With a natural cool that won scores of fans to accompany his 11 Grand Slam titles, Bjorn Borg became universally known as the ‘ice man’ of tennis.
It follows that the Swede was a picture of calm as he arrived in the Czech Republic today to set about the task of captaining Team Europe to an inaugural Laver Cup victory.
“There’s going to be a lot of good tennis,” said the Swede. “Everybody is looking forward to playing and everybody wants to win.”
It helps, of course, to have such high caliber team members. Led by the world’s top two men in Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, Borg will also call on Marin Cilic (No.5), Dominic Thiem (No.7) Alexander Zverev (No.4) and Tomas Berdych (No.19) when the Laver Cup commences on Friday.
“I mean, we have good players both of us in our teams so it’s going to be interesting,” Borg noted.
“If you look at the players on Team Europe we have a great team but even Team World, they have a good team too …in tennis anything can happen.
“The main thing is that everybody is healthy, they’re looking forward whether to play,” he added. Three days with the points system, the scoring system, it’s going to make it very, very interesting. It could come down to Sunday.”
The unique format of the Laver Cup, says Borg, is one of its most intriguing elements and like many, he is looking forward to a potential superstar doubles union.
“Doubles is going to be very important. I think everybody wants to see, of course, Federer and Nadal play doubles,” he said.
“It’s very important to choose who is going to play (and) how many matches when they’re going to play.”
Borg, who explained he twice played Davis Cup in Prague during his career, is delighted to return to the tennis-loving city. “I’ve been here many times. I have a lot of friends here. I enjoy the city. I know they are very knowledgeable regarding tennis because a lot of good players came from Czech (Republic) in the past,” he said.
“I’m happy to be back and to be captain, to see these players playing and be part of the competition it’s fantastic.”
As an event that honors his own tennis hero in Rod Laver, Borg also recognizes that to play an important role in the inaugural event is also a tremendous privilege.
“I’m happy that it’s an event called the Laver Cup because you know, Rod has been one of the greatest players ever to play the game. I played him a few times but I never played him when he was at his prime,” he explained.
*The Laver Cup starts on Friday. Player match-ups for the first day will be determined when McEnroe and Borg lay down their selections in an exchange of cards on Thursday.