Jonas Bjorkman Talks with Tennis Atlantic
Glenys Furness for Tennis Atlantic
Jonas Bjorkman is a former world number 1 in doubles and world number 4 in Singles, the Swede was added to Andy Murray’s coaching team in April 2015, initially to be on hand when Amelie Mauresmo was unavailable to travel with him. Taking on a more active role since Mauresmo announced after the Australian Open that she was pregnant, Jonas coached Andy through the first part of the clay court season, to the first 2 clay titles of his career, and through the grass court season where he won his 4th Queens Club title. Ameile was back with the team for Wimbledon, before going on maternity leave, giving Jonas the lead role through the hard court season and US Open.
Jonas took time out of this very important role whilst in between Montreal which Andy just won (his second Masters title of the season), and preparations for Cincinnati Masters to talk with me on his time on the Swedish version of Strictly Come Dancing, his charity foundation, and of course all things tennis.
Glenys: Why did you decide to go on the Swedish version of “strictly” and what did you get from that?
Jonas Bjorkman: “I love music and dance and I also like new challengers in life and especially to go outside of my comfort zone.”
Who is the better dancer – You or Judy Murray?
Jonas: “I haven’t seen Judy dance yet but I think I came further then her so I might be a little bit better :)”
Which is your favourite dance of all the ones you learned?
Jonas: “I think my Rumba when I danced like Mr Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey was the one that people still speak the most about but I really loved dancing Tango”
Why did you start up your Charity Z&B Foundation?
Jonas: “My great friend Måns Zelmerlöw wanted to start up his own charity but since I got so involved into his we change the name and started after one year to do it together instead. We both have tried to help as much as we can but you never really see a follow up where the money goes so we felt that having our own one we can be in touch with all four schools, help them with education or if they need something special like school uniforms which we just bought to our new school in Kenya.
www.zbfoundation.se if people want to read more about it.”
What impact have you seen already with the work the charity has been doing?
Jonas: “We had 27% of our kids in our high school who managed the last exam so they can continue for University and after 2 1/2 year we now have 100% which we are extremely proud of”
How can we donate to the cause?
Jonas: “You have all the information on our website. We also have our bracelets which you receive if you donate SEK 315” (Interviewer note: 315 SEK is approx $37 / £23.50 – depending on the exchange rate)
What did you feel you could bring to Andy’s game and do you see results already?
Jonas: “Andy wanted to improve on being more aggressive on his returns and he is looking to feel more comfortable at the net with having the right position. This was my strength as a player so I really like this challenge to be part of Andy’s journey to reach his goals that he still has left in his career together with Amelie and the rest of the team.”
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What has made the difference with Andy this year on clay compared to previous years?
Jonas: “Confidence and great fitness. Amelie and the rest of team have done an amazing job the last 12 months and I think his practice camp in Barcelona before the clay season gave him the perfect preparations.”
You & Andy, Stefan Edberg & Roger, Magnus Norman & Stan, what makes Swedes successful coaches?
Jonas: “I think we all are very calm and professional in our job.”
Has Andy learned any French (Ameile) or Swedish (you) yet?
Jonas: “Not sure about the French but I think he can a bit and so far only one word in Swedish”
You and Ameile are working well together, it appears to be an inspired choice (from a totally biased Brit that is), why do you think it works so well?
Jonas: “We know each other pretty well from when we both were active and both of us are very easy going and enjoying working in a team”
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As a tennis fan, seeing Rafa struggling on return from injury at the moment brings up memories from last year when Andy was in a similar position, do you think Rafa can make the same kind of recovery that Andy did?
Jonas: “I think for sure that Rafa will be back in good form but sometimes it takes a bit longer then everyone expect”
Andy, Jonas and the rest of the team continue the assault on the hard courts, after the win in Montreal and Cincy, it will be time once more for the US Open, as Andy will bid for his second title in New York.
Thank you Jonas for your valuable time at this busy period in the tennis calendar.