In 1985 a young Swedish tennis player began making a name for himself. Sweden was once again dominating the global game, having recovered from Bjorn Borg’s shock retirement. Players like Mats Wilander, Stefan Edberg and Anders Jarryd would soon become household names. Borg had thrown down the gauntlet for on-court cool and the new school of Swedish players picked up where the ‘ice-man’ left off. Always calm, always collected, they somehow possessed a mental toughness usually reserved for Navy Seals.
Out of nowhere, the name Mikael Pernfors was on everyone’s lips. Not as tall as the others, not as calm and not quite as predictable - but a showman nonetheless, a born entertainer and quite possibly the most gifted ball striker of all the Swedes. Unlike Borg, Edberg and Wilander, fans knew when Pernfors was winning or losing. This guy had a heart like a lion and wore it firmly on his sleeve.
Pernfors rose to fame quickly, making it all the way to the final of the French Open in 1986. He defeated Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker and Henri Leconte on route to the final, where it took a cold-blooded Ivan Lendl to put an end to Pernfors’ unseeded dream. Peaking at number 10 in the world rankings, Pernfors continued his flamboyant career until injuries forced early retirement from the tour in 1996. The world enjoyed an incredible decade of tennis and Pernfors recorded major victories over some of the game’s greatest players such as John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, Thomas Muster and Michael Stich.
After a career in the highest echelons of tennis, Pernfors joined the senior tour and never looked back. Today, he is a regular fixture at Legends Doubles events at all the world’s Majors. Living in Florida with his wife and his young family, Pernfors spends his summers playing at the ATP Seniors and various Legends event at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.