Stefan Edberg, still not 20 years old, became a Swedish national hero Sunday for the second time in little more than a year.
Edberg, who won the gold medal in men's singles in the demonstration sport of tennis at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, won the deciding Davis Cup match in Olympic Hall here, beating West Germany's Michael Westphal and giving Sweden its second Cup in two years and its third ever.
Edberg, ranked fifth in the world, beat Westphal, ranked 51st, in the fifth match of the best-of-five final Cup series, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3. It was a victory achieved under tremendous pressure because:
--It followed a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 crowd-stirring win by German hero Boris Becker over Swedish star Mats Wilander.
--The match was played before the noisy and highly partisan crowd of 13,000.
--It came after Edberg had lost the first set to a fired-up Westphal, which in turn further fired up the crowd.
Becker had beaten Edberg in the tournament opener Friday, but Wilander had won the second singles match and had teamed with Joakim Nystrom to win Saturday's doubles, giving Sweden a 2-1 edge going into Sunday's play.
Becker, as he has done so many times since winning Wimbledon this year, had the hometown fans in a near frenzy all weekend, playing despite the pain of a hip injury that necessitated taking pain killers before his match Sunday. In his match, most of the pain was suffered by Wilander.
"Boris played incredibly well," the always-gracious Wilander said. "There was nothing I could do in the fourth set. I don't think my serve is good enough against Boris on a surface like this."
In Davis Cup play, the selection of the surface is made by the home team. When Sweden beat the United States last year in Sweden, the match was played on slow clay, much more to the liking of Wilander, Edberg and Co., than to the Americans. But the Germans, playing to Becker's huge, booming serve, selected a fast carpet-like surface, and Becker put it to good use, especially in his match against Wilander, when he served 14 aces and hit 20 outright service winners.
"I'm as happy about winning these two matches here in the Davis Cup final," Becker said, "as I am about winning Wimbledon."
Becker, ranked sixth in the world, has now beaten Wilander, ranked third, two of three times. And Becker has a 7-1 record in Davis Cup singles matches.
Westphal, despite his 23 aces against Edberg, was clearly the weak link in singles on the two teams. But his first-set start against Edberg gave everybody pause, including Edberg.
"I thought I had a real chance because I saw how nervous he was," Westphal said.
And Edberg didn't deny that.
"I was a bit nervous when I went out there," he said. "I was not playing well, but I was battling . . . and it paid off."
Edberg won his final game easily, serving it out at love, then dashing to the net and leaping over it. He was quickly surrounded by his teammates, who tossed him into the air in celebration.