LOVE MATCH: My Life with Bjorn by Mariana Borg

LOVE MATCH: My Life with Bjorn

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He won the 1980 Wimbledon as a wedding present for her; in return, she has produced this lightweight--but not unaffecting--diary of her observations of him. Rumanian Mariana (Simonescu) Borg was a pro tennis player herself when she met Bjorn in Paris in 1976; but she soon stopped competing to accompany him. And apart from a brief mention of her family and home in Bucharest, the story is all his. The focus is the 1980 Wimbledon final, Borg vs. McEnroe, that included the famous seven matchpoint tie-breaker; in between descriptions of how Bjorn prepares (single-mindedly) for each match of the tournament, Mariana flashes back to previous titles and tournaments, and to patchy anecdotes of their courtship (""Then he offered me a track-suit, saying it was the only nightdress he had""). We don't learn Borg's thoughts about tennis; otherwise, we learn more about him here than from his own book. Flowery as they are, Mariana's descriptions manage to convey what his childhood home in Sweden, his parents, his friends, and trainer Lennart mean to Borg. (In tennis, he's closest to Gerulaitis.) And while Mariana's accounts of Borg's playing--specifically, in the 1980 final--offer little insight into his reactions when he plays (sometimes, one suspects, she doesn't know), we do get a real sense of what the damp-palm, chain-smoking players' families go through as they watch an important match. So, a skimpy tennis chronicle by a discreet observer--but with some engaging glimpses into Borg's private world.

Pub Date: April 9th, 1982
Publisher: Dial