Three-Time French Open Champions: The Men

The Women will be published on June 4.

Rafael Nadal: 4,500 rpm on the forehand.  Borg’s topspin revolution doubled, squared.  All that topspin means net clearance, safety, angles.  The perfect weapon for clay, its wars of attrition. 

Bjorn Borg: I wanted to be Ringo Starr one year for Halloween. Long hair, girls screaming, rock star. A few years later I wanted to be Borg. Long hair, headband, topspin, rock star. No one burned as brightly for five or six years. . . .

Gustavo Kuerten: his body so loose-limbed and free dancing and bobbing to some unheard Brazilian music while he coils uncoils one-handed backhands big flat first serves sudden drop shots . . .

Ivan Lendl: Not as talented as Jimmy Connors or John McEnroe, Lendl became our Boris Badenov, our Ivan Drago in Stallone’s Rocky IV. His power baseline game seemed robotic, humorless, harsh, unrelenting–the Soviet bloc in the cold war era. . . . (First Published with the National Senior Men’s Tennis Association)

Mats Wilander:  “Wilander’s mind is a weapon” (Ion Tiriac), the only weapon he had.  Anti-spectacular, even boring, if Wilander fought as a gladiator in Rome’s Colosseum, the fans might give him a thumb’s down. Lacking any big shots, he was the ultimate human backboard . . .

Artist Bio: Emmanuelle Olguin is a French artist who does educational comics for children and loves tennis. I first saw this artwork on French Open Champions on Instagram.

For free posts every Friday in your email featuring original art from around the world and creative new perspectives and prose, follow Tennis Players as Works of Art below:

This blog has been named one of Feedspot’s top tennis blogs, websites & influencers of 2021.

Leave a Reply