Swede star Borg and American champion Evert discuss their legendary careers at French Open

Tennis News
Sunday, 02 June 2024 at 03:00
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Chris Evert spoke about Bjorn Borg's incredible reception at the French Open and commented that she herself feels like one of the Beatles for her Roland Garros career. The Swede joined her in an interesting conversation in which they reminisced about their golden era in Paris.
Both were multi-time Grand Slam champions and won their most titles on the clay at Roland Garros. According to the American, Borg remains the biggest star in tennis, despite the emergence of players like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic.

Incredible careers of Evert and Borg at French Open

Borg won six French Open titles between 1974 and 1981. For 30 years, the Swede was the tournament's most prolific champion, and surpassing his record seemed almost impossible until Rafael Nadal's emergence. The Spaniard tied Borg with his sixth title in 2011 and has since reached the almost unreal total of 14 titles at Roland Garros. Nevertheless, Borg, an 11-time Grand Slam champion, became a legend with Roland Garros as his ideal stage.
Similarly, the American Chris Evert is the most successful female champion in French Open history, with seven titles between 1974 and 1986. 'Chrissie' also shone in Paris, and only Steffi Graf came close to her record, thanks to her six titles there. Still, both Borg and Evert can be considered the best performers at the French Open after Rafa Nadal.

Memories from two tennis legends

Evert and Borg joined a conversation with the New York Times to recall their prime years at Roland Garros during the '70s and '80s. The American remembered that back then, little was said about women's tennis, and everything revolved around the men's game, where Borg was the biggest star.
Bjorn Borg: "the first Tennis superstar"
"In Paris they were a little behind the times when it came to equality and women’s liberation and celebrating women athletes. It was all about men’s tennis. And Bjorn was like a rock star, like one of the Beatles. He had to have security guards around him."
"The girls were screaming and crying and trying to grab at him. I’d never seen anybody idolized like him. To this day I think he’s still the biggest star tennis has ever had," Evert said.
On the other hand, Borg praised Evert, stating he felt proud of the 18-time Grand Slam champion and himself as pioneers of the two-handed backhand, while most players still used the one-handed backhand: "I think we introduced the world to the way we played. Chrissie and I liked to play from the back court. We had two-handed backhands, and not too many players did that," Bjorn Borg said.
The Swedish former player also recalled his nervousness upon reaching the final of the 1974 French Open, where he won his first title. Borg remembered that he was not favored to win the tournament, but managed to reach the final against the reigning US Open champion Manuel Orantes: "Before the tournament I would definitely say I was not the favorite to win. I surprised myself by being in my first Grand Slam final."
"I was a bit nervous, but I think he felt more pressure than I did. Plus, he got very tired. And the more we played, the more tired he got and the more pressure I could see that he felt," the former world No. 1 added.

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