by Julia Buckley
I am an Anglophile, although I've never been to England. I love British mysteries, pictures of little English towns and those wonderful English accents that I hear regularly on PBS and NPR. Oh, and I really love Wimbledon. Tennis is the one sport I find exciting to watch, and Wimbledon is the culminating event, the July treat.
This year Roger Federer took the men's title, and along with it he tied a couple of records--he is the first man since Bjorn Borg to win five consecutive Wimbledon Singles Titles. Borg was there in the stands when Federer played, waiting to see if he would tie Borg's own amazing title, which has lasted for close to thirty years (Borg won Wimbledon from 1976-1980).
While I admire Federer and enjoyed watching him play this year, it is Borg who won my heart back in the seventies as a young phenom, and it's Borg who I still think of as the greatest today.
I think that people forget that when the great Bjorn Borg retired, he was only twenty-six years old. He had won eleven Grand Slam Singles (Federer has also tied this record with his latest win).
I suppose my love for Borg is based in nostalgia, but there was something special about him--he was suave and European and had that wonderful mane of hair, and he had a controlled strength on the court that gave him dignity. The man who finally sent him into retirement, John McEnroe, looked like a boor by comparison (although I think the two men have maintained a friendship).
When I think of the quintessential female tennis player, I think Billie Jean King. Perhaps I am fixated on the seventies, after all. Because when I think of the great male tennis player, I don't think Pete Sampras or Andre Agassi--I think Bjorn Borg. And his yearly visits to Wimbledon back in my childhood years made an impression on me--and the world.
(pictures: yahoo images).