Gift Of A Tennis Racquet
Bjorn Rune Borg was born on Sweden's Flag Day, June 6, 1956, in Sodertalje, a manufacturing town about 35 minutes from Stockholm. He was the only child of Rune and Margerethe Borg, who owned a grocery store. One of Sweden's leading table-tennis players, Rune Borg captured first prize in his city's championships in the summer of 1965, and was awarded a tennis racquet. He gave that racquet to his nine-year-old son, launching in the boy a lifelong passion.
Yet tennis was not the young athlete's first love. Like many other Swedish boys, Borg was a passionate ice-hockey player. At nine years old, he played starting center for his town's junior team. Making the national team was a dream he shared with many of his teammates and peers.
Borg picked up his first tennis racquet in the summertime, when there was no ice for hockey playing. He approached the new sport with zeal—though at first he was turned away from the overcrowded beginners' course at the Sodertalje Tennis Club. Undeterred, he endeavored to teach himself how to play, using his garage wall as a backboard. Soon a vacancy opened at the tennis club, and the young player spent the rest of his summer there, honing his new skills from 7 a.m. until dusk.