Tennis: Bjorn Borg’s son Leo in the big boys’ court

It was three years ago, at the “Little Aces” in Tarbes… Leo Borg, son of a certain Bjorn and his third wife Patricia, was one of the attractions of the World 12-14 year olds. The Swedish teenager grew up well. This week, he returns to France, some forty kilometers away, at the Pau Challenger, co-directed by Jérémy Chardy. His second invitation to the professional circuit after a defeat in the first round of the Bergamo Challenger a few days ago.

“When I participated in the Laver Cup (Editor’s note: in 2018), Bjorn was my captain, says Chardy. We talked a lot about our families during the week and we stayed in touch. I followed Leo’s progress and asked if they were interested in coming here to start gaining experience. Young people must be given a chance. Of course, that makes people talk about the tournament but he is above all a great kid with a real project. “

In the first round, No. 103 in the junior ranking, whose blond hair under the cap vaguely reminds someone, will face the whimsical Latvian Ernests Gulbis, former top 10 who fell back to 136th, on Tuesday. Another world. While his mother would have preferred to see him embrace another career, Leo, who played his teenage father in the film Borg / McEnroe, would like to glean his first ATP points this season.

Unlike many parents, Bjorn Borg does not want to interfere

“At first, it was a bit difficult to manage the comparisons with my father,” he explained after his baptism of fire lost against the Taiwanese Chun-Hsin Tseng (6-3, 6-1). Now all is fine. In my life, it has never happened to look for it on YouTube or to completely review one of its old games. I don’t think it would be of any use to me, it would add nothing to what I know. I have to stay focused on myself, that’s what he tells me every day. “

The man with eleven Grand Slams watches over the evolution of his successor. Without interfering too much, so as not to invade the court with a bulky shadow… Unlike many much less famous parents, the placid Borg does not want to interfere in the work of Rickard Billing and Marios Dimakos at the Royal Tennis Club of Stockholm. “But we always talk before a match”, slips the son, whose idol is Rafael Nadal, twice more successful (12) than his father at Roland Garros … “Bjorn is a super humble guy who does not want to be a brake. He lets Leo do his thing and it’s the right attitude on his part, ”says Chardy.

“I just have the eyes of a father,” said the legend, 63, who appreciates Leo’s mental strength. He loves tennis, he is in his place. If he asks me for advice, of course I answer! But I am not replacing his trainer. Leo sees me more as a father than as a former champion. And this is the most important. I prefer that… ”Without the pressure of a parent who put his managers away 27 years ago, Borg junior, who has the same textile equipment supplier, will always have to manage the weight of a story that does not belong to him. But of which he is necessarily the heir …

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