Stefan Edberg is a retired tennis player from Sweden, who was very highly regarded for his elegant style of play, his incredible volleys, and his sportsmanlike qualities.
Edberg was one of the best players in the world during the late 80s and early 90s, winning 6 singles Grand Slams and spending a considerable amount of time ranked World No. 1. His rivalry with Boris Becker is one of the most memorable in tennis history, and the two contested 3 consecutive Wimbledon finals from 1988 to 1990.
Best finish at each of the four Grand Slams:
Australian Open: 2-time Champion (1985, 1987)
French Open: Runner-up (1989)
Wimbledon: 2-time Champion (1988, 1990)
US Open: 2-time Champion (1991, 1992)
Highest Ranking: No. 1
No. of weeks at No. 1: 72
Style of play
Edberg was a quintessential serve-and-volleyer, who would rush the net with abandon no matter what the match situation. He almost never stayed back at the baseline during his service games, and even while returning he would frequently chip and charge.
Edberg didn't rely on sheer serve speed to set up points at the net; instead, he often used a slice serve or a kick serve to give him more time to set up shop in the forecourt.
Edberg's groundstrokes had a fair amount of topspin on them, although he could flatten his backhand very easily when he got a short ball. He also used the backhand slice liberally, putting a lot of underspin and sidespin on it.
Strengths and weaknesses
Edberg's biggest asset was clearly his net game. Widely considered one of the finest exponents of the serve-and-volley game ever seen in tennis, Edberg could make his attacking approach work even on clay and other slow courts.
That said, the Swede achieved most of his success on fast courts, particularly grass. The skidding nature of the grasscourt surface added extra bite to his already zipping volleys, and he could also hit excellent overhead smashes when players tried to lob him. Edberg had unbelievable reflexes and athleticism at the net, and he could put away even the hardest of passing shots with ease.
Edberg's serve was not the quickest, but he could direct it very effectively to set up his net attacks. His kick serve in particular was very effective, forcing the opponent to move outside the court which then enabled him to close the net.
The Swede's backhand was one of the best of its time. He could use both the topspin version and the slice to devastating effect; his backhand was almost as effective a finishing shot as his volley.
Edberg's forehand was one of the weak areas of his game, and he often failed to get enough penetration off it. His return was also not the greatest, and he sometimes struggled to break his opponent's serve.
Edberg was born in Vastervik, Sweden, and was an exceptionally successful junior. He won all the four junior Grand Slams in 1983, become the first (and so far only) player in the Open Era to do so.
Edberg married famous model Annette Hjort Olsen, who was earlier in a relationship with Mats Wilander, in 1992. Stefan and Annette currently live in London, and have two children together - Emilie and Christopher.
Edberg's professional career got off to a bad start, as he inadvertently caused the death of linesman Dick Wertheim with a mishit serve at the 1983 US Open. But he managed to put that incident behind him to win the Australian Open title just two years later.
Edberg's rivalry with Boris Becker took on legendary proportions during the late 80s. Both of them constantly rushed the net and hit some miraculous stretch volleys, leaving spectators all over the world speechless.
The Swede was always a model of professionalism and politeness throughout his career. To honor his impeccable grace both on the court and off it, the ATP named its annual sportsmanship accolade - the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship award - after him.
After his retirement, Edberg has remained in the tennis consciousness with his numerous public appearances. He even coached Roger Federer from 2014 to 2015, and he continues to be a good friend and adviser to the Swiss legend.