Originally Posted by Zimbo
Here's an article written in June '88 by Peter Bodo (when I felt he knew what he was talking about) on Wilander. Its a pretty good read.
In the past, it was always difficult to imagine Mats Wilander "living on the edge", unless the edge in question was the shoreline of a pristine Scandinavian fjord. From the time Wilander became the youngest male champion in French Open history, at age 17, in 1982, his game was much like his person: elegant but passive, effective but uninspiring. Looking back, Wilander freely admits, "I was never a gambler, not in tennis, not in golf, not in cards, not in anything. Not even in life. Some guys, when the chance comes up, they think, "O.K., I'm going to throw my card in, take a chance and see what happens". I just never liked that feeling. I don't like to give up control or put myself in the hands of fate."
Over the course of three years ending in 1985, Wilander harvested three more Grand Slam titles (two Australian Opens and another French at Stade Roland Garros). But his conservatism ultimately led him into a cul-de-sac, personally and professionally. From the summer of 1985 on, he was a player adrift - uncommitted to challenging for the no. 1 ranking, but happy to bank the king's ranson bestowed upon a top five player. He was not a materialist, a cynic or a flawed competitor - just a thoughtful 21-year-old kid going through the motions required to keep his place in the game.