1 minute read

Boris Becker

Ups And Downs

In 1986, Becker successfully defended his title against Ivan Lendl, efficiently knocking him off in three sets: 6-4, 6-3, 7-5. "I saw a little bit in Ivan's face that he didn't know what to do with me," Becker told a Sports Illustrated reporter. At that point, reporters could still write that no mortal man could beat Becker, who had only lost his first Wimbledon competition because of an injury. He was still the golden boy of modern tennis.

The next year, 1987, put a little tarnish on the Becker shine. In January, he lost to Wally Masur, ranked 71st, at the Australian Open. An unusually bitter Becker hit balls toward the umpire and out of the stand, broke three rackets, and even spat water toward the umpire, earning $2,000 in fines. Two days after the match, he fired his coach, Gunther Bosch, who had been with him since childhood—an emotional breakup that left him feeling drained and bitter. Bosch began speaking to the press, often casting Becker in a negative light. At the same time, he took up with 22-year-old Benedicte Courtin, hiding out with her at a $2,600-a-night villa that caused some grumbling in the press about his high-flying lifestyle. Then the unthinkable: he lost in the second round at Wimbledon to an unknown, Peter Doohan. The press began to savage him. "I didn't lose a war. Nobody died. Basically, I just lost a tennis match," commented Becker, but he was shaken by the harshness of the attacks.

The next couple of years were somewhat better. Becker took seven titles, and captained Germany to their first Davis Cup victory. 1989 was even more satisfying. In July, he reclaimed his Wimbledon title, knocking off defending champ Stefan Edberg 6-0, 7-6, 6-4. That same month he helped the German team take another Davis Cup win in Munich by beating Andre Agassi, the man who had blatantly insulted Becker's beloved Wimbledon. To top it all off, in September Becker won the U.S. Open for the first time, besting rival Ivan Lendl. The International Tennis Federation awarded Becker the title of World Champion that year.

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsTennisBoris Becker Biography - Young Champion, Ups And Downs, Controversy Finds The Wunderkind, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments