Bjorn's Tennis Racket
Lot 584
Bjorn Borg's Donnay Pro "Personal Model" tennis racket from either the 1990 or 1981 Wimbledon final,
Sold for £6,600 (US$ 10,652) inc. premium

Lot Details
Bjorn Borg's Donnay Pro "Personal Model" tennis racket from either the 1990 or 1981 Wimbledon final,
match worn with original stringing (broken) and leather grip, together with cover
(2)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    This racket was given by Bjorn Borg to a senior member of his management team immediately following either the 1980 or 1981 Wimbledon final and it has remained in their possession until now.


    Bjorn Borg was, without doubt, one of the all-time great sportsmen of the 20th century. He uniquely pulled off five successive Wimbledon victories between 1976 and 1980 and also achieved in three consecutive years the most difficult “double” in tennis, victory on clay at the French Open in Paris followed by victory on grass at Wimbledon.
    In addition, Bjorn was the first sex god of the tennis circuit, which created the then unusual spectacle of “Borg mania”. Although today such adoration of tennis stars by teenage girls is commonplace, back in the late 1970’s it was usually reserved for pop idols and football super heroes. He was also the instigator of the famous double handed backhand.
    In nine attempts at the Men’s Singles between the years of 1973 and 1981, Borg won 51 matches and lost four. Between his 1975 quarter-final defeat by the eventual champion, Arthur Ashe, and his loss in the 1981 final to John McEnroe, Borg won 41 consecutive singles at The Wimbledon Championships.
    It was on clay that Borg had his earliest big wins, at the Italian and French Opens of 1974 on either side of his 18th birthday. The Roland Garros title was again captured the following year, and a burgeoning reputation meant that the Swede was seeded fourth for the 1976 Championships.
    In an astonishing sequence Borg demolished seven opponents, culminating with Ilie Nastase, without dropping a set. It was only the fourth time a man had done that at Wimbledon, and it has not been accomplished since.
    It had thus been demonstrated in devastating fashion that Borg’s finest qualities, speed about the court, heavily topspun groundstrokes and mental strength, translated readily from clay to grass. It was that mental strength, allied to his sheer never-say-die quality, which subsequently rescued him four times from looming defeat in his incredible run of Wimbledon success.
    In 1977 he trailed Mark Edmondson by two sets in the second round before sweeping the next three, and in the semi-final his close friend Vitas Gerulaitis was a break up in the fifth set before succumbing to lack of belief, since he had never beaten Borg.
    In 1978 he trailed on the opening day by two sets to one against Victor Amaya before finding his rhythm, having newly arrived in London from triumph in Paris. Two years later Vijay Amritraj led Borg two sets to one in the second round, and Borg was taken to a fourth set tiebreak before prevailing. Beneath that headband worn severely low on the forehead, the will to win was strong as ever.
    It was needed in the 1980 final against McEnroe, a match nominated by many as Wimbledon’s greatest ever. Having lost the opening set 6-1 to an all-out McEnroe assault, Borg took the next two 7-5, 6-3 and held two Championship points at 5-4 in the fourth. But McEnroe averted disaster and went on to level the match in Wimbledon’s most memorable tiebreak, which he won 18-16, saving five more match points.
    That renowned mental quality saw Borg through a testing 8-6 fifth set for his fifth straight Wimbledon title, but 12 months later it was noticeably absent when the same pair contested the final again. The spark had gone. Borg was on the brink of burn-out.
    After achieving 11 Grand Slams singles (six French, five Wimbledon) in the space of eight years, the Swede quit the sport at 26, mentally drained and physically exhausted by the extraordinary demands of the unrelenting tennis circuits . It is unlikely that the world of tennis will ever see his like again in terms of an athlete driven by single-mindedness to such towering success.

Saleroom notices

  • "Please note the this racket dates from either the 1980 or 1981 Wimbledon final"
Auction information

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