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Wilander story. From Bjornino. Thanks.

Posted by tennisplanet on September 19, 2010


Hello TP-people,

I just felt I should stand up for Mats Wilander a bit since he always seems to be getting truckloads of hate from some posters on this forum.

Mats was “kidnapped” by Swedish TV show host Ingvar Oldsberg last night to be a guest on the show “Här är ditt liv” (This Is Your Life). During the show he got greetings from McEnroe, Sting (Wilander had a dream of becoming a rock musician and he and Sting hung out a lot in the 80s, apparently) and many other people from his past. Some of his old Davis Cup teammates were on the show as well (unfortunately Edberg wasn’t there).

Another guest on the show was Mats’ son Erik who talked about his incurable skin disease Epidermolysis bullosa (EB). Wilander has been raising money for research about EB for many years.

(I hope you will all be able to watch the clips below. They’re from the Swedish Television website, but I am able to see them from Germany where I am at the moment, so should at least work for everyone in Europe, hopefully for those of you in America and Asia as well.)

In this clip the umpire (Jacques Dorfman) from Mats’ semifinal vs Jose-Luis Clerc (Wilander won 7-5, 6-2, 1-6, 7-5) at the FO 1982 gives him a lot of praise for asking for a replay after Dorfman had made the wrong call on match point (he calls it his best tennis memory of 50 years (and 15000 matches) of umpire work). There is also a greeting from Clerc in the clip:,a1364145,1,f,-1/pb,a1364142,1,f,-1/pl,v,,2152744/sb,k138777,2,f,-1

And this is about his kids:,a1364145,1,f,-1/pb,a1364142,1,f,-1/pl,v,,2152740/sb,k138777,2,f,-1

And here McEnroe talks about Mats’ charitable work, their memorable matches and “sings” a cover of a certain Bob Dylan song with a JMac/Mats text to it. Pretty funny:,k138777,1,f,-1

Watching this makes one realize that we’re probably very lucky that Wilander never made a breakthrough as a rock star ^^

Hopefully watching some of these clips will make those who are very anti-Wilander change their mind a bit :-) Enjoy!

Cheers and have a nice Sunday everyone.



9 Responses to “Wilander story. From Bjornino. Thanks.”

  1. mircea said

    Liked him as player early on. Lost respect for him after he became # 1 and claimed he had nothing more to prove. Lost all respect once he became a commentator oscillating between vulgarity and ass-kissing.

  2. Growltiger said

    I’m fairly new here so didn’t know Mats got a lot of grief from the posters. I don’t know why. He was a great player. His fall was so spectacular and so sudden I always assumed he was doing stuff he shouldn’t instead of focusing on tennis. Sorry about his son. Wish him all the best. Interesting how countries rise and fall (in tennis as in politics). Sweden once had it all, now only Soderling. USA has no one in the top ten, though Mardy might get up there if he keeps playing well. Spain is dominant and France will be if the commentators have anything to say about it. England never has but one at a time (Lloyd, Henman, now Murray). Australia has only Hewitt and he’s reaching the twilight of his day in the sun. Russia dominates in women, Eastern European countries have more than their share of good players (Djokovic, Berdych, Davydenko, Lubie, Cilic, Gulbis).

    Might be a good discussion point for TP. What causes the rise and fall of countries in dominating tennis (and maybe even the world). Is China the next tennis power?

  3. Jenny said

    Thanks for the post, Bjornino, sorry to hear about his son’s skin condition.

    Growltiger, Unfortunately, Mats said some daft things after the 2006? French Open, [Roger lost to Rafa] they were disrespectful to Fed, and it wasn’t just posters on this site who slated him for it at the time. Fed wasn’t happy although he didn’t make a big deal of it, all is well between them now and I’ve forgiven him.

  4. Bjornino said

    You’re welcome, Jenny. I think the 2006 FO incident is indeed the problem. Although – while I agree that Wilander didn’t put his words in a very diplomatic way – I think he’s right. And I think most Fed-fans here KNOW he was right, since almost noone still claims that Nadal is NOT in Federer’s head. Had Wilander not used the wording he did, I guess it had never turned into such an issue. I just think it’s sad that a player who is admired and respected among his peers (as the video links I posted shows, as his work for Eurosport shows – if he’d done a bad job there they never would have kept Game, set and match going for years etc etc) gets so much hate just because he stated the truth about a certain player’s state of mind, regardless of how he put it. Wilander also apologized to Federer for the way he said it (as you mentioned, Jenny) and I think it’s time to move on and give the man some respect. I am not saying this as a Swede (those of you who’ve seen my posts about The Sod know that 😉 ) but as someone who respects Wilander for the work he did and does. Cheers!

    • Bjornino said

      PS. Should have been “they never would have kept Game, set and MATS going for years” of course ^^ I need to take a nap 😉

      • Jenny said

        You’re right, Bjornino, it was the way it was said more than anything. I should have mentioned that fact in my comment. 🙂

  5. RafaFan said

    Thanks for the post Björnino. The first vid didn’t work. Den här videon är tyvärr inte tillgänglig (not available I guess). The second yes, he has lovely kids. Great his family is still together.

  6. Andy said

    Mats was one of the smartest methodical strategic players ever. His 1988 USO win over Lendl was truly a classic and underrated in terms of tennis achievements in my opinion. Actually, an argument can be made that there are parallels with Nadal’s victory over Fed – a guy whose success started on clay overcoming a multi-time defending champ (3 times, and at that time amazing 7th final in a row for Lendl) on that champ’s favorite surface.

    As for the Fed comment, it was below the belt (couldn’t resist).

    I’m a Fed fan, and I wasn’t crazy about the comment but not for the reason B-san says (excuse the short-form Bjornino). Maybe I am a different sort of Fed fan, but actually I don’t think Fed’s loses ON CLAY to Nadal were because Rafa is in his head, or because Fed lacks, how shall I put this delicately, chutzpah. Look at Fed’s game and the margins for error. There is a lot of chutzpah there – underrated in fact. HE LOSES TO NADAL ON CLAY BECAUSE NADAL IS BETTER THAN HIM ON CLAY, AND NOT JUST A LITTLE. This is the most frustrating point I have as a Fed fan. Fed has done AMAZINGLY well on clay! It is in fact his success on clay that rounds his story. Nadal is just better there. And 4 years later Nadal himself is proving Mats wrong. I mean, you can’t call Nadal the GOAT or a top candidate for GOAT on the one hand and say on the other hand that Fed only lost to that GOAT on his favorite surface because of a lack of chutzpah. It just doesn’t compute. Other surfaces, maybe, but not clay. So I don’t only take issue with the “way” Mats chose to make his point (actually, I find it kind of funny -and Mats appears to have had a few – I also wonder if he lost a large sum on Rog that day), I take issue with his point (beyond the words) because it is, in my opinion, the great fallacy of the last ten years in tennis. Fed did GREAT to get to all those finals, challenge the greatest clay court player ever (probably) at least a bit in a few of them and manage to snag two clay matches from Rafa in that period too (more than anyone else out there). That took chutzpah!

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