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Bjorn Borg: Tennis' Greatest Players A-Z, Vol. B

Lauren LynchCorrespondent IIApril 15, 2011

Tennis Now
Tennis NowRoss Kinnaird/Getty Images

This article first appeared at Tennis Now.

A winning percentage of 41 doesn’t sound too impressive until you realize that it isn’t for matches, but for Grand Slam tournaments. In the matches themselves, Bjorn Borg won just under 90 percent of his Slam singles—going a gaudy 141-16.

Borg entered 27 Grand Slam tournaments during his career, and won 11 of them, all 11 in the eight-year span between 1974 and 1981. The only two men to defeat him in a Grand Slam final were fellow No. 1s John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors.

Perhaps the most amazing part of that figure is that all 11 of those titles came at just two tournaments. Bjorg seldom played the Australian Open—just once—and lost in the US Open final four times.

On the other two surfaces, Bjorg shined like few before him—winning Wimbledon five straight times from 1976-1980, and taking the French Open crown six times, including four straight from 1978-1981. He was ranked No. 1 for a total of 109 weeks

Bjorg had a great chance to finally capture the US Open crown in 1981, but he lost to McEnroe and proceeded to walk off the court before the closing ceremonies and without speaking to the media.

McEnroe, who had often been stymied by Borg, attempted to persuade him to keep playing, but the Swede would not be convinced.

The following year, Bjorg shocked the world by retiring at age 26.  He attempted a comeback in 1991, age 34, but found the touch had long since left him. Using his old choice of wooden rackets, while the rest of the tour had moved on, he lost 13 straight times between 1991-1993, and retired again. 

Honorable Mention: Boris Becker and Don Budge. 

Tennis Now

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