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Borg's mental lessons

Bjorn Borg
By Bjorn Borg
Winner of 11 Grand Slam titles

I used to be one of the worst behaved kids on the tennis court.

When I was 11 or 12 years old I played for my hometown club outside Stockholm where I grew up and one day the club arranged a meeting with my parents to do something about my behaviour.

Bjorn Borg
I practised five hours a day and I wanted to win every single point in those five hours

Bjorn Borg

Swearing, throwing racquets - you name it, I was doing it. My parents were really embarrassed.

The club decided to suspend me for six months and I was really sad and disappointed because I loved to play tennis.

That was a great lesson for me at the time. When I came back after six months I did not open my mouth and that's probably where I got my temperament from.

Sure you have feelings and you get emotional and angry but I kept everything inside because I think I still had that thought in my mind - I didn't want to get suspended again.

My dream as a kid was to play Wimbledon and maybe one day to win Wimbledon but to win it five times in a row, I remember my match against John McEnroe in 1980 walking off that court, it was the best thing to happen.

To win that last point in the Wimbledon final - that's the most wonderful feeling you can have as a tennis player. That was the best that I could perform.

Of course I felt sometimes inside that I could show an outburst of emotions but I kept them inside and I could still focus and concentrate on the game.

It is a learning process. When I was practising as a kid, I always wanted to win.

Born: 6.6.1956
Sodertalijie, Sweden
Wimbledon titles:
1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980
Grand Slam titles: 11
Career titles: 61
Prize money: $3,655,751

It didn't matter if it was a practice, I wanted to win every single point. I practised five hours a day and I wanted to win every single point in those five hours.

Still in my mind I had the suspension when I was a kid and I think by being very serious on the court, learning how to play well under pressure, I could play really well on the important points in the match.

I think that was probably one of my strongest points.

I lost my motivation a little bit when I lost to John McEnroe in the 1981 Wimbledon final.

I still played good tennis but I did not have the same focus that I had for many years. I always gave 100% and loved to win and hated to lose but if you lose that little bit of an edge it is very difficult to do well.

Something was missing and for me as a person that is not right.

see also
Borg on Federer
24 Jun 07 |  Tennis
Wimbledon legends: Bjorn Borg
31 May 04 |  History
Classic Matches: Borg v McEnroe
31 May 04 |  History
Lessons I Have Learned: Peter Nicol
22 Jun 07 |  Squash

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