Magnus Norman Reveals How Båstad Makes Players Feel At Home
Who wouldn’t want to play a tournament that makes you feel like you’re on a vacation?
Former World No. 2 Magnus Norman, who won the Nordea Open in Båstad twice, believes that the atmosphere of the event is what helped it win ATP 250 Tournament of the Year for 11 consecutive years from 2002-12.
“I think it’s a combination of the great vibes [and the fact that] players are staying very close to the venue, so there are no transportation issues. You bring your racquets and one minute later you’re on centre court from your room,” Norman told ATPTour.com. “Everything is located very close to the tennis and then if you want to go to the restaurant, you’re [already] almost in the restaurant. Everything happens in the same place, the beach is right there. Everyone in Båstad does a good job. All the players feel very welcome and at home.”
Seven Swedes have won the clay-court event, which was first held in 1948, in the Open Era: Bjorn Borg, Mats Wilander, Henrik Sundstrom, Joakim Nystrom, Magnus Gustafsson, Norman and Robin Soderling. That rich history for home favourites makes the tournament even more special for Swedes competing.
“We came as juniors playing in Båstad for so many years growing up. I think I was nine years old when I first came to Båstad and I came and watched the big tournament. It’s always been very special for the Swedish players to play in Båstad,” Norman said. “Obviously when you come back as a pro, playing in your home country… it feels almost like you’re playing a tournament, but at the same time you’re almost on vacation.”
“At 21 years of age, there were a lot of expectations on my shoulders,” Norman said. “A lot of people in Sweden wanted to see me play, so obviously I was super happy to be able to handle that pressure, playing very well at home and winning my first title in front of my parents and friends from my hometown. It was very special.”
Norman competed in Båstad nine times, tallying a 21-7 record. He played the event often because of its slot shortly after Wimbledon and because he enjoyed competing at home. In 2000, he captured his second Båstad title. He was the No. 2 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings at the time.
“It’s always nice to win at home. It’s a nice memory when you go there sometimes… when you see your name on the board as one of the Swedish winners,” Norman said. “As a tennis player you want to play well all the weeks and I always wanted to play well in Sweden… I always wanted to play at home even if I was No. 2 in the world, so I hope people in Sweden will remember that.”