Double Fault – Tennis Legends (Boris Becker) – By Jack Maleham

It is often said in sport that if you are good enough, then you are old enough. That was certainly the case for German tennis star Boris Becker.

He was just 17 years old when he burst onto the tennis scene by becoming the youngest ever Wimbledon champion in 1985.

From then on Becker did not look back. He successfully defended his Wimbledon title the following year, beating the world number one Ivan Lendl in straight sets. An impressive feat, and more was to follow.

After going without a Grand Slam in 1987 and 1988, Becker enjoyed arguably his most successful tennis season in 1989. This was the first and only season in which Becker picked up two of the four Grand Slams. He won a third Wimbledon title before going on to claim the US Open, again defeating Lendl in the final.

Becker also helped West Germany lift the Davis Cup in this season by defeating Andre Agassi in the semifinal. He went on to be named Player of The Year by the ATP Tour.

However it was to be a one and a half year wait for Becker’s next major success. After failing to defend his Wimbledon title – losing in a five set thriller to Stefan Edberg – and his US Open title, Becker went into the 1991 Australian Open in determined mood.

Becker claimed his first Australian Open title, again defeating Lendl in the final. This was a special victory for Becker as it was the first and only time he would claim the world number one ranking, something that eluded the German for much of his career. He held number one for 12 weeks, but never managed to finish a season as the top ranked player.

A mid career slump was to follow. Off court issues meant that Becker would not win a major in the years 1992,1993,1994 or 1995. However in 1995, Becker reached his seventh Wimbledon final, although he was beaten in four sets by Pete Sampras.

There was one final major success left for Becker. In 1996 he claimed his final Grand Slam title by defeating Michael Chang in the final of the Australian Open.

By 1997 Becker was no longer at the top of his game. He reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon but was defeated by Sampras. After this defeat, Becker vowed that he would never play at Wimbledon again.

He did however return to SW19 for one last time in 1999 but he was defeated in the fourth round.

Having won 49 career singles titles including six Grand Slam victories, Becker is certainly one of the legends of tennis.

 

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