Leo Borg’s dream of following in the imposing footsteps of his legendary father began on Monday in front of 68 people on court nine with an impressive start.
Exactly 41 years to the day after Björn Borg won the last of his five titles in the All England Club, his 18-year-old son held the family honor with a win on his Wimbledon Debut with the boys.
Dressed from head to toe in the Italian sportswear brand Fila, just like his father, and with an eerily similar double fist backhand, the young Leo defeated the Serbian player Marko Topo with 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-0.
And Borg, who finished 14th, was just as adept when the inevitable questions about his father flooded the world’s media after his first-round win.
“Being at Wimbledon is always special,” he said. “I remember dad playing here so many times and then retiring. It’s very special to get out there and have the feeling that I might get there one day, just like my father. “
As Borg left the clubhouse on his way to court, he saw the roll of honor, which listed his father’s five championship wins. But it was his father’s thoughts that preoccupied him more. “Of course we talked before the game and he said good luck,” he said. “Normal stuff. He lets my coach get along with the coaching staff. He told me to have a great time, it’s always special to play at Wimbledon. Just enjoy it. “
In the first sentence, Borg followed these instructions to the letter and wowed the crowd with impressive basic strokes from both sides and an adorable tweenie. But in the face of the 5-3 win in the second set, he lost three match points before losing the tie-breaker.
Borg senior was known as Ice-Borg. But at that point, his son looked like he was melting. But it said a lot about his courage that he quickly recovered to love the last sentence – and then made no secret of his desire to go all the way.
“My goal is to become a professional tennis player and play at the highest level,” he said. “I know it’s difficult to get there, I’m doing my best and I hope I can get there.”
When asked if that meant a challenge for Grand Slam titles, he nodded. “Of course, of course. It’s my dream to play the big ones and to play for big titles. If I work hard, maybe one day I’ll make it.”
He still has a way to go. Right now, Borg has a world ranking of 2,090 and career earnings of $ 4,686. However, since he didn’t really start training until he was 14 when he switched from soccer to tennis, he believes there is plenty of room for improvement.
In the past, his mother, Patricia, has admitted that she cried over Leo because she was constantly compared to his father and subjected to an unbearable test, while Björn used the term “burden” when describing the Borg surname.
Borg, however, who trained at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Spain and at the Royal tennis Club in Sweden has made significant strides in the face of travel restrictions imposed by Covid since trying to qualify for the boys’ event at the age of 15.
And he insists he doesn’t worry about having the weight of his father’s expectations or inheritance on his shoulders. “No. I like doing my own things, going my own way, and it’s not good to think about the pressure. I don’t think about it much.”