Tennis: Mustangs’ Swenson cruises to 2nd state singles crown

Bjorn Swenson finished 22-0 with four straight-set victories at the Class AA singles tournament.

No, Bjorn Swenson was not named after Bjorn Borg. He just plays tennis like he was.

“I was actually named after a famous Nordic Skier named Bjørn Dæhlie,” Swenson said, clearing up that issue.

The question was asked after the Mounds View junior cruised to his second consecutive state Class AA singles title last week.

Swenson beat Wayzata’s Jayho Hong 6-1, 6-0; Rochester Century’s Joshua Christensen 6-1, 6-1; Blake’s Sujit Chepuri 6-2, 6-3; and, in the finals, Edina’s sophomore Matthew Fullerton 6-2, 6-4.

Swenson finished the season 22-0, ranked first all year on the strength of his championship in ninth grade. There was, of course, no spring sports in 2020 due to the pandemic.

“My long term goal is to play tennis professionally,” said Swenson, so he might be hearing that question about the 11-time Grand Slam winner again.

He faced one guy in both state tournaments.

“I had to play my good friend Sujit,” Swenson said. “Last time at state, we had a four-hour match, so I was glad to beat him in straight sets this time.”

Especially with this year’s tourney played outdoors at Prior Lake High School rather than the air-conditioned U of M indoor courts that’s hosted the event for many years.

“Personally, I love the heat. I’m in great shape, so I was prepared to play in whatever weather,” said the 6-foot-1, 170-pound right-hander.

It was extremely hot and muggy on court, coach Scott Sundstrom observed.

“Bjorn is always so professional. He prepares himself for every match he plays, and does all of the off-court stuff required to play optimal tennis,” Sundstrom said.

“It’s difficult to perform well when you are the overwhelming favorite, and he did just that. I’m incredibly proud of his effort.”

This was Swenson’s fourth state tournament. He lost in the first round in seventh grade but reached the consolation finals. He won in the first round in eighth grade and lost in the quarters.

Swenson, who placed fifth in a national tournament during the high school season, is ranked No. 3 nationally in his age group by the USTA. He will play several tournaments around the country this summer.

Mounds View was the state team champion in 2019, but did not return as a team in 2021 after being upset by Mahtomedi 4-3 in the section finals. They should be a prime contender again in 2022 with nine of 10 starters back. Bjorn has three younger brothers, and the next one, going into eighth grade, is likely to be the 10th starter next year.

Teen players of Swenson’s massive talent have been known to depart from high school to take another rout to pro tennis such as joining an academy. Not Swenson.

“I know some players that have split from high school early for tennis,” he acknowledged, “but this is something I have never wanted to do. I enjoy playing for my school and being with my friends.”

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