Roland Garros 1987: Winogradsky defeats Edberg in the 2nd round

On May 27, 1987, wild card Eric Winogradsky (No. 152) defeated recent Australian Open champion Stefan Edberg (No.3) 7-6 7-6 7-5 in the second round of the French Open. In this interview, Winogradsky talks about his exploit and tells he would have preferred to win the doubles final with his friend Mansour Bahrami.

Interview by L’Equipe, translation by Tennis Buzz

Q: Did you feel you could beat him?
A: I was in a very good period, I had played really well in the weeks preceding the French Open. My first round victory over the American Marcel Freeman (7-6 7-5 6-3) confirmed my feelings of the moment. The match took place during a rainy Wednesday and was interrupted at 4-4 in the second set. This break made me the greater good because I made ​​some adjustments with my coach Georges Goven. Michel Bouche, who had been my coach for 3 years, started talking about something else than tennis and it made me relax a little.

Q: Why that victory that day?
A: Because there are days when you get to control all the parameters especially on an emotional level. Against Edberg, I played well the big points. He was attacking the net a lot, but so did I. I had the courage to challenge him at the net, because I knew I would have had no chance to beat him by staying at the baseline.

Q: What did that victory change for you?
A: A win like that it’s huge! I was not even in the top 100 and I was 21. French tennis stars were Yannick Noah, Guy Forget, Henri Leconte and Thierry Tulasne. Like other players like Thierry Champion or Tarik Benhabiles I had recently turned pro. So, when you beat a top 10 at Roland Garros… This kind of success, very pleasant at the time, becomes difficult to assume when you have difficulties to confirm.

Q: What does it change today?
Long-term it feels good to win such a match even if it’s not my only victory over a top 10. But instead of defeating Edberg I would have preferred to win the doubles final at Roland Garros 1989 with my friend Mansour Bahrami. It is my biggest disappointment.

Eric Winogradsky reached his best ranking (89) in July 1987. He won two doubles titles but never reached a singles final. He was Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s coach during 7 years and now works for the French Tennis Federation.

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