“The Swedish Conquest”
In 1988 Swedish superstar Mats Wilander was the No.1 tennis player in the world winning seven Grand Slam singles titles over his career.
He won three of the four Slams that year – the Australian, the French, and the US Open. At Wimbledon he lost out in the Quarter finals. Fellow Swede, Stefan Edberg, went on to win the Singles title. Edberg was also a visitor to Carrickmines.
Wilander won the Men’s Doubles at Wimbledon with compatriot Joakim Nystrom in 1986, completing a Career Grand Slam of sorts and one of the few players in history to achieve this.
Mats Wilander along with Matt Doyle discussing tactics in Carrickmines.
Matt Doyle was the County Dublin Singles Champion in 1986 and became part of Wilander’s coaching team in 1988. Doyle had recently retired from playing on the tour. He played at all the Slams with his best performance in 1982 losing out to McEnroe in the 4th Round at the US Open.
Mats Wilander and Matt Doyle played Charity exhibition matches in Dublin along with other greats and Grand Slam Champions including John McEnroe, Pat Cash and Yannick Noah, for the 3rd World Charity GOAL run by John O’Shea. This was a clear demonstration of the generosity of the players choosing to give up their time rather than playing in pre-Wimbledon tournaments such as Queens.
Joakim Nystrom and Stefan Edberg together relaxing on the Carrickmines lawns
Edberg also reached No. 1 in the ATP World Rankings in 1990. Over his illustrious career he won six Grand Slams (two Wimbledon’s, two Australians and two US Opens). After his playing career he went on to coach Roger Federer.
Joakim Nystrom playing a low volley against Mikael Pernfors, (at the LUAS end of the club)
Joakim Nystrom changing his grip in Carrickmines preparing for Wimbledon.
Nystrom and Wilander on their way to winning the 1986 Wimbledon Doubles title.
Ireland’s first international encounter against Sweden was in the Davis Cup tie in 1946. Sweden defeated Ireland in Stockholm going on to win the European Zone.
Sweden Vs Ireland Davis Cup 1946
L to R: King Gustav 5th of Sweden along with the Ireland team George McVeigh, Raymund Egan and Cyril Kemp all regular Wimbledon competitors.
Cyril Kemp surprisingly defeated Tom Brown (USA) in the Irish Open the week after Brown contested the singles final in Wimbledon 1947.
Raymund Egan was a long-standing member of Carrickmines helping to restart the County Dublin Championships after WW2.
The Swedish team were led by Lennart Bergelin, French Open Doubles Champion in 1947 and coach to the legendry Bjorn Borg.
Borg & Bergelin
It was Sweden’s turn, led by the Bjorn Borg to visit Dublin in 1978 for the Davis Cup tie in Fitzwillam. Borg was the star player of his era winning a remarkable 11 Grand Slam singles titles (6 French & 5 Wimbledons).
Bjorn Borg with Sean Sorensen after their Davis Cup encounter. Sean was awarded the Carrickmines “Outstanding Contribution to Irish Tennis” Award for 2020 and competed at Wimbledon and Roland Garros.
The SALK U/12 team (Stockholm Lawn Tennis club) and Bjorn Borg’s old Club.
Future Swedish Grand Slammers?
Winners of the Carrickmines Cup in 2019.
The last international tournament held in Ireland before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Wilander and Nystrom arriving at Carrickmines with Club member John Mulvey and Jon-Anders Sjogren, the Swedish Davis Cup Captain.
The Swedish Perspective
Thank you so much Pat!
1946 was the best Swedish Davis Cup year to that date. We had Lennart Bergelin and Torsten Johansson in the team. Lennart was known to have the hardest hand shake on the tour and in 1950 he defeated Frank Sedgman bare-footed on the grass court of Rye in New York state. For this achievement he was elected the Swedish Sportsman of the Year. Johansson is the only person in the history of Wimbledon to win two consecutive matches 6-0, 6-0, 6-0.
Bergelin later became the coach of Björn Borg. It didn´t start so well. At Båstad in 1972, Bergelin was very upset with Björn and they had a big fight. It was just days before Björn´s Davis Cup debut, when he defeated Onny Parun of New Zeeland at the age of 15. In 1978, Borg was back in the Swedish Davis Cup team. After winning in 1975, Borg didn´t play in 1976 or 1977. Borg won his last 33 Davis Cup singles matches and was exceptionally good in 1978. But the man of the tie vs Ireland was Kjell Johansson.
After the draw ceremony, Kjell was lost in the streets of Dublin. It was raining heavily and along came a gentleman offering Kjell a ride to the player´s hotel. It was Kevin Menton who saved Kjell. But Kjell didn´t save Menton as he won 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 in the fifth match. It was the first time that a Swede won a Davis Cup match without losing a single game.
Matt Doyle is a hero in Swedish tennis for all his contributions to the game of Mats Wilander. Mats has said it many times that his improved physique under the command of Doyle helped him a lot in 1988, when he won three Grand Slam tournaments and became the world number one. You can without doubt see it in the 4 hours and fifty-four minutes US Open final of 1988 against Ivan Lendl. It was for sure one of the greatest moments in the history of Swedish tennis.
Thanks once again Pat!
The Trailblazers | The British Invasion | The French Connection | The Swedish Conquest | Born in the USA | Out of Africa | CzechMate | Aussie Rules | Ireland’s Call