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ATP Heritage: Stefan Edberg, 1990-91

On 23 August, ATP celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Emirates ATP Rankings. We continue our countdown with a look at Stefan Edberg, the 1990-91 year-end No. 1. #ATPHeritage

Stefan Edberg was one of the greatest serve-and-volley exponents in tennis history, a possessor of an elegant backhand and a cool and analytical mind. Like John McEnroe, he reached the top in singles and doubles.

Edberg first captured the attention of the tennis world in 1983, when he completed a junior Grand Slam of the four major championships. Before the age of 19, the Swede had won his first ATP World Tour title and also the singles competition as a demonstration sport at the 1984 Olympic Games.

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Edberg was the eighth player in the history of the Emirates ATP Rankings to become No. 1 on 13 August 1990, following a quarter-final win over Michael Chang in the Western & Southern Open at Cincinnati. With his coach, Tony Pickard, Edberg remembers, "We had a little champagne that night. It was unusual. We just had a little." 

Aged 24 years, nine months, Edberg had followed in the footsteps of fellow Swedes and year-end No 1s, Bjorn Borg and Mats Wilander, in reaching the summit of men’s professional tennis. He had five spells at No. 1, totalling 72 weeks, until 5 October 1992.

"I don't think I thought about the year-end No. 1 ranking much," said Edberg. "For two or three years I was a Grand Slam champion, but not the No. 1. I didn't realise the importance of it until late in my career."

Edberg narrowly failed to finish in the Top 5 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for 10 straight years. He captured six major titles from 11 finals – including three memorable duels against Boris Becker at The Championships, Wimbledon, in 1988-1990. Overall, he won 41 singles crowns.

The Swede was also the 13th player to rise to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings on 9 June 1986. He spent a total of 15 weeks at the top of the team game, clinching 18 doubles trophies. 

"The best thing about it is telling your kids you were No. 1," said Edberg. The Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award was renamed in his honour, upon his retirement, in 1996.

Read more about Edberg in "No. 1", our special commemorative coffee table book, celebrating all year-end ATP World Tour No. 1s over the past 40 years. Buy Online Through Tennis Warehouse: Europe | Outside Europe

This year, the ATP pays special tribute to 25 former World No. 1s as part of the ATP Heritage programme, marking 40 years since the ranking system was introduced in 1973.


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