Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Björn Rune Borg

Björn Rune Borg (Swedish pronunciation: [bjœːɳ bɔrj] ( listen); born 6 June 1956) is a former World No. 1 tennis player from Sweden. Between 1974 and 1981 he won 11 Grand Slam singles titles. He won five consecutive Wimbledon singles titles and six French Open singles titles (a record shared with Rafael Nadal). He is considered by many to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time.

During his relatively brief pro career, Borg won 41% of the Grand Slam singles tournaments he entered (11 of 27) and 89.81% (141–16) of the Grand Slam singles matches he played, both of which are open era male records for an entire career. He is one of four players in the open era to win both Wimbledon and the French Open in the same year and the only player to do so for three consecutive years.

He also won three year end championship titles including two Masters Grand Prix titles and one WCT Final title. In addition he won 15 Championship Series titles (1974–1980) the precursors to the current Masters 1000.

Borg was the first professional tennis player to earn more than one million dollars in prize money in a single season (1979).

Life and career

Borg was born in Södertälje, Sweden. As a child, Borg became fascinated with a golden tennis racquet that his father won at a table-tennis tournament. His father gave him the racquet, beginning his tennis career.[citation needed]
A player of great athleticism and endurance, he had a distinctive style and appearance—bowlegged, yet very fast. His muscularity allowed him to put heavy topspin on both his forehand and backhand. He used a then unorthodox two-handed backhand, adapted from the slap shot in hockey, a game he favored as a child. By the time he was 13 he was beating the best of Sweden's under-18 players, and Davis Cup captain Lennart Bergelin cautioned against anyone trying to change Borg's rough-looking, jerky strokes. They were effective.[citation needed]

Borg joined the professional circuit at age 14. In 1972, at the age of 15, Borg became one of the youngest players ever to represent his country in the Davis Cup and won his debut singles rubber in five sets against seasoned professional Onny Parun of New Zealand. Later that year, he won the Wimbledon junior singles title, recovering from a 5–2 deficit in the final set to overcome Britain's Buster Mottram.

In 1973, Borg reached the Wimbledon main draw quarterfinals in his first attempt. Just before his 18th birthday in 1974, Borg won his first top-level singles title at the Italian Open, becoming its youngest winner. Two weeks later he became the then-youngest winner of the French Open defeating Manuel Orantes in the final 2–6, 6–7, 6–0, 6–1, 6–1. Barely 18 at the time, Borg was the youngest-ever male French Open champion (the record has since been lowered by Mats Wilander in 1982 and Michael Chang in 1989).
In early 1975, Borg defeated the great Rod Laver, then 36 years old, in a semifinal of the World Championship Tennis (WCT) finals in Dallas, Texas 7–6, 3–6, 5–7, 7–6, 6–2. Borg subsequently lost to Arthur Ashe in the final.

Borg retained his French Open title in 1975, beating Guillermo Vilas in the final in straight sets (three sets). Borg then reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals, where he lost to eventual champion Ashe 2–6, 6–4, 8–6, 6–1. Borg did not lose another match at Wimbledon until 1981.

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