Stefan Edberg Biography And Detailed Game Analysis

Stefan Edberg is a former world number one tennis player from Sweden. He is known as one of the best serve and volley players of all time!

Check out Edberg’s typical serve and volley
game-style at Wimbledon!

Biography

Edberg was born in 1966 in VÃstervik, Sweden. He was a phenomenal junior player. In fact he became the first player to win all four Junior Grand Slam events in one calendar year in 1983! He also turned pro that same year.

As a professional, Edberg managed to win six career grand slam singles titles and an overall of 42 career singles titles!

His serve and volley style Tennis was definitely more effective on fast surfaces. He won four of his Grand Slam Titles on grass court and the other two on the fast hard courts at the US Open!

On the Tour he was not only known for his exceptional serve and volley game but also for his sportsmanlike conduct! He received the ATP Sportsmanship award an astonishing five times and as a result the ATP renamed the award the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award!

Game Analysis

Edberg: Serve and volley with a great touch around the net!

1. Technical

Forehand

Edberg’s forehand was always his weakest shot!

Generally, Edberg could hit the forehand with moderate pace relatively consistent, yet he was not able to generate a lot of pace on his own or really hurt somebody with that forehand.

He hits with a rather conservative grip on his forehand and oftentimes his hitting zone is a bit short, resulting in balls that are not really penetrating the court.


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Backhand

Edberg has one of the all-time great one-handed backhands!

He was able to hit winners with this shot from almost anywhere on the court.

From a technical standpoint the shot is pretty much flawless! Stefan utilizes a great unit, creating a lot of coiling with the upper body. All of this results in great use of the kinetic chain!

To learn more about the kinetic chain
visit the Tennis Strokes page on this website!

His upper body also stays sideways throughout the hit, creating a very long hitting zone for the racket. This is is one of the reasons Edberg rarely ever mishit a backhand!

Check out these great backhands from Stefan!

Slice

Stefan Edberg hits an exceptional slice backhand.

He really has textbook technique on this shot, which
I would recommend anybody to copy!

His grip looks like a continental with the index knuckle on bevel two.

What he does so well on his slice is that he gets the racket face relatively flat and he moves the racket forward on a rather straight swing plane rather than swinging down a lot.

This straight swing plane makes the ball go through the court and his opponents have a tougher time taking a full swing to pass Edberg at the net.

Serve

Stefan hits an interesting serve. He rarely flattens out his first serve and does not go for many service winners. Instead he hits the first serve with more spin, giving himself a bit more time to come in to the net. His second serve was a bit too harmless at times in his career.

The motion itself is solid. He has a continuous arm motion and creates a good separation angle between his
hips and his shoulders!

It looks like most of the key body positions are in place.

One interesting thing to look at is his grip. Seems to me like his grip might be a bit extreme with the index knuckle more on bevel one rather than the usual serve-grip on bevel two.

It is very tough to see on the available videos though. That grip would explain why Edberg had trouble flattening out his serve and why he was more comfortable putting a lot of kick into his serve.

Volleys

Stefan Edberg is one of the best net players in the history of the game! He made a living coming to the net whenever possible.

Listen to other pro players talking about Edberg’s great volleys!

On both forehand and backhand volleys, Edberg manages to keep the racket head very stable throughout contact!

Also his racket face is relatively flat at contact which allows him to hit volleys that really go through the court. His racket moves forward rather than downward on his volleys!

From the available videos, it seems like he keeps a continental grip on forehand and backhand volleys with his index knuckle on bevel number 2. In my opinion this grip is slightly better suited for backhand volleys than forehand volleys, which could explain why the backhand volley is a little bit better.

One other thing to note is that Stefan Edberg in his prime was one of the best movers ever around the net. He was extremely quick coming in to the net after his serve as well as moving back for overheads, allowing him to cover the net very well!

2. Tactical

Stefan Edberg had a very clear game plan throughout his pro career.

His basic idea was to come to the net as often as possible!

He rarely went for big serves. Instead he hit serves that allowed him to come in to the net and win his points there. On his opponents second serves we would often come in with a chip and charge play.

With his forehand liability he knew that playing long rallies from the backcourt was not to his advantage. He would hit his forehand deep and wait for opportunities to come in, especially with his backhand. Overall a very smart game plan built around his technical possibilities!

Another interesting thing to note is that having watched him a bit on the seniors tour lately, he does not come in to the net on every serve anymore.

The conditions are not as fast, with slower balls and surfaces, and also Stefan is not as quick anymore as he used to. Therefore, he has adjusted his strategy accordingly and now stays back on second serves a lot.

3. Physical

During his time on the tour, Edberg was one of the fittest players around.

His movement around the court was effortless and graceful!

Great movement is one of the commonalities among the all-time great players and Edberg was no exception!

Most likely he had an incredible work ethic off the tennis court!

4. Mental

Stefan is an incredible competitor. There are very few players in the history of the game that were able to keep their composure as well as the Swede.

Throughout his career, I have never seen him not play a point at 100%, no matter what the score was!

This is a sign of a true champion!

Ranking

I consider Edberg very strong in the physical, mental and tactical areas. He has one weakness and that is his forehand from a technical perspective!

Therefore, I would rank Stefan Edberg’s skills in the following order:

1. Mental
2. Physical
3. Tactical
4. Technical

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