Sunday, June 06, 2010
The fellow above is one Bjorn Borg, born this day 1956 in Sodertalje, Sweden. Since today is his country's national day, and one of his compatriots is currently getting his ass handed to him in the French Open, I figured that Borg should be today's hero. He made his professional debut at the age of 14, and became the (at the time) youngest winner of the French Open in 1974, at the tender age of 18. Then, at the age of 20, he became (at the time) the youngest winner of Wimbledon. From 1978-1980 he won both the French Open and Wimbledon, which tennis officials consider to be an almost impossible feat, only two men Nadal and Federer (both pretty good themselves) have managed to pull it off since Borg did, and he did it three years in a row. At his peak, he was damn near unbeatable. With his rough-looking, jerky strokes, he played powerful ground strokes from the baseline, and added a two handed backhand shot that he had picked up from his childhood hockey playing days. His one jinx was the U.S. Open, he lost in the finals of it four times, and he only played the Australian Open once. However, back when he was playing all of this wonderful tennis, it was quite common for players to skip Grand Slam tourneys. It was not like today, when all that is talked about is how many Grand Slams or Grand Slam events a player has won. His calm demeanor, and coolness under pressure won him the nickname Ice-Borg. Part of his success was attributed to his wonderful conditioning, although it was not, as rumor had it, based solely upon his low resting heart rate (for his military exam at the age of 18, his pulse rate was recorded as 38), he was just one determined motherfucker. His loss at the finals of the 1981 U. S. Open to John McEnroe effectively ended his career, and he retired from tennis at the age of 26. Twenty-six years old, and had won Wimbledon 5 times, and the French Open six times. We will skip over his attempt at a comeback in the early 90's, the less said of it the better. We prefer to remember him as he is in the picture above, winning and playing some glorious, groundbreaking tennis. So, for that glorious tennis, Bjorn Borg (June 6th, 1956-present), you are my (284th) hero of the day.