Tribute: Thomas Johansson, last of the slammin’ swedes

It’s a Tribute Tuesday, so let’s gleefully skip away from the Novax Djokovid saga for a while. We do though stay relevant to the Australian Open. 

As the title says, Thomas Johansson and his much unfancied 2002 major win in Melbourne, represents the last of the once all-conquering Swedish contingent to triumph at a major. 

It is a fond memory of mine, Johansson always appealed to me as an unassuming and neat player with an all court game that was generally attractive to watch.  

A kind of baseline Tim Henman if you will. 

But that would be oversimplifying a player who could defeat anyone on his day, won 9 titles and bagged himself an Olympic Silver medal, all without much fanfare or fuss.  

It was also a career quite plagued with injury and arguably when the man from Linkoping  was at the peak of his powers. 

But after years in relative wilderness he did eventually hang up his racquet in 2009, although still plays in senior events and very successfully with his countrymen. 

What followed was a coaching career of a string of household names including Krajinovic, Goffin and US Open 2021 semifinalist Sakkari. 

Oh and most importantly, he was the hidden gem and covert best player on the original Virtua Tennis.

Image from Tennis World

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