Burning issue fires 'new' Marlboro Man

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 October, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 October, 1995, 12:00am

CIGARETTE makers Philip Morris need mourn no more. The Marlboro Man may have died last week of lung cancer, but his replacement rose from the ashes at Victoria Park yesterday.

Sweden's Stefan Edberg beat off the challenge of Italian Andrea Gaudenzi to win the US$760,000 (HK$5.86 million) Marlboro Championships . . . and then declared his support for tobacco sponsorship in sport.

Although a non-smoker, the 29-year-old Swede praised Philip Morris Asia's support of the tournament, which was first played in 1988.

'Philip Morris puts a lot of money into sport and they have supported sport for a long time,' said Edberg, who received a cheque of US$220,000 for his 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) final victory.

'Smoking is not healthy, but everybody has a choice. Overall, I think it is good because without sponsorship, sport cannot survive,' he said.

In 1990, Australian Pat Cash embarrassed sponsors of the Salem Open when he criticised smoking after collecting his winner's cheque.

Twice Wimbledon champion, but now ranked 23 in the world, Edberg had come to Hong Kong with his confidence sagging after failing to win a tournament in 10 months.

But he finished the Marlboro tournament playing the kind of tennis that has won him six Grand Slam titles.

'I think in the past two days, I have been playing great tennis,' he said before receiving his trophy from the Financial Secretary, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.