Today in Sports History (2/7): Bjorn Borg Attempts Suicide

Today in Sports History (2/7): Bjorn Borg Attempts Suicide

Bjorn Borg was once the best tennis player in the world. The Swedish star won 11 Grand Slam titles between 1974 and 1981, compiling a winning percentage of 82.7%. Borg announced his original retirement from the sport in January of 1983, but retirement proved difficult for the former no. 1 player in the world. His suffered multiple struggles in his personal life, including two divorces and several bad business adventures.

On this date, 24 years ago, Bjorn Borg reportedly attempted to commit suicide. An Italian newspaper reported that Borg made his attempt by overdosing on sleeping pills. However, it should be stressed that Borg has never admitted to it being an attempt to take his life, that the Italian newspaper falsely reported a bout with food poisoning as a suicide attempt.

According to an interview conducted with the United Kingdom’s Guardian in 2007, Borg admitted to having deep personal struggles in his life during this time in 1989. Borg was quoted as,  “Money is important, but not that important… The most disappointing thing was that people abused me, you know. When the business started, I thought these people were my friends. But they were all out to screw me really.’ Movie fans cannot help to realize that this incident inspired the character of Richie Tenenbaum from his 2001 classic The Royal Tenenbaums, who looked like the famous Swede and also attempted suicide (albeit under drastically different circumstances).

It appeared that Bjorn Borg has rebounded beautifully since his struggles as he started his own fashion line, named after himself. The Bjorn Borg fashion label is the 2nd leading fashion company in his native land, behind Calvin Klein. Borg also attempted a comeback in the early 1990s, but to little avail as he struggled with the modern technology and was unable to win a single match.

Though Borg was once the greatest tennis player alive, and will always be remembered as one of the most innovative players in the game, this incident shows that elite players struggle with their post-playing careers. Thankfully Borg is still with us, for his loss would have been heartbreaking to the tennis community.

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