My father was a good table tennis player; he played a local tournament in my hometown in Sweden and won a tennis racket he gave to me. I was seven or eight years-old. The next day I went up to a court and played with some friends. From the first point or the first five minutes, I fell in love with this sport. From then on, I started to play tennis.
When I was 12 years-old I played a junior tournament, I had the worst temper ever: I was throwing rackets, I was swearing, I was cheating… You can imagine, or you cannot imagine how bad I was on the court. The club suspended me from tennis for six months! I came back and I didn’t open my mouth after that. I was scared that they were going to suspend me again from tennis! So that’s why I started to learn to keep my feelings inside, to keep everything inside.
I think as a kid, you always want to be successful in something. When I won Wimbledon for the first time, it was like a dream. It was a reward after all those years and all the time and all the tears and all the pain I’d been putting down on the court to try to be a champion. And finally, you get the cup in your hands.
I didn’t realize what was going to happen, that I would become a part of what started a new era in tennis. Before, it was more of a classic sport. I was kind of a rock star and something new came up in tennis that was positive for the sport in general. I’m very proud and happy being part of that era.
I saw the watch many years ago and I fell in love with it. It’s a Day-Date, it came out in 1956 for the first time, and that’s the year I was born. This one meant something special to me, and I think that’s why I’ve been wearing this watch for many, many years now. I think it’s close to my personality and what I stand for.
When I look at my watch and I think back to the success and the achievements I had on the tennis court, winning the big championships, winning the big tournaments… It stands for, “I believe in greatness. I did something great on the tennis courts that I’m very proud of.”