Loved, hated, envied: Bjorn Borg rewrote the history of tennis between the mid-70s and early 80s. His triumphs at Wimbledon and at the Roland Garros were the icon of men's tennis for almost 45 years. His arrival on the world of tennis was a revolution: many tried to imitate his glacial behivior on the court, others tried to imitate his outfits and his haircut.
His private life was lively and always on the first pages of the gossip magazines. In 1980 Borg married the Romanian tennis player Mariana Simionescu, but the couple divorced just three years later. He will later have a son named Robin from a relationship with the Swedish model Jannike Björling.
In the summer of 1988 he met Loredana Bertè: the Italian singer was decisive in 1989, saving Borg when he attempted suicide. A few months later the two married, but they separated in 1992: only a year earlier Loredana Bertè also attempted suicide.
Borg married for the third time with Patricia Östfeldt in 2002. On the court he had the fire inside, covered up by an external glacial mask. His rivalry with John McEnroe was legendary, even for the opposite behiviors on the courts.
The epochal 1980 Wimbledon final, won by Borg after five wonderful sets (1–6, 7–5, 6–3, 6(16)–7, 8–6) was one of the most important moments in the history of tennis. The 2017 movie Borg-McEnroe with Sverrir Gudnason, Shia LaBeouf and Stellan Skarsgård was also dedicated to the final one.
Bjorn Borg: the man who reinvented the Game
Bjorn won 63 titles, including 6 Roland Garros and 5 Wimbledon. His style of play, supported by the two-handed backhand, was an innovation: he dominated his opponents thanks to technical-athletic standards still unknown at that time.
In those years the Swede was the first to hit the ball with the right constantly from the bottom up, giving it the so-called top-spin by rotating the wrist. With the transition from rackets with wooden frames to aluminum frames, all the advantages of this technique materialize.
With his regular tennis he was able to dominate both clay-courts and grass-courts. Borg was a man of few words: he rarely protested against chair umpires and line judges. He never exulted in a flashy way: he had several nicknames, such as IceBorg or Bear.
He threw tennis too early: he was not even 27 years-old. The pressure he was subjected to to win, his character and the disappointment of the US Open 1981, lost against John McEnroe led him to become depressed and to play in 1982 undertone.
After the final of Flushing Meadows '81 he set off out of court before the start of the awards ceremony and the press conference. When asked about his behavior he sincerely admitted that there was no longer any doubt that McEnroe was the new number 1 in the world and that he did not want to be number 2.
In 1983 he retired, but left a very important legacy , which was later collected by Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, but Bjorn Borg's myth will persist forever in the history of tennis.