Bjorn Borg was the first teenage star of modern tennis, bursting onto the scene in 1972 and winning his first titles in 1974, including Roland Garros. By 22, at the end of 1978, the Swede had conquered almost 40 ATP titles and six Majors, forging his way towards undisputed tennis glory.
At the end of 1980, Bjorn was a walking legend and one of the best players ever despite turning 24 in June. One could have only wondered what his career would look like when he turns 30! Bjorn was the dominant figure on both clay and grass and one of the toughest players to beat on outdoor hard courts and indoor as well, using incredible stamina and fitness to crumble rivals and impose his strokes.
Sick and tired of traveling and competing, Bjorn decided to take a break in 1982 and never fully returned, staying on 11 Major trophies and over 60 ATP titles. The Swede claimed six Roland Garros trophies between 1974-1981, standing as the second most successful player in Paris in the Open era behind Rafael Nadal.
In one interview, Bjorn admitted he would have loved to face Rafa at Roland Garros in their primes, understanding he would have probably lost it but wishing to embrace that challenge.
Bjorn Borg would have loved to face Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros.
"I think tennis has changed a lot in the last couple of decades; players hit the ball much harder than in the past.
When I see my son Leo playing, I understand how tough it is to achieve good results, with so many high-quality rivals around you, already from junior days. Tennis is one of the most fantastic sports globally, and I love it so much.
I would have done it again because I'm happy with what I accomplished in tennis and what the game gave me; it's a great satisfaction. The most striking change I see in today's tennis is the racquets and strings.
You can hit with more topspin nowadays, and it was completely different in the past. It would be interesting to see what the future offers in those segments. To make a name for yourself in tennis, you have to move well and understand how to hit a forehand, backhand, volley and a good serve.
Also, you need to have a big heart and motivation to be a tennis player. You can not tell how your career will develop, but you always have to dream about big goals and play with determination and desire. I would have liked to play with Rafa Nadal at Roland Garros.
He has been the best clay-courter in history, and my greatest wish would be to play against him in Paris when we are both at the top of our games. I'm sure he would beat me, but it would be a challenge of my life," Bjorn Borg said.