Borg can't escape Wimbledon legacy

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> For Bjorn Borg, there's no escaping a legacy which yielded 11 Grand Slam titles, countless riches as well as heartbreak in his private life.

Updated: June 25, 2008 11:16 IST
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For Bjorn Borg, there's no escaping a legacy which yielded 11 Grand Slam titles, countless riches as well as heartbreak in his private life.

But the Swede, whose post-tennis traumas featured two divorces and a costly business disaster, has found that the pulsating rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal has helped rekindle his love affair with the sport.

Almost 30 years since his last Wimbledon win, Borg, the master of a generation which boasted wooden racquets, tight shorts and headbands, is now a benchmark against which Federer and Nadal are measured.

Twelve months ago, Federer pulled level with Borg as a five-in-a-row winner of the Wimbledon men's singles title and is now bidding to become the only man to win a sixth successive trophy.

Less than two weeks ago, Nadal equalled the Swede's record as a four-in-a-row champion at Roland Garros.

Now the Spaniard is attempting to be the first man since Borg in 1980 to win the French Open and Wimbledon back-to-back.

"You have this rivalry between players. It was the same when me and John McEnroe played, or Sampras and Agassi and Edberg and Becker," said Borg.

"But Nadal and Federer, it's two different styles, two different people and they always produce good tennis. They are two unbelievable players, and they produce good tennis, great points, and that's what we like to see.

"It's the same when they played the Wimbledon final last year. It was an unbelievable final."

Federer defeated Nadal for the second successive year in the epic final in 2007, but not before the world number two had his chances in the last set to destroy the Swiss star's five-year unbeaten grasscourt run and become the first Spaniard to win the men's title since Manolo Santana in 1966.

When Nadal destroyed Federer in the Roland Garros final, Borg had a front row seat in the VIP box, only his second trip to the French Open since he quit in 1981.

Borg believes that Nadal, who collected his first grasscourt title at Queen's last weekend, should not be ruled out as a potential All England Club champion this year.

"If he survives the first two or three rounds, then I pick Nadal to win Wimbledon," said the Swede.

"He's playing really good on grass. He's feeling very comfortable and the way he played last year, it was an unbelievable final. He was very unfortunate not to win."

Borg, however, admits that he has a soft spot for Federer and will be more than happy to see him make it six out of six.

"Records are meant to beat. I was very happy when he equalled my record last year to win five times. If he wins for six times this year, I will be the first one to congratulate him."

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