Edberg Talks Past And Present Of Barclays ATP World Tour Finals
Former World No. 1 returns to The O2
Stefan Edberg will make a welcome return to The O2 in London next week as part of the ATP’s Finals Club, which this year celebrates Barclays ATP World Tour Finals competitors in the 1980s.
Having qualified for nine straight year-end championships in New York City and Frankfurt, between 1985 and 1994, the Swede continues to marvel at the growth of the prestigious event.
“This has become one of the best events to visit as a spectator,” Edberg told ATPWorldTour.com. “You don’t have to deal with rain, you’re guaranteed two great matches each day and everything runs well.
“It was mostly about the Grand Slams in my generation, but I think this championship and the [ATP World Tour] Masters 1000 events have so much importance to them now, which is great. That’s how it should be.”
Edberg won the season finale title in 1989 (d. Becker), in the final edition of the event at Madison Square Garden, New York, and was runner-up the following year (l. to Agassi) at the Festhalle Frankfurt in Germany.
“I remember it being such a big deal for me to qualify for the first time [in 1985],” said Edberg. “You have to deserve to be here and play so well throughout the whole season. It was great to play in Frankfurt because it was basically Boris Becker’s home ground and tennis was so big in Germany, but it was also very special to play at Madison Square Garden, in that type of environment and in a big city.
“It was really special to defeat Becker in the 1989 final because I had lost six or seven finals that year, so it was a real breakthrough. I was winning most of the finals in 1990, so it did hurt to lose to Andre Agassi in the championship, especially after beating him in a great match during the round robin group.”
Since retiring from the ATP World Tour in 1996, Edberg has had the chance to see the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals evolve, both as a spectator and former coach to Roger Federer from 2013-15. He’s eager to see how the battle plays out between Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic for the year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
“What’s interesting is that over the past two years, it’s been all about Federer and Djokovic, but now it’s changed to Murray and Djokovic,” said Edberg.
“It was a little bit surprising that Andy reached No. 1 before the end of the year, but he’s had a great season and has been knocking on the door for quite some time. Djokovic isn’t going to go away, though, that’s for sure! He’s had such a long reign at the top (223 weeks in total) and has also had a great season. But it’s normal to see new people challenging him for that spot.”
Edberg and John McEnroe remain the only players in ATP World Tour history to ranked No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings and top spot in the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings.
This year, Group Edberg/Jarryd is named in honour of the classy Swede and Anders Jarryd, who won the year-end doubles championships in 1985 and 1986.