The professional career of tennis player Bjorn Borg was one of the most interesting ones in recent sports history. Borg’s success in his sport came at an early age. Borg won Wimbledon when he was only 20 years old. However, by the time he was 26, and in the prime of his career, Borg inexplicably retired from professional tennis.
Borg, who began playing tennis at the age of nine, was the number one ranked junior player by the age of 14, and had won the Italian and French Open titles at the age of 18. These were the first of several major championships won by Borg in the late-1970s and early-1980s. Probably his greatest achievement was a winning streak at Wimbledon that spanned five years. Between the years 1976 and 1982, Borg enjoyed almost complete dominance in competitive tennis.
His retirement in 1983, then, was a bit of a puzzle. Although his tennis skills waned somewhat in the previous year, he was still one of the top players on the tour, and only 26 years old. Even stranger was the fact that Borg refused to reveal the reasons for his retirement.
Following his retirement, Borg encountered a number of personal problems, which kept him in the media spotlight even though he was no longer playing competitive tennis. Five years after his retirement, an emergency hospital procedure saved his life. While Borg claimed he had food poisoning, it was suspected he had a barbiturate overdose. In 1991, Borg attempted to make a comeback on the professional tennis tour, only to fail miserably. His insistence on using a wooden racket at the time, when all of the world’s top players were using synthetic fiber rackets didn’t help matters. At the same time, Borg’s second wife attempted to commit suicide, and the couple divorced in 1993.
Eventually, Borg disappeared into obscurity, and there is little news of his life today.
These sad stories about the latter part of his career aside, Borg was an important figure in modern tennis history. He was the sport’s first modern media star and icon. Teenage girls conferred upon him a status comparable to a rock star. His face adorned t-shirts and other merchandise, making him the most marketable tennis player in history. Borg’s career was a catalyst for Swedish tennis players. Those who followed in his footsteps and held him up as their hero included tennis stars Mats Wilander and Stephan Edberg. Perhaps most important of all, Borg gave to the sport of tennis a degree of showmanship, visibility, and marketability that was used as a role model for the sport in future decades.
the time in your life when you are strongest and most active
in your prime
She’s now forty and still in her prime.
He is now past his prime .
a man in the prime of life
a young singer who was tragically cut off in her prime (=died while she was in her prime)
a job or profession that you have been trained for, and which you do for a long period of your life
a career in journalism
a teaching careerHe realized that his acting career was over.
career development/advancement/progression etc
Career prospects within the company are excellent.
a physiotherapist who wanted to make a dramatic career change by becoming an author
Nurses want an improved career structure (=better opportunities to move upwards in their jobs) .
too unusual or strange to be explained or understood
ￚsynonym incomprehensible, strange
For some inexplicable reason, he felt depressed.
the inexplicable disappearance of the woman, who was never seen again
his behavior last night is quite inexplicable
the inexplicable movements of atomic particles
a limited period during which one has repeated experiences of the same kind, esp. success or failure:
I’d hit a/I was on a winning/losing streak, and kept winning/losing a lot of money betting on horses.
a gambler’s lucky streak
be on a winning/losing streak
Celtic are on a six-game winning streak.
a winning streak
a streak of bad luck
the span of a person’s life
students’ attention span is short
a short attention/life/memory span
an unbroken span of concentration
the fact of being more powerful, more important, or more noticeable than other people or things
ￚsee also dominate
the continuing dominance of the army in Uganda
political/economic/cultural etc dominance
the economic and political dominance of Western countries
television’s dominance over other media
Our dominance of the market is seriously threatened by this new product.
Search this word on
to make known something that was previously secret or unknown
He may be prosecuted for revealing secrets about the security agency.
a test that can reveal a teacher’s hidden skills
He revealed that he had been in prison twice before.
reveal yourself (as/to be something)
The violinist revealed himself as a talented interpreter of classical music.
Do you promise not to reveal my secret?
The investigation has revealed some serious faults in the system. [+that] I can now reveal that the new director is to be James Johnson.
after an event or as a result of it
Following the president’s speech, there will be a few minutes for questions.
Thousands of refugees left the country following the outbreak of civil war.
to meet or have to deal with (something bad, esp. a danger or a difficulty); be faced with:
We encountered a lot of problems/opposition
They encountered serious problems when two members of the expedition were injured.
The government has encountered strong opposition to its plans to raise income tax.
The doctor had encountered several similar cases in the past
a lot of attention in newspapers, on television etc
in/under the spotlight
Education is once again under the spotlight.
put/turn the spotlight on something
A new report has turned the spotlight on the problem of poverty in the inner cities.
public attention: Throughout his political career he’s always been in the spotlight.
now as the president he was under the spotlight
but his wife hated the spotlight
a medical treatment or operation
Liposuction is a minor surgical procedure .
While I understand what you say, I can’t agree with you.
While there was no conclusive evidence, most people thought he was guilty.
if you have a suspected illness or injury, doctors think that you might have it but do not know for certain
He was taken to hospital after a suspected heart attack.
a powerful drug that makes people calm and helps them to sleep
too much of a drug taken at one time
a massive overdose of heroin
She took an overdose and died two days later.
too much of something, especially something harmful
an overdose of sun
make/stage a comeback
if a person, activity, style etc makes a comeback, they become popular again after being unpopular for a long time
The miniskirt made a comeback in the late 1980s.
a return to a former position of strength, importance, or high position, after a period of absence:
The old actor made/staged a successful comeback after twenty years.
produced by combining different artificial substances, rather than being naturally produced
to kill yourself deliberately
More people commit suicide at Christmas than at any other time.
the state of not being known or remembered
fade/slide/sink etc into obscurity
The group produced two albums before disappearing into obscurity. live/work/remain etc in obscurity
O’Brien died in obscurity.
from obscurity to something
She rose from obscurity to stardom.
After a 20-year break from acting, the new movie rescued her from obscurity.
near to the end; later:
In the latter years of his life he lived alone and never welcomed visitors.
In the latter case, buyers pay a 15% commission.
the latter stages of this process
the second volume deals with latter events
the latter part of the year
she wrote these poems in the latter part of her life
someone famous who is admired by many people and is thought to represent an important idea
a 60s cultural icon
Barbra Streisand is an icon of popular culture.
respect and importance that someone or something is given
the status given to education
Mandela’s status as a world leader
to decorate something
adorn something with something
church walls adorned with religious paintings
her hair was adorned with a rose
They adorned the statue of the Virgin Mary with roses.
merchandise [uncountable] formal
goods that are being sold
A range of official Disney merchandise was on sale.
They inspected the merchandise carefully.
shops were full of merchandise but nobody had money
marketable goods, skills etc can be sold easily because people want them
The program is designed to provide students with real, marketable skills.
follow in somebody’s footsteps
to do the same job or to work or live in the same way as someone else before you, especially someone in your family
He is a doctor and expects his son to follow in his footsteps.
hold somebody/something up as something phrasal verb
to use someone or something as a good example or as proof of something
The school is held up as a model for others.
This incident will be held up as proof that tougher controls are needed.
the situation of being noticed by people in general
The exhibition helped increase the visibility of women artists.