Autograf

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Adress
Alterno Management AB
Att: Jennifer Mjällby
Engelbrekts väg 17
191 62 Sollentuna, Sweden

 

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Intervjuer med

Martin Haigh, The United Kingdom

Local government officer who also organises elections and register people to vote.

When did you first see Jonas play tennis?

I first saw Jonas play live at Queens in 1994 in the final which he and Jan Apell won against Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge. Then I remember seeing him play against Stefan Edberg at the US Open (Jonas has a 1-0 win/loss record against Stefan!)

 Why did you support Jonas? What particular aspects of his game/personality did you like?

I have always admired Jonas’ fighting spirit. His game was exciting to watch in that it is quite varied: sometimes with baseline rallies, sometimes with netplay and I always liked the way that he showed his emotion when he won an important point. He has always been very approachable and friendly to those who have followed his career and for that I am very grateful.

When did you first meet him?

I think I first spoke to him at the Australian Open in 1995 and again at Queens in London that year where I asked about how I could apply for tickets to the Davis Cup semi-final between Sweden and USA in Las Vegas.

I had been following Swedish tennis for many years and wanted to go to a Davis Cup match. I went to the match and saw him there and reminded him of our conversation. After the match he came over to me and asked if I’d enjoyed the tennis. I was so impressed that he had taken the time to come over and ask, especially as Sweden had just lost the match.

A few years later I was being introduced to Jonas by a mutual friend at the French Open. He was meeting Jonas for a drink and invited me to come along. I remember that we stood outside the Players’ Lounge and he talked with us for about  half an hour, often stopping to sign autographs for passing fans. I was impressed by the fact that he wasn’t someone who avoided the fans.

What was your favourite match that you ever saw him play?

That’s a difficult one. There were some fantastic matches over the years. The dramatic ones in Davis Cup when playing for Sweden and not just an individual. One stands out against Gustavo Kuerten when Sweden were 1-2 down, but also the final in Gothenburg when he beat Michael Chang.

I remember one point when he hit the ball so high up for a lob, almost hitting the ceiling in the Scandinavium, only to win the point against Chang.

In doubles I have been fortunate enough to see Jonas play live in all four grand slam finals. Paris 2005 has some very special memories for me. In fact, that weekend and all that occurred is for me one of my most special memories. Jonas winning the last remaining grand slam, having been in the final 11 years before. Then go and see him defend the title the following year was such a great achievement. Of the other tournaments, seeing Jonas win his final title at the Paris Indoors was a special bonus at the end of his career. However, going to the Shanghai Tennis Masters Cup will always stay in my memory, particularly when he and Max Mirnyi beat Damm and Paes in an extremly close and nerve-wracking semi final before going on to beat Knowles and Nestor in the final. For me, that ranked alongside a grand slam final. I was also lucky enough to be in Shanghai for Jonas’ farewell match.

If you had to sum up your feelings about Jonas’s career, what would they be?

I feel very lucky to have known Jonas and his family and to have experienced their kindness throughout his career. We always knew that one day Jonas would eventually hang up his racket and each year that he continued to play became a bonus. His playing style was unique in many ways and, whilst I still follow the game of tennis, there is no-one else who plays quite like him. Serve and volley tennis is a dying breed!

Above all, I will always remember how much he appreciated the fans, regardless of whether it was someone who he knew well or just a person in the crowd who wanted his autograph. He is a gentleman and a true ambassador for the game of tennis.

When did you become a fan of Jonas and why? 

I started following Jonas’ career around 1994 .  The first time I saw him play was in London at Queens.  He was in the final playing with Jan Apell against the Woodies.  They won the match in the final set and it was interesting because, of course, Jonas would go on to play with Todd Woodbridge later in his career.  So he obviously made an impression on Todd from quite early on in his career.

If it would be possible to see one of his matches live for the first time again- which one would you pick?

That’s a tough one!  There have been so many fantastic matches.  In singles I was lucky enough to see him play some great matches in Davis Cup.  I also saw him win one of his six singles titles in Nottingham in 2002.  Of course there were some fantastic doubles matches too, and I saw him win the Davis Cup in Gothenburg and in Milan.

Later I was lucky enough to see him win the French Open Final with Max Mirnyi.  That was a fantastic experience.  One of the greatest matches I ever saw was the semi final in Shanghai with Max against Damm and Paes.  It was such a close match and I was absolutely drained afterwards!  However, because it was such a fantastic day, and one of my best days ever, I think the French Open Doubles Final in 2005, because it was the moment when Jonas won the last of the four grand slams that he hadn’t already won.

How did you feel when Jonas announced that he would end his career as a professional tennis player?

Well, it had to happen sometime of course.  Naturally I was a little sad, but to put it into perspective, it has been a fantastic experience to follow the career of such a special player.

Jonas has always given 100% as a player and that is what has made him such an exciting player to watch.  I am happy that I have so many great memories of his career.

If you had the opportunity to ask Jonas any question you would like, what would that question be and why?

I’ve been lucky enough to speak to him on many occasions and he has always been willing to speak openly and frankly and I have always appreciated that.  He clearly appreciates the support that he has had over the years.  Perhaps I would ask if he has any aspirations to coach a young player, or to be Davis Cup captain.

 

Have you learned more about Sweden and Swedish tennis players by being a fan of Jonas?

I’ve always appreciated Swedish tennis and the way the Swedes support each other.  It is something which has always made me want to support the Swedes – from Borg to Wilander, from Edberg to Jonas.  They are always friendly towards each other.  Above all, they are such good sports – always fair to their opponents and respectful.   It has been fantastic to travel to Sweden and watch tennis there, but it has also been nice to experience something of the Swedish culture and the country itself.  I’ve also very much enjoyed watching the Swedish Davis Cup matches.

 What is your most memorable Jonas moment?

Again there have been so many.  Being introduced to him by a mutual friend was very special.  I was impressed by the fact that he stood and talked to me for ages.  At the Davis Cup in 1995 in Las Vegas, he came over and thanked me for suporting him and asked if I’d enjoyed the match – all this after Sweden had just lost the match.  He didn’t have to do that and I was so impressed that he took the trouble to ask.  Seeing him win the French Open in 2005 and the Shanghai Masters in 2006 and being there, was very special.

Describe your best photograph of Jonas. When was it taken? And why is it so good?

I have so many photos of Jonas!  There are some great action shots.

The way Jonas celebrated a good shot always made a good photograph, especially when he did the ”brussel step”.  I suppose my favourite is the one of me with him after he won the French Open in 2005.

 If you could turn back time and change the results for one match that you wish that he had won, which match would that be and why? 

In singles, it would have to be the US Open semi final in 1997 against Rusedski.  That was a tough loss and it was his best chance of reaching a grand slam final.  In doubles it would have been the 2006 US Open final against Damm and Paes.  I was there!  He and Max Mirnyii were a set and 3-1 up, but lost the match in three sets.

If you could have one piece of Jonas’s equipment from the time he was playing tennis, what would you pick and why?

I really liked the yellow shirt he wore for Davis Cup at the end of his career.  It would be either that, or his Beijing 2008 shirt.

 Who is your new favourite player on the tour and why?

Roger Federer.  He is a class player, exciting to watch and plays serve and volley – just like Jonas:-)

 How many tournaments have you been to over the years to watch Jonas play?

I’ve lost count!  There have been so many!  I do know I’m lucky to have seen him play live in all four Grand Slam doubles finals, and that feels really special.

What was Jonas’s best quality as a player?

He was always a fighter, and I really admired that.  It made him very exciting to watch.

 How did Jonas treat his fans?

Jonas always appreciated his fans, and that was another reason which made following his career so enjoyable.

What do you wish Jonas will do for the tennis as a sport now when he’s not on the court anymore?

Well, I already know of his involvement in the Stockholm Open.  It would be good to see him in the Legends tour, or as a coach, or as Swedish Davis Cup captain!

Will you continue travelling the world to watch tennis even now when Jonas has retired? 

Of course!  I love the game so much, I’m not about to give up on it!

Linda Chow, Canada

Mother of three children in a very tennis interested family in Londo, Ontario, Canada.

Why are you so interested in tennis?

I started to play when I was home with the children when they were small. After a while I started playing clubmatches, which led to that I started as a volonteer for Tennis Canada. My sister Penny and I enjoy travelling to different tournaments.

 What in particular do you like with Jonas?

His personality. He is very outgoing, kind and positive and he is always very kind to his fans.

What is your most memorable Jonas moment?

When I worked as a volonteer at Tennis Canada Jonas used to stop to talk and remember me as a tennisfan. He also offered me tickets to his matches. Sinces then I have been in touch with Jonas and Petra through e-mail.

How would you sum up Jonas’s career?

He had a great career in both singles and doubles. I think it’s fantastic that he was on the tour for so long and played into his mid 30’s. He’s a great role model for other tennis players with all his achievements.

Penny Wong, Canada

Linda Chows sister. A teacher, with a passion for tennis, living in Toronto, Canada.

Where did you first see Jonas play tennis? Where did you first meet him?

I remember meeting Jonas at the Miami event.  I think it was in 1996. I was walking around the practice courts and happened to see him in action.  I was on my way to a match on the grandstand, but kept watching Jonas practice instead.  I do recall that I was leaving the next day.  When I returned home and checked his biography, I realized that the first time I saw Jonas in action was on March 23rd — his birthday!  If only I had known…I would have wished him a Happy Birthday!  After that chance meeting with Jonas, I started following his career.

What particular aspects of his game/personality did you like?

To me, a player’s personality off the court is equally or even more important than how they perform on the court.  I was happy to see that Jonas was always giving of his time to his fans. His interactions were many and he posed for pictures and signed autographs with patience. I appreciated that he took the time to stop and mingle with his numerous fans!

 

 What was your favourite match that you ever saw him play?

Being in New York for the US Open was always a special time.  There was a particular memorable day in 1997 for me.  One day I went to the Roger Smith Hotel because I had read that there was a tennis exhibit there.  It was a rainy, overcast day and I wasn’t even sure if there’d be any tennis play at the National Tennis Centre that day.  No sooner had I turned the corner, then an official US Open van arrived at the entrance of the hotel.  I stopped to see who was coming out….and of all the players that I would have wanted to come out of the van, came out!  It was Jonas Bjorkman. I was shocked and surprised!  I wanted to run away because I was shy, but I wanted to see him too!  My sister was with me and she went up to Jonas and asked him if I could get a picture with him.  I was scared and happy at the same time.  Jonas was very nice and obliged to the photo.  Later that evening, Jonas played Todd Martin on the Louis Armstrong court.  I didn’t have tickets and someone actually gave me one.

Lady Luck was on my side, as I not only got to see the match in a box seat, but Jonas also won that night!  I think he was the #4 player in the world at that time.  What a thrill!  That was my all time favourite match that I saw Jonas play!

 If you had to sum up your feelings about Jonas’s career, what would they be?

I loved that Jonas played doubles too.  Today it is rare to see a tennis player play singles and doubles.  I’ve seen Jonas partner with Pat Rafter, Todd Woodbridge, Max Mirnyi and Kevin Ullyett.  They’re all amazing players, but they were fortunate to partner with such a gifted, friendly, talented and outstanding player like Jonas.  I miss seeing Jonas play his beloved sport at which he did exceedingly well.  I have great memories because of Jonas.  Thank you for doing such a fabulous job representing tennis!  Thank you for giving us such thrilling moments!  Thank you for being you!