Back in the days of wooden rackets, white tennis balls and nothing to drink but Robinson's Barley Water, there was a seventies Swede who was right up there with Abba in the British public's affections.
That Swede was Bjorn Borg and during a relatively brief 11-year pro career, he netted 11 men's singles Grand Slam titles, including five straight Wimbledon crowns.
Borg was a baseliner who relied on speed, agility and precise, often two-handed, ground strokes to wear down and then completely dismantle his opponents. His modern equivalent would be Rafa Nadal, only less Spanish and more right-handed.
Borg's amazing success and popularity was helped in no small measure by the many epic battles he had with a couple of Americans. The quiet and reserved 'Ice Borg' first took on brash and noisy lefty Jimmy Connors, who served as the warm-up man for the main event – Borg's titanic matches with brash and noisy lefty John McEnroe. These two totally defined what men's tennis was in the seventies and into the early eighties and both are rightly regarded as two of the game's all-time greats.
Borg retired at the tender age of 25 and embarked on various business enterprises, not all of which were as successful as his on-court activities. He attempted an ill-advised comeback – still using a wooden racket – in the 90s before reminding everyone just how good he was with success on the senior circuit. But only after ditching wood for graphite.
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