By Thomas Myler
It would be easy for the younger generation of television viewers to forget, or even know about, the impact that the German player Boris Becker had on tennis during his stellar career. Tennis magazine ranks him the 11th best all-time player of the period 1965–2005.
In 1985, at the age of 17, he became the youngest ever winner of the men’s singles at Wimbledon. He won while being unseeded, meaning that he had not achieved enough to be assigned within an order of the better players at the start of the tournament.
Becker repeated his success in 1986 and again in 1989, and seeded on both occasions. In 1988, he helped West Germany win its first Davis Cup, and in 1991 he became the world’s number one by winning the Australian Open, and second Davis Cup. Throughout his career, Becker won 49 singles titles and 15 doubles titles.
Becker occasionally deviated from his serve-and-volley style to try to out-hit, from the baseline, opponents who normally were at their best while remaining near the baseline. Even though he possessed powerful shots from both wings, this strategy was often criticised by commentators.
He had frequent emotional outbursts on court. Whenever he considered himself to be playing badly, he often swore at himself and occasionally smashed his racquets.
In 1987, he was fined $2,000 following a series of outbursts during the Australian Open in Melbourne, including breaking three racquets, twice throwing the ball in an offensive manner at the umpire, hitting the umpire’s chair on one occasion, spitting water in the direction of the umpire, and hitting three balls out of the court.