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TENNIS

Borg cancels Wimbledon trophy auction

Swedish tennis legend Bjorn Borg said on Monday that a public outcry had prompted him to withdraw from auction two racquets and the trophies from his record five consecutive Wimbledon men's singles titles.

The former tennis star, now 49, had announced three weeks ago he would sell his silver-gilt trophies and two Wimbledon-winning racquets at Bonhams in London on June 21, saying he needed the money for his family.

Borg, known as “The Iceman” for his cool on court during his reign in the 1970s and 1980s, said he had been touched by the messages of support and sympathy from fans around the world who wanted him to keep them.

“Never did I expect the symbolism of these trophies to be of such amazing magnitude,” he said in a statement.

“I now realize how closely connected they are to my success as Wimbledon’s winner in 1976-1980 and this revelation has caused me to reconsider my earlier intention to sell them,” Borg said.

“Trophies of this kind have a meaning that goes beyond my comprehension of the victories, as they emphasise the bond between me as a player and all the people, family friends and fans that have stood behind me through the years – people that have my love and respect,” he said.

“After great consideration and reasoning, I have decided that I will never sell my Wimbledon trophies and racquets and I have withdrawn them from sale.

Jon Baddeley, Bonhams’ group head of collectors’ sales, said: “Naturally, Bonhams is disappointed that this decision has been made, but fully respects and understands its client’s decision.”

Borg, who won 11 Grand Slam titles, invested in a string of disastrous business ventures after retiring from the game at 26 years old.

Bonhams said the trophies were expected to have sold for between £200,000 and £300,000 (350,000-525,000 dollars).

It was thought to be the first time a Wimbledon champion has put the treasured prize up for auction. Fellow Wimbledon winner Andre Agassi had expressed an interest in buying them.

AFP

SPORT

Björn Borg’s son Leo set to make his Wimbledon debut

Four decades after Swedish tennis legend Björn Borg won a fifth consecutive Wimbledon title, his 16-year-old son Leo Borg is reportedly set to make his debut at the tournament.

Björn Borg's son Leo set to make his Wimbledon debut
Leo Borg's Wimbledon debut is yet to be officially confirmed. Photo: Hanna Franzén/TT

According to reports in British tabloid The Sun and Swedish tabloid Expressen, Borg will be awarded a wildcard to play in the Wimbledon junior event.

“Leo is very grateful about getting a wildcard for the qualifiers to junior Wimbledon,” Björn Borg told Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet.

“It will be an incredible experience and useful practice for the future,” he added.

A spokeswoman for the Wimbledon tournament did not want to confirm the decision, only saying that wildcard announcements and the main draw for the Juniors tournament would be made next week.

If confirmed, Leo Borg’s Wimbledon debut comes 39 years after Björn Borg defeated American rival John McEnroe, winning him his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title.

The iconic match has been called one of the greatest matches of all time and the story was adapted for the screen in the 2017 feature film Borg vs McEnroe, where Leo, bearing a striking resemblance to his fatther, played a younger version of Björn Borg.

During the 1970s and early 1980s Björn Borg won a total of 11 Grand Slam titles, five Wimbledons and six French Opens.


Björn Borg after winning his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title in 1980. Photo: Scanpix/TT

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