CHENNAI: Tennis icon Bjorn Borg could barely hide his excitement when asked about visiting India after two decades, emphasising that he was “happy” to come back to this land.
The 11-time Grand Slam winner expressed his love for India during a Chennai Open Challenger press conference, in which he was the chief guest.
The 66-year-old Bjorn is accompanying his son Leo Borg, who has received a singles main draw wildcard entry for the challenger tournament.
While addressing the media on Sunday, Bjorn also spoke about the recipe for success at the top level, captaining a team of legends at the Laver Cup and more.
EXCERPTS FROM A MEDIA MEET
On being invited for the Chennai Open Challenger
To be back in Chennai, to have the possibility to spend some time with Vijay [Amritraj], to see the city once again, to see my son (Leo Borg) play… that would be a great thing. It is nice for the federation of Vijay (Tamil Nadu Tennis Association) to bring the tournament back after four years. It is great for tennis, Indian tennis.
On coming back to India after two decades
I visited India [around] 20 years ago. I always enjoy India – people are nice, good food, very interesting country. So, I am very happy to be back. To get the invitation from Vijay, who is a very good friend of mine. My wife Patricia [Ostfeldt] had never been to India, so she was very happy to come here. It (visiting India) was one of her biggest wishes.
On watching Leo play live
I am very happy to see him play, but not all the time. He has his own team, he is doing things with his coach (Christian Brydniak). Me and my wife, whenever we have time, we like to see him once in a while [on Tour]. I think that he does not want to see us all the time (laughs). I love to see him. But, it is worse to watch your son or daughter from the stands, because you get even more nervous. It is better when you play; you have no control when sitting in the stands. I have a really good relationship [with my son]. There is a long way to go for him. He is hungry to improve his game and be a top player.
On what it takes to succeed at the highest level
First of all, you have to be able to play on all kinds of surfaces. You have to be in great shape physically. The most important thing for players is to have motivation; you have to set your goals. If you have the motivation to play and work hard, you can set your goals high. It does not mean that you can achieve your goals. You try to find a way to become a [good] player. You have to work hard, you have to spend a lot of time on the tennis court. You have to spend a lot of time off the court as well, in the gym. Spend [a lot of] time on the court. You have to do that to become a really good player or champion.
On captaining a star-studded group of champions – Team Europe – in the Laver Cup
I mean, I am very proud. It (2023) is going to be my last year [as captain]. It has been six great years. For me, to be with today’s players (players of this generation)… I have to keep a good relationship with all these players. To be around them, it has been a great experience. What they like, what they dislike regarding tennis… telling stories. It has been very memorable and fun. The guys are very interesting. They are the greatest players of this time (era). To spend around a week with them every year, it has been unbelievable and fantastic.
On wishing for a tournament like the Laver Cup during his time
It would have been fantastic, but we did not have that possibility. I am a little bit sad for that. In our time, it would have been a huge thing for us. People would have loved to see us. I hope that the Laver Cup continues for many years. I am sure that it will. The players are pretty positive too, to compete and play.
Visit news.dtnext.in to explore our interactive epaper!
Download the DT Next app for more exciting features!
Click here for iOS
Click here for Android