THE TOP TEN
After a seven month break...John McEnroe is now back with the pack in the Top Ten...What had happened [in his absence]? The pack which he had left had re-formed. There was a new lead wolf: Lendl. And there was a new member, Boris [Becker], who bit everyone. They are all wolves, even Boris...Does Boris dislike McEnroe? Far from it. He likes him. He will only bite him on court or near it....I think players like Boris - for one thing, because he livens things up..."Liking" is one thing. Friendship is something that scarcely has a chance. After all, they're all out to get each other.
In the Top Ten only the Swedes are an exception. Boris feels most at home with them...The Swedes travel as a group from tournament to tournament. Jarryd, Wilander, Nystrom and Edberg train together, mess around together, crack jokes, laugh, have fun - but on court they fight each other without quarter for money and points. Boris and I often watch them. They even warm each other up before matches. I don't mean knocking the ball about before a match begins. They can play against each other in the evening and train together the next morning. How can this be possible, we ask ourselves?
Both Boris and I need an "enemy". Anyone he plays against is our enemy. No quarter given, or taken. A year ago, all I needed to do was to mention a player's name two or three days before a match, and Boris would become aggressive...
We have often discussed the Swedes. They're just different, that's all. Perhaps their peaceful countryside has left its mark on them, the wide open spaces, the clear sky - that's the only thing I can think of. All Swedes...are marathon players: they play their way calmly and stoically over five sets - I call it the "reindeer gait". Remarkable...
For instance, Edberg is now going out with Wilander's old girlfriend - but they're still the best of friends. How do they manage it? Edberg and Wilander face each other in the final of the Grand Slam tournament in Melbourne. Edberg wins. The same evening, we see them happily drinking together. It makes you envious.
(Extract from Boris, by Gunther Bosch, London, Willow Books, 1987)