TRUE WIMBLEDON LEGEND | THE ENIGMATIC BJORN “ICE” BORG

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My heart wanted Andy Roddick to win Wimbledon so bad– but my head knew that Roger Federer would pull it out– through cool, consistent, calculated play.  The better player definitely won, even though Federer’s acknowledgement of Roddick’e impressive play after the trophy ceremony felt a little snide and condescending.  I think the guy just can’t help it– he loves himself.  See him playing with his pretty hair nonstop?  Please.  And his cute little comment to Pete Sampras, who he trumped with a record 15 Grand Slam singles titles– “Thanks for coming out” seemed more than a little ungracious.  Federer has a great game, but he’s not my cup of tea.  For me, it doesn’t get any better than back in the wooden racket days of Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, and the first rockstar of tennis– Bjorn Borg.

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Bjorn Borg

Bjorn Borg relishing his fifth straight Wimbledon singles victory in 1980.

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Bjorn Borg won an unprecedented five consecutive Wimbledon titles– from 1976-1980.  The 1980 Wimbledon final between Borg and McEnroe is easily considered the best and most memorable matchup of all time.  McEnroe seemed to have victory in hand early on, but the Swede proved once again to have more stamina and tenacity– breaking McEnroe down for the win.  Borg was widely considered nearly invincible at the time– his physical conditioning was legendary.

During his reign he also claimed six French Open titles, and even won Wimbledon and the French Open in the same year three times– the only player ever to do so more than once.  Winning both in the same year was even more remarkable because in those days there was only a week of preparation for the grass between the two events.  All these accomplishments came during a time when men’s tennis was brimming with truly great champions– the competition was crushing.

Bjorn Borg was also a bit of an enigma, which added to his charm and appeal.  He suddenly and surprisingly retired at the age of 25, with many great tennis playing years still ahead, after McEnroe handed him a painful defeat at the Wimbledon finals in 1981.  Imagine if Borg he had continued to play? He may very well have become tennis’ greatest champion of all time.

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Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe

In 1980, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe put on one of the greatest matches Wimbledon has ever seen.

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1980 Wimbledon men's singles champion-- Bjorn Borg.

1980 Wimbledon men's singles champion-- Bjorn Borg.

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Bjorn Borg was also known for his great looks on and off the court.  Borg went on to start his own clothing line that was a huge success in Sweden.  On the court the blonde Adonis donned awesome Fila gear (and Diadora tennis shoes) that still inspires fashion and films (The Royal Tenenbaums).

Bjorn Borg was also known for his great looks on and off the court. Borg went on to start his own clothing line that was a huge success in Sweden. On the court the blonde Adonis donned awesome Fila gear (and Diadora tennis shoes) that still inspires fashion and films (The Royal Tenenbaums).

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Luke Wilson as Richie Tenenbaum-- obviously highly based on Bjorn Borg's fashion sense, as well as some of his personal complexities.

Luke Wilson as Richie Tenenbaum-- obviously highly based on Bjorn Borg's fashion sense, as well as some of his personal complexities. The obnoxious twins in the film oddly resemble McEnroe...

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Tennis greats-- John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg and Vitas Gerulaitis.

Tennis greats-- John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg and Vitas Gerulaitis.

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Bjorn Borg reacts after defeating John McEnroe to win his fifth consecutive Wimbledon singles championship-- July 5, 1980.

Bjorn Borg reacts after defeating John McEnroe to win his fifth consecutive Wimbledon singles championship-- July 5, 1980.

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 Lennart Bergelin with tennis great Bjorn Borg of Sweden at French Open, 1974.

Lennart Bergelin with tennis great Bjorn Borg of Sweden at French Open, 1974.

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Bjorn Borg displaying his wicked double-handed backhand at the 1978 Davis Cup.

Bjorn Borg displaying his wicked double-handed backhand at the 1978 Davis Cup.

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 Bjorn Borg falls to knees after defeating John McEnroe 7-5, 6-3, 8-6, to win the Wimbledon title for the 5th consecutive year, 1976-1980.

Bjorn Borg falls to knees after defeating John McEnroe 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7, 8-6, to win the Wimbledon title for the 5th consecutive year, 1976-1980.

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Swedish tennis star Bjorn Borg, 1976.

Swedish tennis star Bjorn Borg, 1976.

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bjorn borg john mcenroe bjorn borg john mcenroe

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12 thoughts on “TRUE WIMBLEDON LEGEND | THE ENIGMATIC BJORN “ICE” BORG

  1. Great post Jon! Did anyone see what Bjorn was wearing at the All England Club yesterday? Black suit, white shirt and the skinniest of skinny ties, made from black leather. Looked like something straight out of the new TopMan range. Vomit.

    ACL

    • Federer definitely takes care of business and knows how to close. No loose ends with that guy, unlike poor Andy– who will probably never let himself live this loss down.

  2. I’m still recovering from Andy’s loss. Such an emotional match for me and an incredible display of fortitude especially on Andy’s part. Mr. Borg is certainly Tennis’ great style icon. Beautiful post.

  3. JM makes a great commentator for BBC tennis but it crushed me when he beat Borg in ’81. obnoxious crass complainer (subtext: american). he is value for money though… totally rocked the double backhand for years after as a salute to BB. killer post.

  4. Hey, great Borg stuff. We actually have two styles of the Bjorn Borg sunglasses at our shop. Come by and visit. I can also send you the pictures of the frames.

  5. Great match and great post. Couldn’t get over seeing Sampras in the stands wearing what appeared to be a nice suit with Oakley-esque sports sunglasses. Is that why his wife looked pissed?

  6. @james fox:
    obnoxious snooty complainer (subtext: european)
    I can point out just as many despicable euro footbal/soccer players as you can american athletes.
    we’re all slight variations on the same disgusting human nature. get over it.

  7. Thank the Lord someone has finally criticised Federer – even though it’s very mild. Yes, he loves himself and the media loves him too. Frankly I have no idea why.The way he preens himself with that stupid white outfit! He won the French because Nadal was injured and he won Wimbledon because Nadal didn’t compete. If a fit Nadal had been playing then Rog would have ended up blubbing again. But all he had to beat was hopeless one shot Andy Roddick, the great loser of world tennis.Do us all a favour Fed – hang up your racket.

  8. Pingback: Tennis in the 80’s « Lark About

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