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August 5, 1996

Stefan Edberg


Q. Talk about what went out there and what it was like for you and how does it compare to some other cities?

STEFAN EDBERG: Like I said, it has been a special place to me and since I have been here every year, since I started, it has been one of my favorite tournaments to come to and I think it is due to results as well because I have had a lot of success here and played a lot of matches out on that court and I always had a lot of support here in Cincinnati, probably more here than in some other places, so it is a special place. They used to have the locker rooms at the clubhouse where the golf is now. It has grown into a huge event here.

Q. This is a tournament that you have played every single year?

STEFAN EDBERG: Obviously, Stockholm Open is one other and I think there is another tournament that I played every year. Probably Queens, but I didn't play that the first year.

Q. Are you a little bit surprised by the different gifts that you have received?

STEFAN EDBERG: It has been different. I think since they gave me gifts in the beginning of the tournament, it is almost like they are competing a little bit with each other, but I mean, I think small things is good enough. Just a little memory from Cincinnati. This is a great gift having a painting of yourself because I don't have many of those and it would be nice to hang on the wall and I can look back 30 years from now when I was a youngster playing. It is nice, but I think really what you are looking for is people to come out and watch you throughout the week and give them a chance to sort of a last good-bye or give them a chance to see me the last time around. That is what it is all about.

Q. Did you notice today -- I don't know how much you were around the site, did anybody come up to you and say, you know, "we are going to miss you" or "it has been great having you?"

STEFAN EDBERG: Oh, I had that a lot today and I have heard it throughout the year, but it has been more today since it is "Stefan Edberg night." There has been a lot of people that have come up to me here at the tournament and at the hotel and everywhere, so it has been very positive.

It is a lot of people that do come up to you - more than you think.

Q. What did you think about the Swedish National Anthem?

STEFAN EDBERG: That was a surprise, oh, yeah. All these flags they have on the stands, it was beautiful. Being a Swede, it was pretty special, I thought.

Q. Can you give us a little bit of what the anthem says?

STEFAN EDBERG: She is American, but -- you can hear the accent, of course, she is American. It was a good one. She got all the words right. I don't know all the words to be honest --

Q. What is the theme of it, do you know?

STEFAN EDBERG: It is a big explanation in English. "You are old, you are a free country" - that is how it starts off, but the meaning of it, I am not too good getting into that. I better not.

Q. Do you know the words?

STEFAN EDBERG: I know them pretty much - not all of them. I have to be honest. That is pretty bad. Playing Davis Cup you hear the anthem. Unfortunately, I didn't hear it too much during the Olympics. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER) It came out twice, that is not bad. That is not bad.

Q. What will you do in your retirement?

STEFAN EDBERG: That is another question which comes up every week and I will take a few months off just to treat myself, you know, just not training as hard as I have done and just thinking about things and doing a few things and taking a long vacation, just to think things over, but I think after a couple of months I will start doing things and probably will stay involved in tennis through some companies and do bits and pieces and do quite a few different things, just to start off with to get a feeling for what I really would like to do because I don't know 100%. This is something that I really want to do, but I know pretty much what I want to do.

Q. Do you ever see yourself playing on the Senior Tour if you ever get to that age?

STEFAN EDBERG: That is a huge option. I really don't know. I haven't really thought about it because it is so far away, it is four years and who knows what I will be doing in four years time. I don't know what I will feel like. If I will feel like playing, then I will. If I don't,, I will just forget about it I think I have been competing a lot at this level and -- it all depends -- probably would be nice seeing, you know, playing with the guys that you had been playing with before and seeing them. It will be nice. Still, when you play over 35, it is very competitive.

Q. Sidney is only four years away. Do you think there will be any chance you would coach the Swedish Olympic tennis team or Davis Cup team in the next four years?

STEFAN EDBERG: In four years time, probably is short notice, but that is a good one, though. I think that is sort of down the road. That is a possibility. That might be something that I would enjoy being Davis Cup captain or something like that, going to events where you have been, but I am not sure yet.

Q. What are some of the other gifts that you received?

STEFAN EDBERG: I have had a golf club. I had a golf bag. I have a cruise.

Q. To where?

STEFAN EDBERG: In the Caribbean. I haven't used it yet. That was at Lipton. And a brooch. That I had in Philly.

Q. Anything in Rome?

STEFAN EDBERG: No, I don't think -- no, I don't think so.

Q. How many things have you gone to?

STEFAN EDBERG: These presentations?

Q. Yes.

STEFAN EDBERG: Most of the tournaments. Not all of them, but, you know, sometimes I have had it at the players' party or dinner in the evening, so it varies from tournament to tournament and it is really a little bit up to the tournament if they feel that they want to do something. It is no pressure from my side.

Q. Do you think it is kind of weird to do this for a tennis player?

STEFAN EDBERG: I think it is something new because it has never really happened before and --

Q. Is it something about you, maybe people want to honor you?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, I am sure there would be some people that would do it and -- I mean, my intention by the end of last year was just to announce that it was going to be my last year because I wanted to let people know; wanted to let fans know and also in order to try to raise some money for the Stefan Edberg Foundation which is so much easier when you are still playing and that was one of the reasons. So it is a lot of reasons for doing this, and thought it would be something positive to do and also create some interest around the tournaments too because it is really -- it really has like in Bastad, for instance, made a huge difference to that tournament where we filled the stands throughout the week there and we had 17, 18,000 the year before and suddenly we had 30, 40,000 people coming out, so it works both ways.

Q. What does the Stefan Edberg Foundation do?

STEFAN EDBERG: At the moment it is targeted between 14 and 16 year old kids back in Sweden setting up a few scholarships and, you know, putting them together at these Davis Cup and Fed Cup camps, sort of educating them and letting them train with each other. That is basically what it is of today because you need to start at the small scale and maybe further down the road you can expand it going further down and start working sort of at the grass root level, so you need to start somewhere and one reason is because we have a very poor Swedish Federation in terms of money back in Sweden and they need all the means of support and if I can help them with advice and try to lead them in the right direction and use some of my experience, I feel that is really important. It is really giving something back to the kids back in Sweden.

Q. It would be along the lines of sports education, physical education?

STEFAN EDBERG: Absolutely. Things like that, which is important too. Educating them. Because 14 to 16, that is really when a lot of things happen and 16, you sort of finish school in Sweden and maybe at that time you want to decide if you want to go professional or not. So it is a crucial stage and where you need a lot of help.

Q. Had you made a decision whether you are going back to Sweden or .....

STEFAN EDBERG: I will stay in London speaking today; then we will see what happens.

Q. Do you know how much had been collected this year from the Foundation?

STEFAN EDBERG: Pretty much. Yeah, probably between 125 and $150,000 up to today. So it has been substantial.

Q. How much was the adidas donation?

STEFAN EDBERG: It was 5. I believe, 5,000. They forgot to mention that.

JOE LYNCH: Stefan started it with about 300,000 from his own bank account.

Q. 300,000 plus 125, 150?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, and hopefully there will be some along the way.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how you are feeling? You had a good week in L.A. last week.

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, I did play well most of the week. Last week I played against Michael. He played too well. He had a great week. He ended up winning, which was no surprise, but I am hitting the ball pretty well, but we will have a test tomorrow with the heat because it was hot today - God, it is supposed to get better tomorrow. First match is always a little hard getting used to the conditions and things and hopefully I will wake up on the right side tomorrow and be ready to go, but I feel good about my game and myself.

Q. Talking about the gifts. What did they give you in because Bastad?

STEFAN EDBERG: In because Bastad they gave me a 1-wood driver, a Wilson. They gave me one of these, you know, these ships you sort of put together in wood --

Q. A model?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, a model ship. ?

Q. When you won the junior Grand Slam and finished up at the U.S. Open they did come on and said this is the next Bjorn Borg. If you had anything to say back to that reporter who covered that, what would--

STEFAN EDBERG: To be the next Bjorn Borg?

Q. Obviously, you have been a driving force in tennis and have also been -- I know that you are probably sick of hearing when are you going to retire and when are you -- you have been such a role model because of your dignity off the court as well as on the court.

STEFAN EDBERG: I mean, okay, I am never going to be the Bjorn Borg because my name -- I am not playing like him and as for myself, I always tried to be a good example. I think, given my nature - I am pretty calm and always -- what else should I say? I have done my things and hopefully done it in the right way and hopefully there will be some kids looking up to me because kids do look up to stars like ones did watching Borg. He was like a role model to me - the way he played, but the way he behaved on the court. I think he was an inspiration to a lot of kids back in Sweden and we all behaved pretty well, I think.

Q. The situation with Swedish tennis after you leave is not that dry, I mean, Enqvist is around. Have you noticed anybody really young in Swedes that could come through?

STEFAN EDBERG: Not really because I am not really watching the young kids. I see them when I come on the Tour. We still have a lot of good players, but we don't have what we had, you know, with me, Wilander and Nystrom. I think what happened did happen in the '80s and will not happen in 100 years time, I can bet as much as I want on that because it is so unnatural for a country 8, 9 million people to have that many good tennis players, so I think to be realistic, if Sweden can have one top 10 player over the next couple of years, I think we have to be really, really happy with that and I think we still will produce a lot of good tennis players with the tradition that we have and with all the volunteer work we have in all the clubs because tennis is still a pretty big sport in Sweden, but it would be nothing with what it has been - I am sure about that. Hopefully, I can be of some help and lead them on the way because it is a tough way to the top; especially nowadays. More now, than ever, because we have something going. We were probably training harder than a lot of other countries, but they were looking at what we were doing and they were copying a lot of things and plus they improved, so I think it is going to be tough.

Q. When you look back will the Davis Cup be larger than say your individual play or --

STEFAN EDBERG: Being an individual sport I think winning Wimbledon is still bigger than winning Davis Cup even if Davis Cup is huge back in Sweden because it is really -- that is how tennis got so big in Sweden was with all the success that we had during the Slams, but also in Davis Cup, so it is -- it is great to win Davis Cup, but not as great as winning Wimbledon.

Q. How about that second U.S. Open, I mean, you struggled --


Q. I mean (inaudible) --

STEFAN EDBERG: In one way it probably was the one that was very, very special, was the second one, in the way that I won it, looking at the tennis, it was a tough one to win and I don't think many players are going to come back from behind that many times to win a Grand Slam, so it was a very special one.

Q. Are you able to -- is it too hard to pick one match that stands out more than any other for you?

STEFAN EDBERG: That would be the 1991 U.S. Open final.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else? Thank you.

End of FastScripts…

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