The New York Times’ Andrew Keh has a nice profile of Leo Borg, son of legend Bjorn and one of Sweden’s most promising tennis prospects. As the article makes abundantly clear, Bjorn and his wife Patricia are concerned that their 15-year-old son has opted to follow his 11-time-major-winning father into tennis, inviting all the pressure and scrutiny that entails.
Leo, for his part, simply loves to own his dad. The teen just keeps the burns coming. No one is safe. Don’t even try him. John McEnroe absolutely doesn’t want this smoke.
Did you really think Baby Borg would dig up the dusty-ass VHS just to watch that old fart pull off the Wimbledon-French Open double (a.k.a. the Channel Slam) three consecutive times, a feat unrivaled then and now? Get outta here, pops:
When asked if he had ever seen one of his father’s matches, Leo shrugged.
“No, actually,” he said. “None. I don’t think so.”
He thought about it some more, as if to make sure. “No,” he added, finally. “Not a single match.”
The game has changed up quite a bit since those wooden-racket days, anyway. Old advice has expired. Courts are slow, and strings are magic. Guys will pass you off their back foot, 12 feet behind the baseline. This ain’t your literal dad’s serve-and-volley:
Leo’s favorite player growing up was Rafael Nadal; Patricia said her son was comically indifferent to her husband’s accomplishments.
“You tried once, when he was small,” she said to her husband. “You told him, like, ‘Go more forward.’ And Leo was like: ‘Ugh! You don’t know anything about tennis!’ And Bjorn said, ‘O.K., I will never say anything about tennis.’ ”
Bjorn, perhaps more than any other player, ushered in the present era of topspin-baseline whaling, but let’s just let his kid cook, both on the court and in the backseat of the car.
Here is Leo hard at work last year at Les Petits As, a top junior tournament, showing off a two-hander much more modern than his dad’s and just a fraction of those famous locks: