Ymers brothers' dreams to put ex-powerhouse Sweden on world tennis map

They have both had Major champions in the men’s side in the past but they haven’t had this much presence in the top end of the sport at the same time.

Published: 01st February 2022 07:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st February 2022 07:48 AM   |  A+A-

Elias Ymer in action during the Tata Open qualifiers (Photo | Tata Open Maharashtra)

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  The recent ATP success stories of Italy and Russia are well chronicled. There are four Russians in the top 30 (joint best with Spain) and eight Italians in the top 100 (one of the highest in terms of representation from a single country). They have both had Major champions in the men’s side in the past but they haven’t had this much presence in the top end of the sport at the same time.

A country like Sweden is witnessing the opposite effect. Bjorn Borg, Mats Wilander, Stefan Edberg, Thomas Johansson and, more recently, Robin Soderling... between them they produced multiple Slam champions or final appearances. But post Soderling’s French Open run in 2010, somebody switched off the conveyor belt. 

Sweden have only two in the top 200. Admittedly, the pair, the Ymers, have garnered a lot of attention since they started playing professionally. Mikael, World No 83, is no stranger to tennis fans. The 23-year-old has enjoyed some runs but is still waiting for a ‘take notice of me’ moment. Mikael’s brother, Elias, is also waiting for such a moment that could potentially propel him into the wider tennis community. 
Currently in India for the Tata Open, Elias ticked a box when he qualified for the main draw of the ATP 250 event after a relatively straightforward 6-4, 6-4 win over Marc Polmans in the second qualifying round.       

In a way, the Ymers stories are unique because of how they landed up in Sweden and ended up becoming professional tennis players. A bit of background: Elias’ father, Wondoesen, who moved to Sweden from Ethiopia as an 18-year-old, was a professional runner. And he wanted to turn both Elias and Mikael into professional runners. Something that Elias hated.

“My parents, they come from Ethiopia where there is a tradition in running,” the 25-year-old says. “When I was 5, my father wanted me to run all the time. I was crying everyday because I didn’t like running. I didn’t know how tennis happened to be honest.”  What he remembers though is that his father used to watch a lot of tennis on TV after making the move to Sweden.  

Select results (Rd 1): Yuki Bhambri bt Josef Kovalik 6-7 (10), 6-2, 7-5, Qunetin Halys bt Ricardas Berankis 6-1, 6-2.


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