Swedish tennis star Mikael Pernfors
“I TRY TO PLAY and be involved in tennis as much as possible in the Champions and Legends tours, especially the Outback Champions Series” said Swedish former tennis star Mikael Pernfors, when I met him at River Bend Country Club in Great Falls Va., on a recent Saturday afternoon.
“UNFORTUNATELY, I have had some injuries the last few years,” he added.
THE OUTBACK CHAMPION SERIES consists of 11 competitions of which seven are played in the United States, and the remaining in Brazil, Mexico, Cayman Islands and Dubai. In Europe it is the ATP Champions Tour that attracts the former tennis stars and champions, and is dominant. Among other Swedish tennis stars who play in these tournaments are Mats Wilander, Stefan Edberg, Bj?rn Borg and Anders J?ryd.
MIKAEL PERNFORS and his Swedish wife Kristina, who previously worked in advertising and publicity in New York, and their two children, 4-year-old Figge, and 4-weeks-old Bella, live at the tennis resort The Boulevard in Vero Beach, Fla.
“I LOVE TO LIVE in Florida. It is very laid back, there are the beach, tennis and golf, and not much else where we live” says Pernfors. He will spend one more month in the U.S. before leaving for Europe, where he is going to play in the veteran championship in the French Open, another event in England, and then two events in Sweden this summer, one in Lysekil and the other one in B?tad.
“IF IT IS AN active year, I travel about 22-25 weeks per year.” He adds: “I love playing tennis, it is fantastically fun to play on the tour, and it’s great to meet and keep in touch with old competitors. And I also like to teach tennis, and play golf,” he adds. He says he sees Mats Wilander, Anders J?ryd and Jocke Nystr?m fairly regularly.
How is your game nowadays?
“GIVEN THE circumstances, fine. It always depends on the daily form.”
MIKAEL PERNFORS, who was born in Malm?, Sweden, doesn’t spend much time in his native country anymore, but says he particularly enjoys the Swedish summer and playing tennis in B?tad and Lysekil.
MIKAEL PERNFORS latest venture is Adout, a company that wants to bring a group of former Swedish champion players together to arrange tennis events for companies, organizations and other tennis interested people and groups. Mr. Pernfors also plans to bring more Swedes to Vero Beach for tennis training and other activities.
BUT MR. PERNFORS has been involved in business before. In 1994 he was a part of the founding of the company Global Caps, which markets caps designed with different countries’ flags, along with other promotional products, company clothing and company uniforms.
Swedish tennis star Mikael Pernfors (to the right) and friend Jack Porter at River Bend Country Club in Great Falls, Va.
MR. PERNFORS LIVED for many years in Atlanta, and played tennis for the University of Georgia, and won back-to-back NCAA singles titles in 1984 and 1985. “I basically lived there during my entire active career, it was a perfect place during those years.”
“I WAS NEVER really good as a junior, because I didn’t take it that seriously then, but eventually became a decent player and was quite good for about 7-8 years,” he says. “My best characteristics were my speed, and that my opponents often would say that ‘I have never played that bad.’ With a varied play, I destroyed or distracted the others’ playing routines.”
HE CONSIDERS WINNING the title at the Canadian Open 1993, where he defeated Todd Martin in the final as his greatest success, and he is also very proud of reaching the Davis Cup final for Sweden in 1986. Sweden lost in the final to Australia. He also reached the final in the French Open in 1986, after defeating Boris Becker and Henri Leconte. Ivan Lendl proved to be too strong in the final. Mr. Pernfors was the recipient of the ATP Tour’s Most Improved Player award in 1986, and its Comeback Player of the Year award in 1993. His highest ranking was No. 10 in 1986.
Swedish tennis player Mikael Pernfors