The world of tennis is an inexhaustible source of anecdotes, stories, incredible events capable of moving, amusing and terrifying. One of them deserves to be remembered in the context of Roland Garros and concerns two legendary players. Two Grand Slam winners, two men with an overwhelming personality and a charisma that goes beyond sports to make them media figures around whom impressive stories can emerge. Adriano Panatta and Björn Borg, two tennis players with an intimate rivalry that extends beyond sports.
It was the year 1973 when a relationship began to be built that ended with 16 matches, resulting in 10 wins for the Swedish and 6 for the Italian. Two of Panatta’s triumphs came from his fetish tournament: Roland Garros. After winning Borg that year in Barcelona and Valencia, the Italian, just 23 years old, had already applied as an accomplished clay court specialist called to glory in Paris. On his way he crossed a Borg of just 17 years old, who was already pointing ways and who had very little to explode. It was his first appearance in a Grand slam that he would win up to six times and in which he would only lose once more; precisely, again with Panatta.
The night before that game, Adriano called his media girlfriend, a rock star in Italy turned into a sex symbol with whom he maintained a love affair. “My love, I have to beat that Swedish boy so let’s meet for dinner tonight. I want to see you before I beat him.” This is what Adriano said to his then girlfriend and fifteen years later, he would marry Björn Borg. Your name? Loredana Bertè, a femme fatale who narrated with hair and signs the darkest moments in the life of the Swede after five years of marriage of which he does not seem to have a good memory according to his testimonies.
Bertè tells dark aspects of her marriage to Borg. He talks openly about sex, drug problems, and suicide attempts by the extenista.
After those three initial Panatta victories, the Swede became the tennis legend he will always embody, began to be almost unbeatable and won the Italian in five consecutive games, including the semifinals of Roland Garros 1975. But Adriano would have his great moment of redemption a year later. Encouraged by the confidence that came from winning his duels against Borg in Madrid 1975, and above all, on the indoor court of the Stockholm tournament, depriving the Swede of being a prophet in his land, Panatta beat Björn again at Roland Garros, this time in the quarterfinals of the edition of 1976, in which he would end up proclaiming himself the champion of the only Grand Slam in his record.
“Borg loved to face players of the same style, but hated to face someone like me, fierce, fighter and aggressive. When I entered the quarterfinals in Roland Garros 1976I went to watch the Björn round of 16 match at a café in Saint-Germain-des-Pres. He was facing a Frenchman, François Jauffret, and I started to encourage Borg because I wanted to confront him, “said the Italian a few years ago in words collected by TW.
Perhaps these desire for redemption of the Italian and his ability to extramotivate himself when playing against Borg and raise his level, have an explanation as earthly as jealousy. Jealousy of a man who unleashed an unbridled passion in the woman who was his girlfriend and who abandoned his musical career, his role as a celebrity in Italy and, of course, his dabbling with Adriano, for following Björn to Sweden, already retired, according to account marieclaire.com. He had to deal with the worst years of the Swede, those in which he wondered his place in the world after leaving tennis at just 26 years old.
Depression, drugs, alcohol, suicide attempts. Björn and Loredana go down to hell and together and are aware that they can never leave it if they do not separate. In 1993 the divorce of a marriage that lasted four years is certified; four years of loneliness for the Italian, away from her life and surroundings, and unhappiness for both of them. Bertè comes out emotionally and financially touched by a relationship that was difficult even to end it on a legal level, even denouncing Borg for bigamy when he remarried in 2002, with Patricia Östfeld, without the documents of his divorce with Loredana were correct.
Time heals everything and so much Loredana Bertè how Björn Borg They rebuilt their lives, left the catacombs and enjoy their projects again. For his part, Adriano Panatta can boast of being the only player in all history who was able to beat the Swede in Roland Garros, something almost impossible to find in the history of this sport. Tennis is much more than a sport and it is convenient to review stories like this to understand the magnitude of everything that has been lived, of everything that we are living and, above all, of everything that remains to be lived.