‘one ball at a time’ – borg/mcenroe


Once I was a devoted tennis fan, I was glued to the TV every time he played – like the 99% of all Swedes was at the time.

At the age of 15, Björn represented Sweden in the 1972 Davis Cup and won his debut singles rubber in five sets against veteran Onny Parun of New Zealand. Later that year, he won the Wimbledon junior singles title, recovering from a 5–2 deficit in the final set to overcome Britain’s Buster Mottram and the circus started.


Today is the evening of the Swedish equivalent to Oscar Award, Guldbaggen (Golden Beatle) … and this film has got 10 nominations. And I understand why.

It’s a brilliant film, even if you are not interested in tennis … this is still a movie to watch, about brilliantly made. I haven’t seen that many films during 2017, but I would like to give it the title the film of the year.

I’m not a big fan of Swedish movies, don’t ask me why .. because we have brilliant actor and directors. Probably because I don’t give them an honest chance. Or maybe Ingemar Bergman has something to do with it.


Danish director Janus Metz (1974), is the man behind this movie and together with Ronnie Sandahl, (1984) as a writer – have really created something very good here. An internationally co-produced multi-language biographical sports drama film focusing on the famous rivalry between famous tennis players Björn Borg and John McEnroe at the 1980 Wimbledon Championships, culminating in their encounter in the men’s singles final.

Directed by Janus Metz Pedersen
Produced by Jon Nohrstedt, Fredrik Wikström Nicastro
Written by Ronnie Sandahl


Music by
Vladislav Delay
Jon Ekstrand
Carl-Johan Sevedag
Jonas Struck

Budget 65 million SEK ($7.5 million)

IMDB –  Rating: 7/10

Sverrir@ the hollywood reporter

Sverrir Gudnason (1978) as Björn Borg:
Ronnie Sandahl said in an interview with Swedish newspapers “he looks very much like Björn”. In an interview, Gudnason talked about his preparation for the part, and stated that “I spent six months in which he trained 15 hours a week, with two hours of tennis and four workouts with a personal trainer.” He also revealed that he had not met Borg, stating “not yet, but I will meet him, sometime after the shooting of the film.”


Leo Borg, Björn’s real-life son, portrays his father from age 9 to 13, while actor Markus Mossberg portrays him from age 14 to 1.

To be honest it’s really hard to see if it’s Björn or not. Sverrir is original from Iceland – and to us Swedes, he knew from TV-series. In December 2017 he joined the cast of  “The Girl in the Spider’s Web”, the second film about Lizbeth Salander based on Millennium is a series of best-selling and award-winning Swedish crime novels, created by Stieg Larsson. He is playing the role of Mikael Blomkvist.

Shia @usatody.com

Shia LaBeouf (1986) as John McEnroe:
It was Shia that made contact with the production, when he heard about the script, because Shia identifies strongly with the character of McEnroe, and felt that he is a misunderstood person.” In an interview with Variety, Shia praised the script and called it “brilliant”, and said that he “cried when reading it for the first time.” He also revealed that he has not met with McEnroe about the role, stating “haven’t met him yet, but I’m eager to meet him before we shoot. I got nothing but love and respect for him”

For me a totally unknown actor even if I have seen “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”, but in this film … fantastic

His acting include Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010), Lawless (2012), The Company You Keep (2012), Nymphomaniac (2013), Fury (2014) and American Honey (2016)


Stellan Skarsgård (1951) as Lennart Bergelin:
Plays Björn coach, Lennar. This is his first role in a Swedish film since he starred in the films Arn – The Knight Templar and Arn – The Kingdom at Road’s End. Skarsgård described and compared the relationship between Bergelin and Borg to the rivalry between Mozart and Salieri in the 1984 film Amadeus: “people think that Salieri was jealous of Mozart, but I do not think that’s the right word. I think it’s more an utter fascination and love of the genius. And the self-doubt that you are not capable.

Lennart also told Björn to concentrate on “one ball at the time”!!!!!

Björn & Lennart@expressen.se

Lennart Bergelin (1925-2008) won nine Swedish championship singles titles between 1945 and 1955, and the French Open doubles title in 1948. Lennart is best known for his work with Björn Borg, whom he trained between 1971 and 1983, helping him to win 11 Grand Slam tournaments.

Stellan is one Sweden’s biggest stars in Hollywood and also his sons have made big names for themselves over there.


He is known for his roles as Jan Nyman in Breaking the Waves (1996), Captain Tupolev in The Hunt for Red October (1990), Prof. Gerald Lambeau in Good Will Hunting (1997), Bootstrap Bill Turner in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), Bill Anderson in Mamma Mia! (2008), Commander Maximilian Richter in Angels and Demons (2009), Martin Vanger in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011), Dr. Erik Selvig in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012), Thor: The Dark World (2013), and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), and The Grand Duke in Cinderella (2015).

Tuva Novotny as Mariana Simionescu:
A Romanian tennis player and Borg’s fiancée. They married in Budapest 1980. The marriage ended in divorce in 1984.


Tuva  Novotny  (1979), is a Swedish actress and singer. Never heard about her even if she has about 49 movie rolls behind her!!!??? Plus a record album. Busy lady!!!

Robert Emms as Vitas Gerulaitis:
The American playboy and professional tennis player.

and …

Jason Forbes as Arthur Ashe
Björn Granath as Bengt Grive
Scott Arthur as Peter Fleming
Tom Datnow as Jimmy Connors

Performance of lead actors was so real that you watched as Tennis player, not movie stars. This is a fabulous film. This is a movie about two people, two people who happened to be tennis players during the 80’s. From the outside, they were totally opposite, but as we learn in the movie they were very much the same. 

The film also tells the viewer about both backgrounds (flashbacks) … how and why the became tennis player and the best in the world. Björn had the same temper as a young player as John had as an adult. Maybe there was more about Björn than about John in the movie.

Well-made, well-acted and much intriguing. Overall an excellent film, executed with great competence and precision from start to finish.

That last scene when they met at the airport after Wimbelton, brought tears to my eyes.

Before the Wimbledon that year Björn said: If I lose this I will always remember for having lost the 5th. Björn retired from tennis in 1981 – only 26 years old. In my book, he is still the best tennis player ever!!!

What has Björn and John to say about the movie??!! John: “Unfortunately, even though I wished it was a good movie, I don’t think it is a good movie, I’m sad to say,”

Björn: “It’s not a documentary or true story. But I thought it was good, anyway, even if it’s fiction. But it’s still a fiction movie.”

John & Björn@radionz.co.nz

“former rivals, best enemies”

A big thank you to Wikipedia.org – without you …. this post hadn’t been possible!

9 thoughts on “‘one ball at a time’ – borg/mcenroe

  1. You know I love the game, Vivi. It’s like a contest of gladiators. 🙂 🙂 I’ve spent the morning watching the Australian Open because our walk was cancelled. Too slippy underfoot for us oldies. 🙂 Interested in what Borg and McInroe say. I loved them both and I still like listening to John’s commentary on the tennis.

    • Yes, it was the match of the giants!!!! But the longer the matches become – the stronger Björn became. Björn wasn’t a technical player and he wouldn’t survive today, but he had strength, determination and loads of power in those arms and legs. Great players both of them. And I think the movie really did them justice, but I’m sure there is some fiction added to it. Because they didn’t talk to each in film until under the tiebreak and at the airport. I know you love the tennis, they don’t show so much of it anymore here in Sweden … as they really should, I don’t have a sport channel.

      • Determination and athleticism go a long way! I’ve done it again, because I’ll be in the Algarve when the final is played. 😦 We’ll have to see if my man gets through 🙂

      • I hope that your man … will make it. He has been winning for years now. You have to plan Algrave a bit better *smile – I bet you can’t wait to get on that plane. TV-hug.

  2. I always watched Borg and the whole cirkus – just as I watched Stenmark and his cirkus. I had decided not to see this movie…but maybe I will think about it once more. I will go tomorrow for Ted. Another very good tennis player – but who had a career in music instead. Very talented.

    • Ted, yes … there has been a lot of about that movie too. He was very talented, but not my cup of tea – strangely enough. Had forgotten that he played tennis too. I think there has been more about Ted than it has been about this film here at home. It was brilliant years in the late 70’s and 80’s with Björn and Ingemar!!! Loved it.

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