Boris Becker

Boris Becker at the 1994 Thriftway Championshi...
 
Boris Franz Becker (born 22 November 1967) is a former World No. 1 professional tennis player from Germany. He is a six-time Grand Slamsingles champion, an Olympic gold medalist in doubles, and the youngest-ever winner of the men’s singles title at Wimbledon at the age of 17. Becker also won five major indoor championships titles including three ATP Masters World Tour Finals (played eight finals, second all-time to Ivan Lendl, who played nine) and one WCT Finals and one Grand Slam Cup. He also won five Masters 1000 series titles and eight Championship Seriestitles. Tennis Magazine put Becker in 18th place on its list of the 40 greatest tennis players from 1965 to 2005.[1]

Becker turned professional in 1984, under the guidance of Romanian-born coach, Günther Bosch, and with Ion Ţiriac as manager and won his first professional doubles title that year in Munich. As a West German teenager, Becker won his first top-level singles title in June 1985 at Queen’s Cluband two weeks later on 7 July, became the first unseeded player and the first German to win the Wimbledon singles title, defeating Kevin Curren in four sets. At that time, he was ranked 20th in ATP ranking [5] and Wimbledon did not do any seeds beyond 16 seeds. He was the youngest ever male Grand Slam singles champion at 17 years, 227 days (a record later broken by Michael Chang in 1989, who won the French Open when he was 17 years, 110 days). Two months after his triumph, Becker became the youngest winner of the Cincinnati Open.
In 1986, Becker successfully defended his Wimbledon title, defeating world no. 1 Ivan Lendl in straight sets in the final. Becker, then ranked world no. 2, was upset in the second round of Wimbledon in 1987 by the world no. 70 player, Peter Doohan. In the Davis Cup that year, Becker and John McEnroe played one of the longest matches in tennis history. Becker won, 4–6, 15–13, 8–10, 6–2, 6–2 (at that time, there were no tiebreaks in the Davis Cup). The match lasted 6 hours and 22 minutes.
Becker was back in the Wimbledon final in 1988, where he lost in four sets to Stefan Edberg in a match that marked the start of one of Wimbledon’s great rivalries. Becker also helped West Germany win its first Davis Cup in 1988. He won the year-end Masters title in New York City, defeating five-time champion Lendl in the final. The same year he also won season ending WCT Finals for the rival World Championship Tennis tour defeating Edberg in four sets.
In 1989, Becker won two Grand Slam singles titles, the only year he won more than one. After losing to Edberg in the French Open semifinals, he defeated Edberg in the Wimbledon final, and then beat Lendl in the US Open final. He also helped West Germany retain the Davis Cup, defeatingAndre Agassi in the semifinal round. As a result, Becker was named Player of The Year by the ATP Tour. The world no. 1 ranking, however, still eluded him.
In 1990, Becker met Edberg for the third consecutive year in the Wimbledon final, but this time was on the losing end of a long five-set match. He also failed to defend his US Open title, losing to Agassi in the semifinals. Becker reached the final of the Australian Open for the first time in his career in 1991, where he defeated Lendl to claim the world no. 1 ranking. Another loss to Agassi in the French Open semifinals kept him from winning the first two Grand Slam tournaments of the year. He was ranked world no. 1 for twelve weeks during 1991, though he never managed to finish a year with that ranking.
In 1992 Becker won seven tour titles including his second ATP Tour World Championships defeating Jim Courier in four sets.
By 1993, issues back home over his courtship of and marriage to Barbara Feltus, whose mother was German and father was African-American, and tax problems with the German Government, had caused Becker to slide into a severe mid-career decline. Becker was ranked world no. 2 during Wimbledon in 1991 and reached his fourth consecutive final there. However, he lost in straight sets to fellow German compatriot and world no. 7Michael Stich. Becker and Stich developed a fierce rivalry, with the media often comparing a passionate Becker to a more stoic Stich.[citation needed]However, Becker and Stich teamed in 1992 to win the men’s doubles gold medal at the Olympic Games in Barcelona. Becker defeated Jim Courier in straight sets to win the 1992 year-end ATP Tour World Championships in Frankfurt.
In 1995, Becker reached the Wimbledon final for the seventh time, by defeating Agassi in the semifinals. In the final however, the years past-his-prime Becker, further fatigued after grueling baseline contests with Cédric Pioline and then with Agassi, ran out of gas after winning the first set in a tiebreak, and lost in four sets to Pete Sampras. He won the year-end ATP Tour World Championships for the third and last time in Frankfurt with a straight-set win over Michael Chang in the final. Becker’s sixth and final Grand Slam title came in 1996 when he defeated Chang in the final of the Australian Open. In that tournament, Becker delivered a humorous victory speech.[citation needed] When he mentioned his sponsors, he cut himself short, by saying that he did not have the whole day left. He then consoled Chang, by saying that his (Becker’s) days were numbered, while Chang was still young. After winning the Queen’s Club Championships for the fourth time, Becker was widely expected to mount a serious challenge for the Wimbledon title in 1996, but his bid ended abruptly when he damaged his right wrist during a third-round match against Neville Godwin and was forced to withdraw.

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