Bjorn Borg Visits Poznan With His Son Leo, Who Bows Out Early

Leo Borg Poznan Challenger (not GETTY)
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Poznan, Poland–

Leo Borg was eliminated in the Poznan Challenger’s opening round by Alexander Shevchenko, a 20-year-old Russian qualifier. The Swede was originally supposed to face Hugo Gaston, but the Frenchman decided to withdraw due to fatigue from his runner-up run at Gstaad. Borg played a very competitive first set but ultimately couldn’t keep up with Shevchenko’s methodical baselining. This is now the youngster’s ninth wildcard in thirteen professional entries. He scored his only win earlier this year at an ITF event in Antalya over Fermin Tenti.

Leo’s father, the 11-time Grand Slam champion Bjorn Borg, came with him to Poznan and met up with one of his past rivals, former World No. 10 and the 1978 Australian Open men’s doubles champion (alongside Kim Warwick) Wojtek Fibak. The two met seven times on the ATP circuit, with the legendary Swede claiming six of these matches. Fibak’s sole win came in the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo WCT in 1976.

It was the third time Borg visited Poland – in 1974, he contested Fibak in a Davis Cup rubber between Poland and Sweden. “Bjorn beat me, but it was a long and fantastic match,” said the highest-ranked Polish player of all time at a press conference held by the organizers on Tuesday. Four years later, Borg was invited by Fibak to play an exhibition with him at the Hala Arena, one of Poznan’s biggest sporting venues.

“We met many, many years ago, very good times. (We) stayed in contact all over the world” said Borg, as the two told a couple of stories about their friendship, including one where Fibak (still in his early days as a pro), didn’t have enough money to buy a ticket from Barcelona to Tehran. Borg gave him cash and allowed him to stay in his apartment.

This time, the former World No. 10 convinced the organizers to give Borg’s son a wild card and invited him to the venue. Krzysztof Jordan, the tournament director of the Poznan Challenger, assured the legendary Swede that their whole family is also invited to join the event next year.

The 11-time Grand Slam champion was also asked about the “Borg vs McEnroe” movie that came out in 2017, documenting the 1980 Wimbledon final. “The movie was okay, but it could have been done in a different way,” said Borg, expressing his regret that he and John McEnroe weren’t involved in the production. The movie presented Borg as a cold entity that never smiles, but even from the short press conference, it was clear that the Swede has a different personality, cracking jokes all over the place. “You know what the best thing was about the movie? I won in the end,” was just one of the moments when the tennis legend made the whole room laugh during a 15-minute presser.

Fibak and Borg also came out on the court again this Tuesday, during a coaching session with two local juniors. The two played a super tie-break with the Swede giving advice and Fibak commentating the match live.

After yet another disappointing result in singles, Leo Borg is left with the doubles campaign, where he’s partnering one of Poland’s top juniors, Aleksander Orlikowski. The Swede is yet to win a professional match in doubles, losing in the opening round at three previous Challengers. Borg was handed a wild card for all four of these entries.

Main Photo credit: Paweł Rychter/Poznań Open 2021