20 years ago: Boris Becker becomes youngest Wimbledon champ ever [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

20 years ago: Boris Becker becomes youngest Wimbledon champ ever

KarstenBraasch#1
06-19-2005, 10:03 AM
1985: Boris Becker wins Wimbledon at 17

A West German teenager has become the youngest ever player to win the Wimbledon tennis tournament.
Boris Becker, a 17-year-old unseeded outsider before the tournament began, raised the coveted silver trophy above his head to rapturous applause on centre court.

Becker is also the first German ever to win the title, and the first unseeded player.

He had dominated the match from the start, taking just three hours and 18 minutes to overpower eighth-seeded Kevin Curren, a South-African-born American.

Flamboyant

The match was a dramatic clash in the brilliant sunshine, made more spectacular by Becker's flamboyant style.

His massive serve sent balls scorching across the net. He scored 21 aces to Curren's 19.

Becker also has a habit of flinging himself around the court, diving headlong for volleys and baseline shots.

For half a set he played with his shirt caked in dirt after one particularly spectacular fall.

The final result was 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4.

'Idol' for Germany

"This is going to change tennis in Germany," he said after the match. "I am the first Wimbledon winner and now they have an idol."

After his defeat, Kevin Curren said he thought the game would see an increase in the number of successful young players, and predicted they would have more intense, but shorter, careers.

There was some speculation that Curren had been unnerved by Becker's openly aggressive style.

The young player sent a hostile stare to his opponent before and after points, and in the final caught Curren's shoulder as they passed when changing ends.

But Becker defended his tactics, saying "I'm going on court to win, to fight, to do what I can."

Child prodigy

Becker has had a brief but brilliant career. He began playing tennis aged eight, and by 12 years old was concentrating almost wholly on the game.

He won the West German junior championship aged 15 and was runner-up in the US junior championship.

Last January he took the Young Masters tournament in Birmingham, and won his first Grand Prix tournament at Queen's just three weeks ago.

He has won 28 of his 39 matches this year, and is expected to lead West Germany in the Davis Cup against the United States next month.

KarstenBraasch#1
06-19-2005, 10:03 AM
Wimbledon-Boy king Becker carved out place in history

LONDON, June 15 (Reuters) - Twenty years ago comedian Ernie Wise made Britain's first mobile phone call. That same year, the Coca-Cola Company introduced its ill-fated "New Coke". And in the summer of 1985 a chunky-thighed, red-haired teenager turned tennis on its head.

While Bob Geldof was planning his original Live Aid concert which would raise millions of dollars for famine relief, 17-year-old German Boris Becker rode a wave of euphoria all the way to the Wimbledon title.

At a tournament that prizes tradition above all else, Becker challenged the past and won.

Never had an unseeded player won the most coveted title in tennis. Never had a boy so young triumphed on the sport's most revered stage.

"With the passion of a Friedrich Nietzsche or Ludwig van Beethoven," wrote Time magazine, "this unseeded boy from Leimen turned the tennis establishment of Wimbledon on its head."

The British press were less wordy but no less impressed by the incredible achievement.

"King Boris the First," the tabloid press gasped. "Boy King".

Becker was just 17 years and 227 days old when he became the first German to win the Wimbledon men's singles crown.

He was too young to legally drive in his homeland, he cut his own mop of ginger hair and his mother used to send him toothpaste because she was worried about his teeth.

When the boy from the small rural town of Leimen walked through the gates of London's Queen's Club to take part in the traditional Wimbledon warm-up event in early June, he was just another young hopeful who a week earlier had lost in the second round of the French Open to Mats Wilander.


BRIEF ANONYMITY

However the freedom of anonymity he enjoyed during that week in west London was to be brief. After blasting his way past Pat Cash, Paul McNamee and Johan Kriek to win his first ATP tour title, Becker arrived at Wimbledon.

A fortnight later Becker climaxed a breathtaking rise to prominence by beating Kevin Curren 6-3 6-7 7-6 6-4 in three hours 18 minutes of history-making drama.

Curren could only applaud his prodigious conqueror. "I should have had the advantage. Being older...being on Centre Court...Maybe he was too young to know about all that stuff," he said afterwards.

"This victory was my own personal moon landing," Becker would later say. "1969 Apollo 11, 1985 Wimbledon 1. Back then, Neil Armstrong jumped from the ladder of the space capsule Eagle into the moondust and transmitted his historic words to the people of the world: 'That's one small step for man, one great leap for mankind.' But I couldn't muster words to meet the occasion. I could only think, 'Boy oh boy, this can't be true'."

True it was. By the end of the year, "Boom-Boom Becker" had blasted his way from 65 in the world to number six and become the symbol of change sweeping the sport as youth triumphed over experience.

Becker showed that it was far from a fluke by successfully defending the title a year later and then winning it for a third time -- at the still tender age of 21 -- in 1989.

Although the German found it impossible to achieve in the prime of his life what he miraculously pulled off as a callow youth at the tournament he loved most, he did win the Australian Open in 1996, his sixth grand slam title from 10 finals, and he held the world number one spot.

It is for his innocent Wimbledon heroics 20 years ago, though, that his magical place in history is assured for all time.

KarstenBraasch#1
06-19-2005, 10:06 AM
Des's SW19 memories

Des Lynam
BBC Radio Five Live

I've been a fan of Wimbledon all my life.

As a schoolboy, I'd watch it on our black-and-white TV and think, "I've got to go to this place."

I finally made it there when I was about 16 and was mesmerised by it. It lived up to all my expectations.

Of course, I never got anywhere near the Centre Court - I just wandered around the outside courts - but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I think it's one of the world's great sporting events - it transcends tennis.

Tennis goes on all year round and, in Britain, we pay scant regard to it, and then here comes Wimbledon and everybody becomes a tennis fan for two weeks.

It captures everybody's imagination. It has a lot to do with tradition and, in my opinion, the excellent coverage the BBC has given it.

Everyone always talks about the great final between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe - which was probably one of the best matches ever - but the memory that stands out for me is when Boris Becker won his first Championship.

It was just unbelievable - here was a boy of 17 who'd come through the qualifying tournament and gone on to win.

I remember the ball came to Becker at one stage in the final when play had stopped, and he flicked it up like a footballer would - flicked it up with his foot, onto his knee and back down again.

Here was a guy playing in the most prestigious tennis final in the world and he was fooling around like a 17-year-old might in the park.

It wasn't that he wasn't taking it seriously - he was just relaxed. He thought, 'Well, I can't believe I'm here' and he played with no fear.

I was mesmerised that a kid of that age could have the composure and the ability to go all the way.

When you look at people today - when you look at Henman, whose life's ambition has been to get to the final - Becker's win in 1985 is still absolutely amazing.

[...]

KarstenBraasch#1
06-19-2005, 10:09 AM
Das Wunderkind

Boris Becker, a 17-year-old from West Germany, became Wimbledon's youngest champion by bashing Kevin Curren
By Curry Kirkpatrick

Issue date: July 15, 1985

It happens only once in a prodigy's life, wondrously, that time when his genius comes full bloom and crystal clear. That time stood still at Wimbledon, and it didn't matter that the astounding Boris Becker -- Boom Boom, the Red Bomber; make up your own moniker and mail it to Leimen, West Germany, outside Heidelberg, where he lives -- won the tennis tournament without beating John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl or Jimmy Connors. He beat the men who beat them, and now, at 17 years and eight months young, Becker is champion of the world.

Imagine that. Imagine a gangly, lumbering kid who can neither drive nor vote, who cuts his own hair (badly) and doesn't know better than to sprawl headlong over the hallowed greensward, dirtying up his shirts something awful, who dropped out of school and out of last year's Wimbledon with two torn ligaments in his left ankle. Suddenly, this 6'2", 175-pound infant who has been on the tour barely a year turns up as a first everything. He's the first from his country, the first non-seed and the youngest player ever to win Wimbledon. Sure, it's easy to agree with the company line that Becker stormed through the draw and defeated the estimable Kevin Curren 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 in Sunday's final simply because he didn't realize where he was. Rubbish.

The children of destiny know exactly where they are, what they're doing and, especially, when it's their time. Bjorn Borg made the quarters at Wimbledon at 17 and won it at 20. McEnroe reached the semis at 18 and was champion at 22. Connors won the tournament at 2, the great Rod Laver at 22. So Becker has a serious start on all of them. But they knew, too. What is your ambition, Boris, now that you have won the championship? "I am playing Indianapolis," he said, "... to win the next tournament." Hey, Boom Boom knew.


Even before the final, Curren seemed to recognize what was happening as well. In the two previous rounds the South African turned Texan had shockingly routed the last two champions. McEnroe ('84, '83, '81) and Connors ('82). But no sooner had he finished that task than he cocked an eye to Anders Jarryd's brief lead over Becker in the other semifinal. "Keep going, Jarryd," he muttered. Hey, Curren knew, too.

Curren showed how nervous he was in the final when he blew a couple of sitters to lose his first service game. Becker served out the set with two aces and two service winners. His game shimmering with power and length, Becker continued to out-hit his opponent from all angles -- the screaming, dipping fastball, forehand, some lunging backhand cross-courts, even a momentary touch volley -- yet Curren hung on. Never attaining 50% on his first service, Curren, 27, won the second-set tiebreaker 7-4 and then, with his first and only break of the match, went ahead 4-3 in the third. The grass had turned to dust by now -- "like the French open," both players agreed; "Wimbledon Motocross," somebody else said -- but Becker was coping more easily with the footing and bounce in his basic Teutonic way: He simply stomped on the offending turf or cursed it or waved it off. In full cry, Becker's arsenal goes from natural aggression to confidence, from arrogance to domination. Who was the last teenager to so intimidate the surroundings, not to mention his elders? Mozart? And so now.

In the next game Becker turned the championship inescapably his way. With an enormous backhand pass, accompanied by an even larger roaring grunt, Becker broke back at 30. Boom Boom needed eight set points -- he angered Curren by blatantly stalling on the first once -- before winning the set in a 7-3 tiebreaker. When he again broke Curren in the first game of the fourth set, the match was over. Unless Becker gagged.

Becker came from nowhere to stun the tennis establishment. David Walberg
Gag? The kid was so loose he was bouncing balls on his head and chest like a soccer player, once trapping one between his thighs. "He played like it was the first round," Curren confirmed. The loser had one last threat in him, though -- two break points in the second game. But Becker made like a combination of Don Budge (the looks), Lew Hoad (the disdainful power and stroke) and Max Schmeling, der germanische Schläger himself (the KO punch), and simply unloaded one more service winner and another of his 21 aces to hold.

"I kept saying to myself, 'C'mon, let's go for it,'" Becker said. "I think Kevin was always, uh worried," A state of mind that was understandable in the confusion over whether Becker was Budge or Hoad or even Boom Boom's famous countryman of the 1930's, Gottfried Von Cramm. But that baron was 0-for-3 in Wimbledon finals, so this one is way ahead of him, too. ...

Becker served notice by reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in December and the semis of the Italian Open in May. Then, a week before the fortnight, he won Queens in a romp. Afterward, Johan Kriek, the losing finalist, predicted that Becker would win Wimbledon just as easily. Yuk, yuk.

In the big show, Becker came from behind in four matches. Cold and calculating, yet with that big goofy kid smile, he handled the press and the pressure. Was Ion Tiriac, the hirsute Transylvania warrior of old who manages the Wunder Boom Boom, serious when he revealed that at age 10 Becker was kicked out of the German Federation's youth program because he was "too crazy" and that even last year he had "the temperament of complete bananas"?

Wimbledon was but one round gone when Hank Pfister, his beaten opponent rated Becker higher than Bjorn Borg or McEnroe at the same age, describing his power as "frightful." Pfister said he didn't think Becker could win Wimbledon yet. Then he thought longer. "But maybe so," he said. "The guy's got to win it sometime."

Becker's 9-7-in-the-fifth defeat of seventh-seeded Joakim Nystrom was a study in courage and chutzpah. Twice Nystrom broke Becker on an array of glorious passes to serve for the match. Twice Becker broke back and then held and broke again for the win. "When I was young ..." he said, "... I mean last year."

In the fourth round Becker recovered from a twisted ankle to outslug a 1982 Wimbledon semifinalist, Tim Mayotte, 6-2 in the fifth. He hardly glanced at Mayotte on the handshake. By the quarterfinals all regularly scheduled television programs in the homeland were canceled for Boris in Limeyland. Wrote the man from the Times, "How odd Germany should have such personal interest in a court on which in 1940 they dropped a bomb."

Jarryd, the fifth seed seemed in control of his semifinal match with Becker. Jarryd won the first set 6-2 and had two set points at 5-4 in the second. But then Boom Boom started unloading his sound effects. Trailing 3-1 in the tiebreaker, Becker thundered a return winner, served another bomb and then stalked around the net post to change ends. His stride took him straight for Jarryd, but the older man looked up just in time to lurch out of the way lest he be crunched unceremoniously to the ground. Jarryd didn't win another point in the breaker and went on to lose 2-6, 7-6, 6-3, 6-3. The Boomer patted Jarryd on the shoulder as if dismissing a puppy." Boris never thinks about it; he just plays," said Henri LeConte, who had eliminated Ivan Lendl before falling in the quarters to Becker. "I see his plan. He just hit ball, make winner, win, say thank you and go bye-bye." ...

Victory, it is said, comes at the young "like a ghoul." But if one is brave, bold and Boris Becker, one glares it down. It also helps to know the time. At Wimbledon, the clocks were all set for Boom Boom.

KarstenBraasch#1
06-19-2005, 10:15 AM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/features/cover/news/2000/06/20/flashback_wimbledon1985/becker_lg.jpg
http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/39156000/jpg/_39156710_teng1.jpg
http://www3.ndr.de/container/ndr_style_images_default/0,2299,OID857192,00.jpg

KarstenBraasch#1
06-19-2005, 10:16 AM
:)

Rogiman
06-19-2005, 10:20 AM
The times when teen-Grand Slam winners were also fun to watch.... ;)

Action Jackson
06-19-2005, 10:21 AM
The times when teen-Grand Slam winners were also fun to watch.... ;)

1982 was much better for that sort of thing.

Rogiman
06-19-2005, 10:23 AM
1982 was much better for that sort of thing.
No it wasn't

Wilander :yawn:

Action Jackson
06-19-2005, 10:25 AM
No it wasn't

Wilander :yawn:

Got to love the grasscourt propaganda.

Rogiman
06-19-2005, 10:27 AM
Got to love the grasscourt propaganda.
Becker was more fun to watch even on clay.

Action Jackson
06-19-2005, 10:29 AM
Becker was more fun to watch even on clay.

Brainless Boris Beaker what a sight, Monte Carlo 95 final was at his best.

Enough of that it was a wonderful achievement by Becker and was able to defend it the next year, so kudos to him.

KarstenBraasch#1
06-19-2005, 10:33 AM
Don't hate, celebrate. :)

Rogiman
06-19-2005, 10:34 AM
Brainless Boris Beaker what a sight, Monte Carlo 95 final was at his best.

He knew 95 was going to be the only thing people would talk about while reflecting on Muster's career, so he didn't want to spoil it to the one Slam wonder.

Action Jackson
06-19-2005, 10:39 AM
Don't hate, celebrate. :)

He won as a teenager and defended his Wimbledon title, that's good enough and worthy of celebrating.

GermanBoy
06-19-2005, 10:54 AM
:eek: WOW! :eek: 20 years ago! :eek:

Neely
06-19-2005, 11:34 AM
Brainless Boris Beaker what a sight, Monte Carlo 95 final was at his best.
It's bad for him that he never could win a title on clay and that he choked against Muster on his biggest chance, but at the end he could afford it, having known that he used his comeback qualities throughout his carreer in the Grand Slams several times just to win it all at the end.

Action Jackson
06-19-2005, 11:39 AM
Thanks to Becker's Wimbledon win, that's when German tennis took off in the biggest possible way.

Neely
06-19-2005, 11:59 AM
Thanks to Becker's Wimbledon win, that's when German tennis took off in the biggest possible way.
You say it, certainly a good thing that Becker did huge things in his career and props to him that he made ordinary people (not only hardcore tennis fans) stay awake all night to follow his matches all over the world although I was much more a big fan of a certain other German player who came into the scene a few years later, but who was never anywhere near Becker's success.

Action Jackson
06-19-2005, 12:06 PM
You say it, certainly a good thing that Becker did huge things in his career and props to him that he made ordinary people (not only hardcore tennis fans) stay awake all night to follow his matches all over the world although I was much more a big fan of a certain other German player who came into the scene a few years later, but who was never anywhere near Becker's success.

As much as I don't like Becker, he had such a huge role in the growth of German tennis and that Wimbledon win laid the seeds, and if it wasn't for him, the other players would have less likely to have followed and they saw what he was doing and then that's how the boom happened.

91 Wimbledon was always more fun in that regard, as for him on clay, well he was too arrogant to win a title, though he lost to good players on the surface, except Sampras made him look ordinary.

Neely
06-19-2005, 12:22 PM
Correct, Becker usually didn't lose to total slouches on clay and he was much better on clay than his "he never won a title on clay"-tag presumes. His "fault" in that regard was that the only Mickey Mouse events that he usually played on clay was Munich. Had he entered Bastad, Casablanca, Houston, St. Pölten equivalents over all those years a few times, I'm sure he eventually would have won some titles on clay and could have avoided this negative tag on his career. (but okay, he set other preferences in his career and I couldn't say he didn't try hard in some of the clay Masters or at RG).

Action Jackson
06-19-2005, 12:24 PM
Correct, Becker usually didn't lose to total slouches on clay and he was much better on clay than his "he never won a title on clay"-tag presumes. His "fault" in that regard was that the only Mickey Mouse events that he usually played on clay was Munich. Had he entered Bastad, Casablanca, Houston, St. Pölten equivalents over all those years a few times, I'm sure he eventually would have won some titles on clay and could have avoided this negative tag on his career.

Becker did make the RG semis 3 times, Båstad hasn't been a Mickey Mouse event for a while and was only when the great Swedes had retired and it's not Mickey Mouse again. He just prefered playing the Stockholm indoor, he played Gstaad one year and that was good enough for him.

KCVH
06-19-2005, 12:30 PM
Yep, Boris first Wimbly win came sooner as expected. Though a fortnight before. Johan Kriek said "If he plays like that, he'll win Wimbly". Yeah, J. Kriek's spot on. A few months ago Boris's voted by the German sportsfans as the 5th best ever. What was so great about Boris on grass, would say his returning passing-shot. In my books he's missed in the current men's tennis like other players. Was so great to watch this serve & volley display.

Raquel
06-19-2005, 01:06 PM
Boris :worship:

To win Wimbledon at 17 is amazing but to come back and defend to have two Wimbledon's at 18 is an incredible achievement.

NYCtennisfan
06-19-2005, 06:27 PM
Becker was more fun to watch even on clay.

Without a doubt. That was a great, great memory.

Chloe le Bopper
06-19-2005, 07:09 PM
Boris :hearts:

OK, so he wasn't very sexy back then. He is now!

nermo
06-19-2005, 07:28 PM
Oh yes..that was an acheivement. :yeah: .I think both Boris becker and Steffi Graf contributed much to German tennis..they were idols for not only German but i think other countries' kids and were a factor of attracting young ppl to the game ...great achievement as it was...but i still remember Becker once said that winning Wimbledon at a young age..caused him a lot of trouble !!!well, he was famous for his weird comments :)

Jenrios
06-19-2005, 07:48 PM
and so began my tennis nightmare...................Becker, boring game and a complete jerk.

Space Cowgirl
06-19-2005, 08:03 PM
Oh yes..that was an acheivement. :yeah: .I think both Boris becker and Steffi Graf contributed much to German tennis..they were idols for not only German but i think other countries' kids and were a factor of attracting young ppl to the game
yes, very true. Unfortunately the downside now is that all the current German players are constantly compared by the media to Becker and of course are found wanting :mad:

Dirk
06-19-2005, 09:08 PM
As much as I don't like Becker, he had such a huge role in the growth of German tennis and that Wimbledon win laid the seeds, and if it wasn't for him, the other players would have less likely to have followed and they saw what he was doing and then that's how the boom happened.

91 Wimbledon was always more fun in that regard, as for him on clay, well he was too arrogant to win a title, though he lost to good players on the surface, except Sampras made him look ordinary.

Wimbledon 91 crowned one of the most deserving champs ever. For Micheal Stich to come out of nowwhere and beat the two best grass court players at that time was :eek: That would be like someone beating Roger and Andy back to back. Kudos to Becker but it is a shame he didn't win more slams. Can someone explain to me why he lost in the 1st rd in 87? That was golden chance to win it again.

nermo
06-19-2005, 09:14 PM
yes, very true. Unfortunately the downside now is that all the current German players are constantly compared by the media to Becker and of course are found wanting posted by SpaceGirl

Well, Comparing current german players to Becker..though seems unfair but i think it's helplessly done ..Becker and Steffi were absolutely representing the beautiful era of german tennis..and comparing other players to them comes from ppl's wishes or dreams about watching a new German talent who would at least give them enjoyment and pride ..even more than winning titles at early age..

binkygirl
06-20-2005, 04:41 AM
You say it, certainly a good thing that Becker did huge things in his career and props to him that he made ordinary people (not only hardcore tennis fans) stay awake all night to follow his matches all over the world although I was much more a big fan of a certain other German player who came into the scene a few years later, but who was never anywhere near Becker's success.

Do you mind sharing the name, Neely? Let me guess.. are you talking about Oliver Gross? Or Berndt Karbacher?

Neely
06-20-2005, 08:35 AM
Do you mind sharing the name, Neely? Let me guess.. are you talking about Oliver Gross? Or Berndt Karbacher?
No, it was Michael Stich :)

Action Jackson
06-20-2005, 10:52 AM
Wimbledon 91 crowned one of the most deserving champs ever. For Micheal Stich to come out of nowwhere and beat the two best grass court players at that time was :eek: That would be like someone beating Roger and Andy back to back. Kudos to Becker but it is a shame he didn't win more slams. Can someone explain to me why he lost in the 1st rd in 87? That was golden chance to win it again.

Becker won enough Slams, he made a huge impact on tennis whether I like him or not and as for Stich deserving it of course he did. It's actually one of the few things I can agree with Neely about is Stich.

In 87 his ego was bigger than the old Soviet Union 5 times over and thought he could just walk on court and win Wimbledon, but he met another big server who happened to have a very good day and Becker lost.