One of the best all-time performers in tennis history, Swedish player Björn Borg won 62 singles titles, including 11 Grand Slam titles, and was ranked No. 1 in the world in 1979 and 1980. Borg learned to play tennis at an early age. He debuted at Wimbledon in the summer of 1973 and in 1974 turned pro at the age of 17. A teenage sensation at the start of his career, Borg gained a reputation for his style of play, his endurance and calm court demeanour, earning him the nickname "The Ice Man". Borg was the first rock star of tennis, raising the popularity of the sport during the 1970s. He retired in 1983, at the young age of 26. His Rolex is a reminder of all of his achievements on the courts and what he was able to bring that changed the sport.
My father was a good table tennis player; he played a local tournament in my hometown in Sweden and won a tennis racket he gave to me. I was seven or eight years-old. The next day I went up to a court and played with some friends. From the first point or the first five minutes, I fell in love with this sport. From then on, I started to play tennis.
When I was 12 years-old I played a junior tournament, I had the worst temper ever: I was throwing rackets, I was swearing, I was cheating… You can imagine, or you cannot imagine how bad I was on the court. The club suspended me from tennis for six months! I came back and I didn’t open my mouth after that. I was scared that they were going to suspend me again from tennis! So that’s why I started to learn to keep my feelings inside, to keep everything inside.
I think as a kid, you always want to be successful in something. When I won Wimbledon for the first time, it was like a dream. It was a reward after all those years and all the time and all the tears and all the pain I’d been putting down on the court to try to be a champion. And finally, you get the cup in your hands.
I think it’s close to my personality and what I stand for.
I didn’t realize what was going to happen, that I would become a part of what started a new era in tennis. Before, it was more of a classic sport. I was kind of a rock star and something new came up in tennis that was positive for the sport in general. I’m very proud and happy being part of that era.
I saw the watch many years ago and I fell in love with it. It’s a Day-Date, it came out in 1956 for the first time, and that’s the year I was born. This one meant something special to me, and I think that’s why I’ve been wearing this watch for many, many years now. I think it’s close to my personality and what I stand for.
When I look at my watch and I think back to the success and the achievements I had on the tennis court, winning the big championships, winning the big tournaments… It stands for, “I believe in greatness. I did something great on the tennis courts that I’m very proud of.”