Tennis Identity

Esquire celebrates the 25 coolest sportsmen of all time


The UK edition of Esquire ranked the 25 coolest sportsmen of all time and Björn Borg and Fred Perry are on the list. What, no Panatta? A crime.

While Esquire doesn’t list them in any sort of numerical ranking,  Borg leads things off, as he should. The signature Fila pinstripes and Diadora shoes, the rock star hair with the headband. This leads us to the question- what defines cool? How do we know it when we see it? The public perception of “cool” is an ever-changing, fleeting, ephemeral moment in time in many instances. Here today, long gone tomorrow.

Cool is the look. Cool is the style. It’s the vibe. It’s the way you carry yourself on the court and off. No matter how hot it is on court, you remain unruffled. As it says in the Esquire story:

Everyone who saw it remembers the tie-break. John McEnroe prevailed 18–16 after nearly 25 almost-excruciating minutes to take the 1980 Wimbledon final into a fifth set. But the truly remarkable thing happened next. “And then there follows a moment which must rank among the greatest in sport,” Tim Adams wrote in On Being John McEnroe. “It is the moment when Borg walks out to serve once more, two sets all, one set to play, as if nothing had happened.”

Ladies and Gentleman: Björn Rune Borg.

Björn Borg on Esquire UK

But let’s give a little mention to Fred Perry, too. He had some game.

*Thanks to Rick Cruse for spotting this one

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