When his father, the 11-time Grand Slam champion Bjorn Borg, kicked off his career, the Challenger Tour didn’t even exist. But the legendary Swede was a very early bloomer, first representing his country in the Davis Cup aged only 15, whilst he won his first Grand Slam title in 1974 at the French Open before his 18th birthday. His son Leo, 16 years of age, hasn’t made quite such strides yet, finding himself ranked 98th in the junior standings. But he won the biggest title of his career to date in December in Tel Aviv and will get the chance to make his professional debut in Bergamo this week.
Despite having never previously played at this level, or indeed on the Futures Tour, Borg was awarded a wildcard by the tournament organisers in Bergamo, alongside a number of promising young Italian players. He is set to face a qualifier in the first round, meaning he will come up against either Tseng Chun-hsin, Sadio Doumbia, Pavel Nejedly or Filiberto Fumagalli. The inexperienced Swede will be the underdog regardless of who he takes on, but will surely be hoping to gain valuable experience.
Whilst his father’s talent was evident almost from the first time he stepped on to court, with the senior Borg reportedly beating some of Sweden’s best juniors aged 13, the younger Borg is yet to make much of an impact. His only previous outing at one of the junior Grand Slams ended in a first-round qualifying defeat at the hands of Loris Purroy. But he will be hoping to live up to his father’s legacy, despite Bjorn Borg taking something of a detached interest in his son’s career.
The great Swede has attempted to limit family comparisons and media attention, encouraging his son to have fun on the court, which stands rather at odds with the approach he took to his own career. Indeed, Bjorn Borg, during his short career, was famed for his icy demeanour on court and his tireless pursuit of victory, qualities which would doubtless serve Leo Borg well. And on Tuesday in Bergamo, we will see how far the apple fell from the tree.
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