Bjorn Borg 1971 – 72
Very rare Bjorn Borg used Racquet . This comes from the Lennart Bergelin Collection. It is dated to 1971 from photos of him as a fourteen or fifteen year old, prior to having his racquet grips made longer and with different leather. This Slazenger Challenge Number 1 has been modified on the handle with signs of it being shaved in order to accommodate the special Dunlop grip. You can see a picture of what the regular Slazenger grip would look like, at the bottom of the post. These are the first signs of Borg using an extended grip for his two handed backhand. This would be a slight and very early variation of what was to come of the special racquets Borg used throughout his career. In the picture from the book, Borg On Borg, you can see Borg using the same Slazenger racquet with the writing on the grip being the same as the Dunlop you see in this post. This racquet comes with a signed letter from Bjorn Borg, talking about Niclas Bergelin. Lennart’s son Niclas , found this and the other racquets at their family home in Sweden, early in 2012. Bergelin trained and coached Borg for most of his career. He was known to take care of all Borg’s racquets and this one amongst the others, must have been specially put away. You would be hard pressed to find another Borg used Slazenger with extended grip, let alone a short gripped version such as this one. Who knows what tourneys he used this for while he was a teenager. It is pounded with use!! Notice in the picture after his match.. He is still using the short regular grip. You can see the Slazenger number 1 writing on the shaft and the Dunlop printing on the grip. In the other picture, you can see that he is now using the extended grip on the Slazenger as it is now covering up the writing on the racquet shaft and has a different type of grip leather. The latest photo at the bottom is of Borg using a Slazenger with short grip and also still having what looks like the original grip from Slazenger. On the strings, there is nothing sprayed on as far as a sponsor. In that picture, Borg is competing and later winning The Orange Bowl Junior Championships in Miami Beach, 1972.