There are names in the world of sports that conjure magic and myth just upon hearing them. In the world of tennis, such a name is Bjorn Borg, the darling Swede of the 1970s and ‘80s who did as much, if not more, than any single player to catapult catgut and wooden rackets into international vogue.
This is why Borg’s name is not only writ large on the cover of “Bjorn Borg and the Super-Swedes” (Skyhorse Publishing’s 2018 English translation of the 2014 Swedish original), but eclipses the names of the contemporaries, and indeed, a whole epoch, found there: “Stefan Edberg, Mats Wilander and the Golden Age of Tennis.” Today, Borg might be known as much for his high-end clothing line as his sports glory, but during that golden age, he had the king’s Midas touch.
Yet praise where praise is due, this selectively exhaustive effort from Mats Holm Ulf Roosvald and others may have wisely selected Borg’s name to get our attention, but delves deep into the roots — beginning with King Gustav V’s deep devotion and almost maniacal attachment to the sport — of the tennis craze that overtook Sweden even as it was overtaking the world.
Those who were, and are still, inspired by the stoic Swede, will find here the beginnings of that stoicism and the beginnings of a world champion inspired by a national fad — and his brother. As much as biographies of Borg and his contemporaries in Sweden, Europe and America, the authors intertwine the history of the sport, the lives of the players and deep knowledge of major matches and events in a compelling, quick read sure to inspire more than a few to dust off their Donnay Borg Pro and hit the courts.