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View Full Version : Stefan Edberg one of the greatest?


tenalyser
02-02-2006, 11:40 AM
Today I visited edberg.free.fr and watched some edberg videos and I'm very impressed about his serve-volley skills. His serve and volley skills are the best I have ever seen even better than Sampras and the same goes for his Backhand. I'm just wondering how a player of this level of talent only won 6 Slams (5 runner up). The 1992 Us open final is a good example of his greatness when he totally outplayed Pete Sampras. I have seen more or his matches but I was just a kid then and Edberg was already past his peak. So why didn't he win more than 6 Slams? Where the other guys simply better than him or did he waste his chances?

devilish_duke
02-02-2006, 11:45 AM
I'm probably around your age so I wouldn't know, but thanks for tellin' us bout the site. It's way cool.

random1
02-02-2006, 11:50 AM
only 6? How many guys in the modern era have won more? 6 slams is a bunch. Could he have won more? 6-5 record in finals is only ok, most of the guys with lots of slams probably have better records than that when it came to crunch time(Agassi is a notable exception).
Also, he won his last slam at age 26, so he didn't stay at the highest level long enough. It's not unusual to see guys reach the top and lose some of the drive and motivation once they get there. Others, like Sampras and Agassi, stay hungry and keep playing at a high level.
I love Edberg's game, a great player to watch, and by all accounts an extremely nice guy as well.

Moose Malloy
02-02-2006, 11:57 AM
He won his last slam at 26, but was still a top 5 player when he was 28. He declined rather suddenly in '95(at 29), due to natural loss of speed(can't remember if he had an injury)
Like McEnroe, his game required him to be have perfect foot-work, speed, etc in order to compete at the highest level. He didn't have the power of a Becker(who while the same age as Stefan was able to remain a legit threat to win big events until he retired) so he always had to be on his game. A step too slow & he was toast unlike Agassi & Sampras who can use their power to make up for lack of mobility at an older age.

He also had the disadvantage of having his career intersect with so many great players, Sampras, Agassi, Courier, Becker, Wilander & most importantly Lendl. There were only so many major titles to go around. Early in his career he was a bit of a choker, so he might have been able to win more major titles if he controlled those emotions earlier.
Also a bit unlucky, he pulled a stomach muscle while he was beating Lendl in the 1990 Australian Open final & had to retire.

He is one of only a few players to reach the finals of all 4 slams in the open era.

IMO, he's the best mover I've ever seen(at least until Fed came along) Great athlete, that Edberg.

rfprse
02-02-2006, 12:02 PM
Yup. He's one of the greatest.
He didn't have a longevity but it's simply because his game was not based on a weapon that can bail him out even when he lost a slight step.
Probably one of the best serve and volleyers (him & J mac) and his ground game was no slouch either.

Michael Haller
02-02-2006, 12:04 PM
Today I visited edberg.free.fr and watched some edberg videos and I'm very impressed about his serve-volley skills. His serve and volley skills are the best I have ever seen even better than Sampras and the same goes for his Backhand. I'm just wondering how a player of this level of talent only won 6 Slams (5 runner up). The 1992 Us open final is a good example of his greatness when he totally outplayed Pete Sampras. I have seen more or his matches but I was just a kid then and Edberg was already past his peak. So why didn't he win more than 6 Slams? Where the other guys simply better than him or did he waste his chances?


Edberg didn't have class.
He retired in the 1990 AO final against Lendl ...

chaognosis
02-02-2006, 12:07 PM
I think Edberg's achievements are commensurate with his abilities. I agree he may have had the finest total serve-and-volley game of the modern era (though there have been better volleyers [e.g., McEnroe] and better servers [e.g., Sampras]), but six major championship titles and two back-to-back years as the top-ranked player in the world is a pretty impressive resume. There was a great deal of parity at the top of men's tennis in the late-80s/early-90s, so I don't find it too terribly surprising that Wilander, Becker, and Edberg all ended up having similarly productive careers, with Lendl a cut above.

Brettolius
02-02-2006, 12:58 PM
Edberg didn't have class.
He retired in the 1990 AO final against Lendl ...
Uuhhh, right. Not even close to the same thing as the womens final this year, you troll. And no, this has nothing to do with Graf or Seles. Your posts are worthless and your anti-American sentiments would be offensive if I didn't consider you a little piece of corn in a great big turd. Out.

VGP
02-02-2006, 12:59 PM
Edberg didn't have class.
He retired in the 1990 AO final against Lendl ...

That's crap. He pulled abdominal muscles. You try and hit a kick serve injured in that way and see what decision you would make. If he kept playing it would have threatened his year. He did go on to win Wimbledon in a great five setter against Becker in 1990.

If you're making a correlation to Justine Henin-Hardenne's retirement, then it's a bad one.

As for having 6 slams. He's no slouch. People now are just spoiled by Sampras and Federer.

Edberg was a better "textbook" volleyer than McEnroe. Mac had better touch, but Edberg's volley's had more sting.

The reason that Edberg didn't win more slams and his career tapered off was a combination of a loss of speed, or inability to keep up with the changes of the game in the mid 90's along with players being able to handle his kick serve better.

Edberg's service game was built around the kick serve followed by great balance and footspeed and great hands. The (relatively) slower pace of his serve (i.e. 105-107 mph) and high bounce gave him the ability to get in tight to the net to make the first volley. As players stepped in on the return (i.e. Chang and Agassi) they robbed him of time to get in. Then, guys like Sampras, Ivanisevic, Krajicek, Stich, started having 100+ mph second serves. At that point, Stefan could no longer compete.

I remember him trying to make an adjustment by getting more pace on his serves (113-115 mph), but that just took away more time to get to the net.

As for his return and ground game, it was decent. His backhand was my favorite groundstroke. He could drive it, dip it low, and chip it and really knife it. His forehand was pretty bad though. He used an almost backhand grip. He mainly placed the ball with the forehand. Occasionally, he could hit winners if he really leaned on the forehand. Great approach shots since his best place was at the net.

My favorite attributes of Edberg were his balance and courtsense. He seemed rarely rushed or out of position.

Apparently, he was considered very sportsman like. Although, I remember some talk about being a bit male chauvinistic with some comment about Venus Williams in the late 90's. Probably blown out of proportion. The ATP sportsmanship award was named after him.

rfprse
02-02-2006, 01:11 PM
Edberg was a better "textbook" volleyer than McEnroe. Mac had better touch, but Edberg's volley's had more sting.

Yes, and Edberg had the better coverage and movement at his net game.

killer
02-02-2006, 02:44 PM
Edberg was a better "textbook" volleyer than McEnroe. Mac had better touch, but Edberg's volley's had more sting.

The reason that Edberg didn't win more slams and his career tapered off was a combination of a loss of speed, or inability to keep up with the changes of the game in the mid 90's along with players being able to handle his kick serve better.

Edberg's service game was built around the kick serve followed by great balance and footspeed and great hands. The (relatively) slower pace of his serve (i.e. 105-107 mph) and high bounce gave him the ability to get in tight to the net to make the first volley. As players stepped in on the return (i.e. Chang and Agassi) they robbed him of time to get in. Then, guys like Sampras, Ivanisevic, Krajicek, Stich, started having 100+ mph second serves. At that point, Stefan could no longer compete.

I remember him trying to make an adjustment by getting more pace on his serves (113-115 mph), but that just took away more time to get to the net.

As for his return and ground game, it was decent. His backhand was my favorite groundstroke. He could drive it, dip it low, and chip it and really knife it. His forehand was pretty bad though. He used an almost backhand grip. He mainly placed the ball with the forehand. Occasionally, he could hit winners if he really leaned on the forehand. Great approach shots since his best place was at the net.

My favorite attributes of Edberg were his balance and courtsense. He seemed rarely rushed or out of position.

Apparently, he was considered very sportsman like. Although, I remember some talk about being a bit male chauvinistic with some comment about Venus Williams in the late 90's. Probably blown out of proportion. The ATP sportsmanship award was named after him.

An excellent post VGP...couldn't have said it better myself. I had the pleasure of growing up watching Edberg play through the mid-late 80s... fantastic player with a gorgeous game to watch- minus the forehand which, while not exactly a weakness, was certainly the least attractive of his considerable arsenal of shots.

In a different post, i mentioned that Bud Collins once referred to Edberg's backhand as "the flap of an eagle's wing," and he was spot on...a thing of beauty.
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rfprse
02-02-2006, 04:50 PM
Edberg's backhand as "the flap of an eagle's wing," and he was spot on...a thing of beauty.
Nicely put. Finally someone mentioned Edberg's backhand. :D

Chadwixx
02-02-2006, 04:55 PM
I thought it was reguarded as one of the greatest 1 handers of all time. The forhand was another story, his only weakness. He needed to change his grip to hit high balls more effectivly.

xanctus
02-02-2006, 05:56 PM
Oh indeed he is one the best...his backhand and volley are just amazing!

NoBadMojo
02-02-2006, 06:32 PM
Edberg was a perpetual winner of the annual ATP Sportsman award <whatever that is/was called>. He was also probably the best mover coming forward ever.
In my opinion his career ended early because people got on to his serve and without having a serve he could hit a decent first volley from, he really had little hope. He also deveoped some back problems (no wonder with that serve). His retirement <to me> marked the start of the demise of serve.volley tennis.
He got better from the backcourt later in his career. His backhand was always lethal, but his forehand would break down. He worked on the forehand until it was no longer a liablity. I think he had the best first volley ever.
Rafter was the next to come along playing that kick the serve and come behind approach but played it more with raw athleticism than Edberg who was more refined about it. Same thing happened to him. Shoulder problems and people got onto his serve and he too had to learn to play better from the backcourt.
I think Edberg is in the Top10 ATP money earners.

boughtmypoints
02-02-2006, 07:28 PM
Perfect analysis, Mojo.

Edberg was just one of those players always worth watching. To me, much more so than even Pete and Andre.

Chang's slim success robbed Stefan of an incredible feat for a serve and volleyer of winning slams on all surfaces. Well, he did win the Junior GS!

Unfortunately, there were days when his forehand would break down and it was not a pretty sight.

But I cannot think of any pro player more prepared for every single one of his matches. His practise matches were a study in themselves.

I saw him a few years back at the time of the Swedish Open, staying at Per Gessle's hotel outside Halmstad. In fact, my table was next to his at breakfast. But I didn't disturb him and his companion nor did anyone else in the crowded restaurant. Sweden at its best.

NoBadMojo
02-02-2006, 08:02 PM
Perfect analysis, Mojo.

.

Thanks....I see you are new to the forum..since you complimented me, i encourage you to post a lot more ;O
Seriously, welcome to the forum. Indeed Edberg was a great deal of fun to watch. One of those guys you couldnt hear running at all

hoosierbr
02-02-2006, 08:16 PM
Edberg is my second favorite player ever - behind Agassi. But I modeled my own game after his although, unfortunately, my kick serve doesn't jump as high.

Edberg made one last run at a Grand Slam at the '96 USO, the last Slam he played. He took out Krajicek in the first round, in straight sets no less. Richard won Wimbledon that year. He also beat Henman in the fourth round before falling to Ivanisevic in the QF. I remember watching that match and was a little surprised at the great reception he got after the match was over. Edberg never liked playing in New York but the crowd recognized one of the true greats was leaving the game. The Open at its best.

VGP
02-02-2006, 08:40 PM
Toward the end of Edberg's career I remember saying something like you know it's time to put away the rackets when they cheer for you like it's a Grand Slam final but it's only the third round.

scotus
02-02-2006, 08:54 PM
In a different post, i mentioned that Bud Collins once referred to Edberg's backhand as "the flap of an eagle's wing," and he was spot on...a thing of beauty.
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Yes, his backhand was considered the most beautiful stroke. But using the same sort of imagery, his forehand was often called a "chicken-wing" forehand.

But he is one of my favorite players and ought to be considered one of the greatest. No doubt about it.

tetsuo10
02-02-2006, 09:07 PM
Edberg was a perpetual winner of the annual ATP Sportsman award <whatever that is/was called>.

He won it so much that they eventually named it after him.

urban
02-02-2006, 11:06 PM
The very readable book 'Topspin' by Eliot Berry centres around Edberg and gives insight into his last years on the tour, when he became a step slower in his net approach. He could choke, resulting in terrible double faults, and had a tendency for foot faults: he was almost at the net, before having hit the serve. And his kicker was a bit readable, always going to the backhand. Having said this; he was certainly a great fast court player in a very competitive era, not maybe on the top echelon with Laver, Borg or Sampras but just behind with say Emerson, Newcombe, Becker and Wilander.

Matt Riordan
02-03-2006, 08:51 PM
I can only agree with every compliment that's been paid to Stefan here. I had the privilege of attending his last match ever at Wimbledon, on the then Court One, where he lost to Mikael Tillstrom in four sets - I forget the year. He was indeed a step slower and there was an eerie atmosphere of inevitability that day as Mikael squeezed pass after pass by the great volleyer, who fought until the bitter end. Stefan must surely rank as one of the top ten greatest of all time.

On a side note, it's interesting to note that many people observe that his forehand was 'not exactly a weakness' os some such. I guess sportsmanship goes a long way :) In every Sampras/Federer discussion I've read on here Pete's backhand has been ripped to shreds by naysayers... for sure his bh's a lot better than Stefan's fh! Don't wanna start an argument herer... just an observation! :)

Marius_Hancu
02-03-2006, 08:57 PM
I can only agree with every compliment that's been paid to Stefan here. I had the privilege of attending his last match ever at Wimbledon, on the then Court One, where he lost to Mikael Tillstrom in four sets - I forget the year. He was indeed a step slower and there was an eerie atmosphere of inevitability that day as Mikael squeezed pass after pass by the great volleyer, who fought until the bitter end. Stefan must surely rank as one of the top ten greatest of all time.

On a side note, it's interesting to note that many people observe that his forehand was 'not exactly a weakness' os some such. I guess sportsmanship goes a long way :) In every Sampras/Federer discussion I've read on here Pete's backhand has been ripped to shreds by naysayers... for sure his bh's a lot better than Stefan's fh! Don't wanna start an argument herer... just an observation! :)

Matt,

Are you a relation of the great manager/promoter Bill Riordan?

Matt Riordan
02-03-2006, 09:01 PM
Not that I know of, Marius. Far as I can tell I am neither a great manager or promoter... in fact I'm not a manager or promoter at all, great or otherwise. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to find out he's an uncle or something and would like to leave his wealth to a long-lost relative..!!! :)

Marius_Hancu
02-03-2006, 09:04 PM
Not that I know of, Marius. Far as I can tell I am neither a great manager or promoter... in fact I'm not a manager or promoter at all, great or otherwise. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to find out he's an uncle or something and would like to leave his wealth to a long-lost relative..!!! :)

I think Bill Riordan passed away some time ago.

He was the manager of Connors and helped establish Nastase on this continent.