If you are a fan of tennis, then you will be aware of the names and skills of the recent greats in the tennis world. However, if you were born around the 80s, 90s, or 00s, you probably won’t remember the name Bjorn Borg, unless you heard others talk about him.
But, if others did talk about him, they did for a reason. He set the bar for the greats we know today like Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, McEnroe, and so on. He set the bar, and he set it very high!
He ruled Wimbledon, if the biggest tennis event in Europe ever had a king it was Borg.
When people who loved tennis decided to start betting on sports lines, you know that Borg was right up there, and if he was playing today, you can sure as hell bet that everyone would be placing their bets on Borg to win.
He was just that good, but, how? Tennis is not the easiest of sports to be a complete legend at, so how did Borg slay so hard on the tennis courts?
Let’s introduce you to the man who was the spotlight of all tennis in the 70s!
Who Was Bjorn Borg?
So, who was this sure legend? Well, he is a former Swedish number 1 world tennis player, and in the years between ‘74 and ‘81 he was the first ever man in the Open Era to win 11 Grand Slams in the singles, he won 6 in the French Open and 5 one after the other in Wimbledon.
He never won the U.S. Open, even though he made it to the finals 4 times over, but nonetheless, he is the first ever male player to win 5 titles in the Open, and not only that, but he is also the only Swedish player, ever, to win more than 10 Grand Slams overall!
He was a legend, and he was good at winning. He turned pro in 1973, and he retired in 1984, but he did make a brief comeback from 1991 until 1993, so, maybe some young blood tennis enthusiasts may remember the name from his reemergence.
Polarizing Tennis In The 70s
Not only did Bjorn Borg have a massive appeal to fans, but his exceptional tennis ability, good looks, and his sweet shy guy manner made him a teen idol in tennis when he first began playing.
He was like a superstar, he was the Beatles of tennis. He absolutely dominated the tennis world in the 70s, and he quickly gained the nickname ‘iceman’ for his rather frosty temperament on the courts. He never let his opponents get a hint at what he would do.
He was a ‘cool cat’ to say the least, he walked onto the court with a relaxed manner, his long hair was like that of a chilled-out rock star, and his headbands gave him that cool Hippy Vibe.
No one in sport rose to the heights he did so fast and in such a manner as the way Borg did, but it was not just how cool he was that got people hooked, it was how he played. And his ‘coolness’ was just a part of that.
There was no tension, or anxiety, it was like he was just ready, all the time, for whatever was coming.
His name stands in shining lights in a good 6 or so of the all-time best tennis records out there.
He won nearly 90% of all his 11 major titles without losing a single set, he also managed to capture 2 successive channel slams, and had 14 victories one after the other from 1978-1980 in semifinals.
In Wimbledon his winning percentage was at 92.7% which was based on a 51-4 unbroken record that he achieved in his play from 1973 to 1981.
He was also reeling from a 49-2 winning run in the French Open, which was only recently surpassed by Nadal, although we do not think anyone else will be surpassing these two records for quite some time!
While he was a legend at both Wimbledon and the French open, he dominated Wimbledon at all time. He was widely seen as one of the best tennis players to have ever graced the sport.
He won so much, and had such a crazy high success rate, and his entire play he did with an old wooden Donnay racket, would you believe such a thing!
His 1980 Wimbledon final became folklore, known as one of the greatest matches ever. He was up against the newbie John McEnroe. They were the irresistible force together against an immovable object.
It has the air of an instant classic game that would go down in history, and it did.
Borg led two-sets to one, and the fourth headed into a tie.
For the next 34 points, McEnroe saved 5 before he sent it into a deciding set. Borg went to 19 points and prevailed after 3:53 hours of non-stop back and forth battle with McEnroe.
It is no wonder that it became a moment in tennis history we will never forget.