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View Full Version : Mats Wilander Commands A Davis Cup Ship Lost At Sea...


Mickey Finn
07-06-2007, 12:57 AM
Remember the glory days of Swedish tennis? What happened?

For many years, Swedish Davis Cup teams stormed Davis Cup ties in great Viking ships with the likes of Borg, Edberg and Wilander ready to battle. They competed as if they were emboldened with Fly Agaric like the Swedish madmen of years past.

Now Mats Wilander captains a floating bathtub, filling with water and lost at sea. Rowed with planks of wood by peg boys like Robin Soderling (an apathetic brat) and Joachim Johansson, Swedish tennis is sinking in distant seas.

Jonas Bjorkman and Thomas Johansson are class acts, but are too old to right the ship.

Any hope for Swedish tennis?

andreh
07-06-2007, 02:23 AM
I think it's a question of normalization. Sweden is a small country and the incredible peak in the 80s after Borg must be viewed as an extraordinarily rare thing. Three of the best players ever plus a handful of "tier 2" players from a country that has 9 million inhabitants! It was always impossible for Sweden to keep that kind of level going and now Sweden has taken a more rightful place in the national hierarchy. It is perhaps a bit unfair to expect that level to kept. Like Edberg said in some Swedish interview, "It won't happen again for a 100 years".

ElSuegro
07-07-2007, 04:50 AM
It seems like the country thing goes in waves, to keep it in nautical terms. While Sweden's and Germany's waves have died down, others, like Argentina's, Russia's, and Spain's have arisen. The US has been at a pretty even keel, with men and women consistently in the top 10.

slice bh compliment
07-07-2007, 04:57 AM
Nice metaphor. El Suegro, props on using the keel.

Yeah, Swedish tennis was huge in the 80s and 90s. Even in NCAA tennis, there were a lot of Swedes. Good guys, all of 'em I remember.

Now, I think of Sweden, I think of blonde girls, golf and hockey.

old_school_tennis
07-09-2007, 09:45 AM
Yeah, not sure what happened to Swedish tennis. At their peak, they were so fun to watch. Those mid to late 80s were when they were so dominant and when I really got serious about the game. As a result, those guys shaped my game. I tried to pattern my serve after Edberg's corkscrew-twister and my groundies after the human backboard, Mats Wilander himself. In fact there was a Tennis magazine from the mid-80s that had a picture sequence of Mats and the boys' groundstrokes that I disected and emulated. Those guys could stay out there for days hitting groundstrokes that were deep and heavy. Let's bring 'em back!

Mickey Finn
07-21-2007, 09:00 AM
Wilander's backhand was among the best ever, especially down-the-line. Since he dominated with his right arm, he made the transition to a one-handed slice better than any other two-hander of his time. The best of both worlds -- two hands for topspin and flat shots, and one hand for slice, approaches and volleys. He was the first top player to do this.

As for his forehand...hmmm. Very smooth and effortless looping topsin, but not good at generating power or hitting through the ball. All his shots were so smooth and effortless, as was his deceptively fast movement. One word describes the old Wilander game -- cool. The same is true regarding Borg and Edberg.

peter
07-22-2007, 11:54 PM
Remember the glory days of Swedish tennis? What happened?
...
Any hope for Swedish tennis?

Two words describe what happened: Golf and Floorball. Those two sports grabbed a lot of the talent base that was left after the other big sports (soccer and hockey/bandy) had grabbed it's bite. Sweden is a small country so that left tennis more or less powerless. Then other things happened too - the tennis people got lazy and complacent and thought that since things were going so well with Edberg/Wilander/Järryd/Norman/Gustavsson and many many more that they didn't have to do anything. Big mistake. BIIIIG mistake.

These days tennis has just recently started gaining momentum again. But for some reason mostly in the girls side. There are quite some very good girls in the age 10-13 that show real promise coming up now. So I think we have a good chance of seeing some good Swedes in the WTA tour in some 5-8 years.

The boys side is not so good though. So it looks really bad for the future when Björkman and T. Johansson retires. With just Söderling, a constantly injured JJ, an injured clay-court specialist Andreas Vinciguerra and some guys hacking it out at lower level tournaments... Well, it'll be a miracle if Sweden can stay in the top Davis Cup division much longer.

Marius_Hancu
07-23-2007, 12:51 AM
Yes, it's about going for and using the best genes available.

These are limited in any nation, and recruting must be done in the 8-10year olds. If you're not getting their imagination going there, you lose them.

Gorecki
08-01-2007, 12:08 AM
The US has been at a pretty even keel, with men and women consistently in the top 10.

True! but if you look at a map on the Slam winners , there has been a clear and consistent decrease of americans wins since 1999,

and by the way, what is going with Nick's Talent school... at least in males (not females). is it loosing its glitter? (not a joke, real curiosity)

Richie Rich
08-05-2007, 06:05 PM
Yes, it's about going for and using the best genes available.

These are limited in any nation, and recruting must be done in the 8-10year olds. If you're not getting their imagination going there, you lose them.

guess we lose a lot up here, don't we?

Ted Ghost Shackley
08-11-2007, 09:47 PM
Two words describe what happened: Golf and Floorball. Those two sports grabbed a lot of the talent base that was left after the other big sports (soccer and hockey/bandy) had grabbed it's bite. Sweden is a small country so that left tennis more or less powerless. Then other things happened too - the tennis people got lazy and complacent and thought that since things were going so well with Edberg/Wilander/Järryd/Norman/Gustavsson and many many more that they didn't have to do anything. Big mistake. BIIIIG mistake.

These days tennis has just recently started gaining momentum again. But for some reason mostly in the girls side. There are quite some very good girls in the age 10-13 that show real promise coming up now. So I think we have a good chance of seeing some good Swedes in the WTA tour in some 5-8 years.

The boys side is not so good though. So it looks really bad for the future when Björkman and T. Johansson retires. With just Söderling, a constantly injured JJ, an injured clay-court specialist Andreas Vinciguerra and some guys hacking it out at lower level tournaments... Well, it'll be a miracle if Sweden can stay in the top Davis Cup division much longer.

It is too bad about Swedish tennis as they had a great history. Guys like Wilander and Edberg came from working class backgrounds and made it in a sport where you need a lot of money to train and play junior tournaments.

I think there has been less money to train Swedes who aren't rich for many years now. The team spirit and government funding of tennis were a big factor in Sweden's success in the 1980's and early 1990's.

I spent some time in Sweden and have quite a few Swedish friends. I feel bad for them as Swedish tennis is dead, film great Ingmar Bergman has passed away, but ABBA lives on. Terrible twist of fate for Sweden.

The glory days of Swedish tennis can only be viewed on VHS (maybe with Peter Bjorn and John or The Hellacopters soundtract, but still history). I think not enough Swedes are hungry for tennis, but more importantly tennis is beyond the economic reach of most of the best Swedish athletes.

slagvaerk
08-12-2007, 03:46 AM
I agree fully with Peter in the above. But I'd also like to add another reason:

Swedish sport journalists were spoilt hugely during the 80's and 90's. Nowadays, the major papers/TV-channels in Sweden cover tennis only marginally, that is, unless Björkman faces Federer in a Wimbledon SF or so. To reach sports headlines in Sweden you must perform _extremely_ well as a tennis player since everyone will always compare your success with that of the former giants. Hence, young kids do not see tennis players in the sport news and their idols become instead the athletes from hockey, soccer, etc. You are more likely to hear the latest tennis scores via CNN Sport News…

Btw, a little off topic, here are some images from a recent tournament featuring Mats Wilander, Anders Järryd, Mikael Pernfors,
Joakim Nyström, Magnus Gustafsson, Magnus Larsson and Christian Ruud:
http://www.tennisfest.se/
(Just click on "Foton här" on the Swedish version of the site)

Rabbit
08-12-2007, 08:33 AM
Well they may not be at the level they were in the 80's with Wilander & Edberg, but lost at sea? That seems a little extreme especially considering they are in the semis of this year's Davis Cup. And to be fair they stand a better than even chance of defeating the US squad in Sweden on clay. A win would put them in the finals. By comparison, the US squad looks like the team headed up a proverbial tributary with no apparent means of propulsion other than a bodily limb. Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't Sweden made the finals more recently than the US?

goober
08-12-2007, 09:30 AM
Well they may not be at the level they were in the 80's with Wilander & Edberg, but lost at sea? That seems a little extreme especially considering they are in the semis of this year's Davis Cup. And to be fair they stand a better than even chance of defeating the US squad in Sweden on clay. A win would put them in the finals. By comparison, the US squad looks like the team headed up a proverbial tributary with no apparent means of propulsion other than a bodily limb. Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't Sweden made the finals more recently than the US?

I don't think Davis Cup is really a good barometer about how a country is doing in tennis. Top players can decide not to play and the conditions are not exactly even with too much advantage given to the home country. How a country does in slams and masters level events as well as number of top 25 or 50 players is a better indication.

BTW Sweden has chosen fast carpet indoors as their surface not clay.

Mikael
08-12-2007, 09:51 AM
I guess it all started going downhill after 2000 or so, with the 70s generation bowing out (Enqvist, Norman, Gustafsson, Tillström, Larsson, Kulti...), some a little prematurely. It's a miracle Björkman is still up there, and T. Johansson already looks like a spent force.

The "new generation" should have been Vinciguerra and J. Johansson, but...

Mickey Finn
08-18-2007, 03:34 AM
Sorry, blown post.

Mickey Finn
08-21-2007, 02:44 AM
I guess it all started going downhill after 2000 or so, with the 70s generation bowing out (Enqvist, Norman, Gustafsson, Tillström, Larsson, Kulti...), some a little prematurely. It's a miracle Björkman is still up there, and T. Johansson already looks like a spent force.

Many of these guys would make excellent coaches, if there is enough money in Swedish tennis to pay them to train prospects.

Mickey Finn
08-23-2007, 01:59 AM
Johansson and Soderling have withdrawn from the U.S. Open. These guys (and Vinciguerra) are strangely injury prone. Anyone know what is wrong with Johansson and Soderling?

Maybe Captain Wilander has ordered them to withraw with "injuries" so he could sequester them in a secret boot camp in the Stockholm archipelago, where the wild-eyed Wilander (like Brando's Kurtz in Apocalypse Now) has a secret world where his Davis Cup team works twenty hours a day, hoping to beat the U.S. team. Every time a Silja or Viking Line ship goes by, Johansson and Soderling run towards the ship screaming and waving their arms, only to be tackled by Wilander's men and dragged back to the Wilander tennis court bunker.

Anyway, this is my theory.

slice bh compliment
08-23-2007, 04:38 AM
Mickey,
Yes, How did you know?
The name of this island you speak of is Kattillo. Bjorn Borg has had a place there, and used to practice there with Vitas. It is a strange and mysterious little island full of both Viking AND alien lore.
Wilander is definitely up to something. And that something is on Kattillo.

[cues up X-files theme music...fade to black]

peter
08-23-2007, 05:17 AM
Johansson and Soderling have withdrawn from the U.S. Open. These guys (and Vinciguerra) are strangely injury prone. Anyone know what is wrong with Johansson and Soderling?


You just have to look at their bodies to figure it out. Hard hitters without the needed muscles to make things stable. Add to that a somewhat forced technique in some cases and I think it's a recepie for trouble. Too much tennis playing and drilling and too little "boring" conditioning and general workout outside the courts.

Jonas Björkman is the direct opposite - there you have a guy that works his a* off outside the courts to keep in good conditioning. And lo-and-behold - he keeps on playing for year after year without any serious injurys.

Joachim Johansson says he has learned his lesson - *now*. But I think it's too late for him. He should have done the brunt of his hard and boring work while growing up.

peter
08-23-2007, 05:25 AM
I don't think Davis Cup is really a good barometer about how a country is doing in tennis. Top players can decide not to play and the conditions are not exactly even with too much advantage given to the home country. How a country does in slams and masters level events as well as number of top 25 or 50 players is a better indication.

BTW Sweden has chosen fast carpet indoors as their surface not clay.

Also, a set of good players can "mask" how a country is doing for a pretty long time (like we've had Björkman, T. Johansson, J. Johansson, R. Söderling to "depend" on for some time now).

The big problem is that there is absolutely *nothing* that comes after them.

And with Björkman and probably TJ soon to withdraw from the game (1-2 years from now - my guess), we're only left with a constantly injured JJ and Söderling...

Mickey Finn
08-27-2007, 07:43 PM
Also, a set of good players can "mask" how a country is doing for a pretty long time (like we've had Björkman, T. Johansson, J. Johansson, R. Söderling to "depend" on for some time now).

The big problem is that there is absolutely *nothing* that comes after them.

And with Björkman and probably TJ soon to withdraw from the game (1-2 years from now - my guess), we're only left with a constantly injured JJ and Söderling...

Any guess who Sweden will play in the upcoming tie with the U.S.? Blake and Roddick should like the fast courts.

slagvaerk
08-28-2007, 12:17 PM
Any guess who Sweden will play in the upcoming tie with the U.S.? Blake and Roddick should like the fast courts.

I'd say Thomas Johansson and Robin Söderling, and Björkman/TJ in the doubles. But that is just me guessing. And they all favor fast courts btw, looks like things will become interesting...:cool:

I guess Joachim "Pim-Pim" Johansson
simply have had a too long time off because of those *beep* injuries to be enrolled in the DC team...but, you never know with Pim-Pim, remember last year, when he _did_ beat Nadal in straight sets coming rather immediately from a loooong injury break...(Stokholm Open)...

Ted Ghost Shackley
08-31-2007, 02:32 AM
I'd say Thomas Johansson and Robin Söderling, and Björkman/TJ in the doubles. But that is just me guessing. And they all favor fast courts btw, looks like things will become interesting...:cool:

I guess Joachim "Pim-Pim" Johansson
simply have had a too long time off because of those *beep* injuries to be enrolled in the DC team...but, you never know with Pim-Pim, remember last year, when he _did_ beat Nadal in straight sets coming rather immediately from a loooong injury break...(Stokholm Open)...

J. Johansson had a brilliant serve and forehand, but a suspect backhand. He was like Roddick in this regard. Peter is right about the young Swedes. Why are they not getting better advice regarding training?

VikingSamurai
08-31-2007, 03:28 AM
Its funny how you people never mention Australia, or Australian Tennis and Australian tennis players in your discussions..

Do some homework.. We have probably been lean with champions in the last 30 years, but still, most of the records are held by Australians.. Including the best man and woman to ever play the game..

slice bh compliment
08-31-2007, 05:52 AM
Well, Chrissy, this thread is about those funny guys from the other end of the planet.

And anyway, who never mentions Aussies in tennis? Come on, man, you people practically wrote the book. Especially with regard to Davis Cup.


Hoad, Sedge, Newk, Stolle, the Rocket, Muscles, Emmo, Nails, Maggie Court, Patty Rafter, Ashley Cooper and John Bromwich, Evonne Goolagong...the list goes on.

We'll forgive you for Cashy and Hewitt if you'll forgive us for Connors. Okay?

slagvaerk
08-31-2007, 10:01 AM
J. Johansson had a brilliant serve and forehand, but a suspect backhand. He was like Roddick in this regard. Peter is right about the young Swedes. Why are they not getting better advice regarding training?

Speaking of Joachim "Pim-Pim" Johansson: _Today_ the Swedish national television claim that he'll be playing the upcoming tournament in Thailand September 24-30 after 8 months leave because of a shoulder injury... :)

VikingSamurai
08-31-2007, 04:49 PM
Well, Chrissy, this thread is about those funny guys from the other end of the planet.

And anyway, who never mentions Aussies in tennis? Come on, man, you people practically wrote the book. Especially with regard to Davis Cup.


Hoad, Sedge, Newk, Stolle, the Rocket, Muscles, Emmo, Nails, Maggie Court, Patty Rafter, Ashley Cooper and John Bromwich, Evonne Goolagong...the list goes on.

We'll forgive you for Cashy and Hewitt if you'll forgive us for Connors. Okay?

Oh yeah, I dont know why I went off on that rant, I even read this thread from the start.. I need another lie down..

Mickey Finn
09-01-2007, 08:21 PM
Speaking of Joachim "Pim-Pim" Johansson: _Today_ the Swedish national television claim that he'll be playing the upcoming tournament in Thailand September 24-30 after 8 months leave because of a shoulder injury... :)

Seeing how Thomas Johansson played against Roddick, might Joachim be the Johansson of choice for Davis Cup if he fares well in Thailand?

Ted Ghost Shackley
09-05-2007, 02:06 AM
Seeing how Thomas Johansson played against Roddick, might Joachim be the Johansson of choice for Davis Cup if he fares well in Thailand?

Mickey, I don't think you noticed the dates for the Thailand Open. The Davis Cup tie runs from 21-23 September, while the Thailand Open runs from 24-30 September. Joachim Johansson will not have any match play before Davis Cup.

Roddick and Nadal are entered in the Thailand Open as well. Can you still collect your appearance fee if you are marketed to sell a tournament but don't make it to the country? I'd be very surprised if either Roddick or Nadal show up in Thailand.

slagvaerk
09-09-2007, 02:30 AM
I'd say Thomas Johansson and Robin Söderling, and Björkman/TJ in the doubles. But that is just me guessing. And they all favor fast courts btw, looks like things will become interesting...:cool:


Hmmm, I guess I'll have to change that prediction to also include Simon Aspelin! :D

Yet, Björkman and Aspelin have (to my knowledge) never been a successfull duo, while TJ and Björkman have performed well as a doubles team...hmmmm.... :confused:

slagvaerk
09-11-2007, 08:03 AM
....and today the Swedish team was announced:
Simon Aspelin, Jonas Björkman, Thomas Johansson and Joachim Johansson (!). Söderling is (preliminary) not in the team (wrist injury).

Mickey Finn
09-11-2007, 11:37 PM
Joachim Johansson is an interesting wild card in the tie.

Mickey Finn
09-14-2007, 07:50 PM
Wilander has high strategy for building Swedish mojo...

SWEDISH HIGH HOPES

The pre-match hype for the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas semifinal tie between USA and Sweden is already in full flow. Old Swedish Davis Cup legends literally took to the roof of the Scandinavium arena in Gothenburg, where the semifinal is due to take place.
http://www.daviscup.com/news/newsarticle.asp?articleid=14240

Mickey Finn
09-23-2007, 08:16 PM
Also, a set of good players can "mask" how a country is doing for a pretty long time (like we've had Björkman, T. Johansson, J. Johansson, R. Söderling to "depend" on for some time now).

The big problem is that there is absolutely *nothing* that comes after them.

And with Björkman and probably TJ soon to withdraw from the game (1-2 years from now - my guess), we're only left with a constantly injured JJ and Söderling...

It was good to see all the past Swedish champions at Davis Cup. Sweden has done quite well for a country of nine million people.