Former Wimbledon champions Boris Becker, of Germany, and Stefan Edberg, of Sweden, say they both miss being at Wimbledon this year, which was cancelled for the first time since World War II due to the global pandemic.
Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg on the cancellation of Wimbledon
Becker and Edberg enjoyed a great rivalry at Wimbledon, playing three finals in a row from 1988 to 1990 and both won multiple titles at the All England Club.
Speaking with Mats Wilander on the Eurosport Tennis Legends vodcast, Boris Becker commented, "Well, it's a bit like Christmas. Imagine someone taking Christmas from you, not only in London, UK, but all over the world, anyone who loves tennis.
Those first two weeks of July are very precious, almost sacred. The whole world gathers playing on the grass. I miss it. It is difficult. I have been doing this for the last 35 years. The previous weekend was weird not preparing for The Championships.
On April 1, I thought it was a joke, but it was not.. they actually canceled the championship. Obviously, we were in the middle of this incredible crisis, but I was a little surprised." Edberg says he was also looking forward to being at Wimbledon this year.
"We all miss Wimbledon. Wimbledon is very special to me and to all tennis players because it is what it is, but all the tradition and history . I lived in London for fifteen or sixteen years, so it was my second home. I haven't been there every year since then, but this year, yes, obviously I would have been there.
So it's something I will really miss. They made a pretty quick decision, but I guess they always have a lot to think about. I think it was a good decision because things were escalating in England. So I think it was the right thing to do at the time.
I was like: wow, this is serious." Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg met 35 times during their careers with Becker leading their overall head-to-head series 25–10. The highlight of their rivalry was the three successive Wimbledon finals that they played from 1988 to 1990 with Edberg winning the 1988 title, Becker winning in 1989 and Edberg winning once again in 1990.
Becker and Edberg also returned as coaches to Wimbledon with the German coaching Novak Djokovic and Edberg coaching Roger Federer a few years ago.