Sunday, February 6, 2011

 Born in Vastervik, Sweden on January 19, 1966, Stefan Edberg is one of professional tennis's greatest legends. Throughout the course of his illustrious career, Edberg accumulated over $20-million (USD) in prize money. He accomplished this large sum by holding a career record of 806-270, for a winning percentage of 74%, and winning 42 titles, including 6 Grand Slam singles and 3 Grand Slam doubles. Edberg was one of the foremost advocates of the serve-and-volley style in the game; a style which is popular in today's tennis.
 Stefan Edberg first caught the world's attention in 1983. Still a teenager, Edberg was a force on the junior circuit. He won all four major Grand Slam events that year, and immediately decided to turn pro. Throughout his young career, Edberg had taken a liking to playing doubles as well as singles. Not many tennis players are accomplished at both games, but Edberg was intent on playing both the singles and doubles bracket in tennis. This paid off immediately after Edberg won his first doubles title in 1983, the same year he turned pro.
In 1984, Edberg was still honing his craft on the professional stage. At a match in Milan, Italy, Edberg would walk away with the first singles title of his professional career. The next year, in 1985, Stefan entered the Australian Open and faced off against fellow Swedish player Mats Wilander. He defeated his countryman and won his first Grand Slam. In 1987, Edberg repeated his Australian Open success and defeated Pat Cash; Edberg also won the doubles title at the Open that year.

 Edberg won the World Team Cup an impressive three times while representing Sweden, as well as winning the Davis Cup four times. In the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Edberg won the bronze medal in both the men's singles and doubles events.
Also in 1988, Stefan met up with Boris Becker at Wimbledon and began a heated rivalry that would last for many years. Becker and Edberg met in the finals, where Stefan won the match in five grueling sets. In 1989, Boris bested Stefan in three sets to reclaim tennis's top honor. Then again, in 1990, the two would meet in the Wimbledon final. In the rubber match, Edberg defeated Becker in five sets again, and would ultimately become the best tennis player of the time.

 Stefan won the Cincinnati Masters in 1990 and earned his first number-one ranking. He would hold this ranking for the duration of the year, and including most of 1991 and 1992. In 1992, Stefan would enter the US Open and meet a young Pete Sampras.

Although Edberg won the match, it was clear to fans that he was losing a step. His last two Grand Slam final appearances were losses to Jim Courier at the Australian Open, in 92 and 93 respectively.
Stefan Edberg retired from tennis in 1996. Throughout his career, he appeared in 54 consecutive Grand Slam Tournaments and won 42 singles and 18 doubles titles. His number-one ranking was held for 72 weeks in total.
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