and he reminds me a bit of Ivan Lendl

A: "Well I think the easy answer is winning Wimbledon the first time (1988) because of all the tradition. I had watched Borg win five finals, so to me that was a sweet one."

Q: Given how successful Swedish tennis has been in the past, particularly in the 1980s, what factors do you think have caused its decline?

A: "Well, thinking back in the '80s we were very successful and we didn't really think about or know it at the time.

"But looking back now I think we were a lot of young guys around the same age, we worked very hard as a group, and we probably worked harder than most people from other countries.

"We were inspired by one another, we had luck with having a lot of good coaches, so I think that's all part of the reason why we were so successful."

Q: If you could replay one match from your career, which one would you choose - and what would you do differently?

A: "Well, it's the French Open (1989) obviously, the one I didn't win. I played Michael Chang in the final and I had lots of chances in the fourth set, and I think maybe just replaying one point could have made a big difference, just to get the break that I needed in the fourth set."

Stefan Edberg
Edberg beat Boris Becker in five sets to win his second Wimbledon in 1990

Q: "What was the most difficult match you played?

A: "I've played a lot of difficult matches but I think what I did find difficult in the beginning was actually playing Davis Cup. My first Davis Cup match was in doubles and I lost.

"Playing for a team and playing for your own country, I found that really hard in the beginning and it took some time to develop and to get rid of that first match. That was a tricky one to start with."

Q: Why did you always wear a watch when you played? Was it for sponsorship reasons or purely because you were the most stylish player around!?

A: "I think it was because of sponsorship at the time, otherwise I probably wouldn't have worn it. But it was a nice watch company and why not?"

Q: If you could take one shot from anyone's game in any era, what would it be?

A: "Maybe McEnroe's touch."

Q: Who is the best player in your opinion who you played against?

A: "In my era I've been very lucky to play against many of the best players: John McEnroe at his prime, Lendl at his prime, Sampras, who I probably would consider the best player of my era because he had a big serve, a good volley and he moved well around the court, so during my era I think he was the most complete player."

Q: I see that you support Leeds United at Football! Was that the Tomas Brolin effect or if not how did you come to support Leeds?

Tomas Brolin
Edberg's fellow Swede Tomas Brolin signed for Leeds in 1995

A: "It goes further back than Tomas Brolin. I watched a lot of English football when I was young, about seven or eight years of age back in the early '70s, and they were a very successful team at the time so that's part of the reason."

Q: Someone said you play a fair bit of squash these days. Is that true? If so, do you think squash deserves to be included in the 2016 Olympics?

A: "I do play squash now. I started playing after my tennis career. I think it's a great game and I think it does deserve to be in the Olympics, that really would take it to a higher level. It's a good sport, I really enjoy it and I'm really hoping it will be there for the Olympics."

Q: Tim Henman is known to have modelled his game on yours, but who were your tennis (and sporting) inspirations growing up in Sweden?

A: "For me I think Bjorn Borg was the big inspiration. I think to a lot of my generation he was the big hero. He had so much success and everybody was looking up to him."

Q: Of all the tournaments you played, which one was your favourite?

A: "I always felt that I had a lot of favourite tournaments and obviously the ones you play well at always become your favourite tournaments for some reason.

"But I think coming into the Australian Open after a long winter back home in Europe in December, where it's dark and then suddenly coming to Australia where you fly into the summer and there's really nice, easy-going people. I always found that really nice."

Q: It's exactly 19 years ago, 13th of August 1990 - QF in Cincinnati. You played against Michael Chang. You had won Wimbledon and Los Angeles. And it was clear, if you won against Chang you would become number one in the world. Have you been more nervous then in the other matches? And after the match, did you feel like you have won a biggie, a Grand Slam tournament?

Michael Chang and Stefan Edberg
Michael Chang beat Edberg in the Swede's only French Open final in 1990

A: "I remember that match against Chang. I don't know if I thought about the ranking that much at the time. I had big trouble beating Chang first of all. I was on a pretty good run at the time and I knew sooner or later I would get to the number one ranking.

"That's obviously something I'm very proud of because there's very few players who have actually reached the number one ranking in tennis and it's far more difficult than winning a Grand Slam because it's 12 months of really good tennis in order to get there."

Q: Stefan, what do you consider your most satisfying win and your most painful loss?

A: "The most satisfying win has to come back to winning Wimbledon the first time and winning Davis Cup for the first time (1984).

"Obviously the toughest loss, it has to be the French Open (1989). It wasn't so tough at the time when I lost because I thought I would have more chances to win it, but obviously looking back it would have been sweeter if I'd won."

Q: Having in mind Andy Murray's success at the ATP Masters 1000 Series, why do you think he hasn't been able to make the jump to winning a major? How big is that jump?
Lionel Hutz

A. "I think eventually he will crack it. He's a good enough player to win a Grand Slam and he reminds me a bit of Ivan Lendl. It took him quite some time before he won his first Grand Slam and it's taken Andy a little bit of time.

"He's up against some pretty tough opponents as well, he's got Federer, Nadal, Djokovic. With a little bit of luck, if he keeps on training and keeps his motivation, eventually he will win one. Whether it will be this year or next year is hard to tell but he definitely has a chance at the US Open."

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