Tennis legend Jonas Björkman in 21 questions
What’s your name?
Highest ranking double: 1
Highest ranking single: 4
ATP titles: 54 in doubles and 6 in singles
Davis Cup titles: 3
Where do you live?
What was the destination of your latest journey, and where will you be traveling to next?
My latest trips were to Zagreb in Croatia for pre-season training with tennis player Marin Čilić whom I coach, and to Melbourne for the Australian Open, also together with Čilić.
Are you traveling on business or pleasure?
Wife Petra and two kids, Max and Bianca.
What’s your profession?
Consultant, tennis coach for Croatian player Marin Čilić, commentator for Eurosport, part owner of padel tennis company PDF Group, run Peak Tennis Academy and charity foundation ZBF together with Swedish artist Måns Zelmerlöw.
Why did you become a tennis player?
My father played tennis and ice hockey. I went with him to his training sessions and tested both sports.
What’s your biggest accomplishment?
I’m very proud to have been ranked No. 4 in singles and No. 1 in doubles. Winning the Davis Cup with my teammates for our country was very special, and also winning all four Grand Slams.
What do you do when you don’t work?
Spending time with my family and supporting my kids with their activities is something I enjoy. And playing padel tennis, which is my new hobby.
What’s in your pockets right now?
I’m a bit old fashioned and always carry a wallet with some cash in it.
Who’s your best friend?
My tennis colleague Thomas Johansson. We’ve been friends for many years and we also run some projects together. I also spend a lot of time with Måns Zelmerlöw and retired football player Marcus Allbäck.
What’s your biggest ambition?
To help my player Marin Čilić win his second Grand Slam title, and enable more kids to get an education through our charity foundation.
What’s your biggest nightmare?
Getting too close to a shark or dangerous snake!
What’s the last movie you saw or book you read?
At the moment I watch a lot of TV series. Suits is a favorite and I have just started watching Blacklist. I also bought some crime novels by Swedish authors Buthler & Öhrlund for my next trip.
Who’s your biggest idol or role model?
Mats Wilander. He also comes from Alvesta and my father played hockey with his brothers. It was encouraging for all us young tennis players in Sweden when he won the French Open in Paris in 1982. Later Stefan Edberg became a mentor and idol. I was his hitting partner when I was young and he helped me with ideas and tips regarding my career.
Which city will do you enjoy returning to?
I’m a big fan of Australia and Melbourne – I think it’s an amazing city. I also love New York and Cape Town.
Aisle, window, or middle?
I prefer aisle. When I travel longer journeys I try to book Business.
What’s your party trick or hidden talent?
The Swedish magician Joe Labero is also from Alvesta. I have followed his career closely as I am a big fan of magic, and I have several card tricks up my sleeve for festive occasions.
Why are you a EuroBonus member?
I like traveling on SAS and being able to make use of the Gold member benefits such as Lounge access and fast track through security.
How much do you travel today compared to when you were playing on the tour?
This year it will be more again as I am coaching Marin Čilić, so roughly 170 days compared to 250-260 days during my playing career.
As a true traveler, do you have any tips to share?
I try to adapt to the time difference on the plane by sleeping at the right time. The rest of the time I spend reading a book or watching a movie. I always bring earphones and a computer in my carry-on.
Finish the following sentence: “A funny thing happened to me on the way to…
Delhi from Beijing. I checked in my luggage in Beijing but on arrival in Delhi my bags were not there. Evidently they had put someone else’s tags on my bags. I was going to play in the Davis Cup but it took five days before my clothes and gear arrived. Fortunately though few things have happened during my travels all over the world.
Text: Anna-Lena Ahlberg
Published: June 28, 2017