Saturday, 21 June 2014
Kent Carlsson was another Swede from the 80's who made a name for himself on the clay court tournament circuit. Carlsson hit the ball with such extreme spin that a match today with Nadal would have been entertaining to say the least. The Swede's playing style was once likened to 'hitting a topspin lob on most ground strokes', his ball was high and uncomfortable for his opponents. He was fit too. He once famously said that he 'would not lose from lack of conditioning, I would only lose because my opponent was better on the day'.
Carlsson won the junior boys French Open singles in 1984, carrying on a proud Swedish tradition as Wilander did in '81. This was the same year Borg won the Men's Championship, his final major.
In Bologna , Italy, in 1987 the Swede made tennis history dropping just 10 games for the entire tournament and 5 of those were in the first round. Carlsson won his second round match 0 and 1 before taking on Franco Davin of Argentina who had beaten the number 8 seed Casal in three sets.
The Swede humiliated Davin 6-0, 6-0 which defies belief as Davin was an experienced dirt baller who eventually made it inside the World top 30. Carlsson won his next match 1 and 0 before taking on World number 17 Emilio Sanchez of Spain, another experienced clay courter who made a handy living from the slower surface.
The final was another humiliation in the Swede's favour, 6-2, 6-1, such was his dominance in this particular tournament.
In 1988 he beat future World number 1 Thomas Muster of Austria in the final in Barcelona, a tournament he won twice. He also won in Hamburg in that same year against Henri Leconte in the final by another one sided score line 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. Putting that demolition into perspective, Leconte lost in the final of the French Open one month later to Wilander.
Carlsson's best performance in Paris was two fourth round appearances in consecutive years of '87 and '88, a tournament that with his style could have perhaps expected better results. He also played Davis Cup for Sweden in 1987 winning both his singles matches in the quarter final against France. He retired in 1990 prematurely due to a knee injury that cost him a longer career and perhaps many more titles on his favourite surface. His highest ranking was World number 6 in 1988 and he finished his career with $998,000 plus some loose change. His endorsements no doubt would have taken him well over the million dollar mark.
Kent Carlsson, yet another Champion Swede from the 80's, if you get a chance, look him up, his style is quite remarkable.......