One of the greatest tennis players in history, the legendary Boris Becker was born on November 22, 1967 in Leimen, West Germany. Becker tasted success from the start of his career and was considered a teenage prodigy. He turned professional in 1984 and won the first of his six Grand Slam titles aged only 17 in 1985.
Becker’s first Grand Slam came at the 1985 Wimbledon, a tournament he would win 3 times in his career. He would defend his Wimbledon crown in 1986 and would win it for the final time in his career in 1989. He would also win Slams at the Australian Open in 1991 and 1996 and the US Open as well in 1989. He was also ranked World No.1 in his career.
The story of his career though was what more could he achieve if not for his injury and personal issues, as well as his mid-career decline. He was plagued by back injury issues, his marriage courtship with Barbara Feltus and his long battle with the German authorities over tax problems in what should have been the peak years of his career.
He would still retire from the game as one of its greatest players, winning 49 singles titles and tasted great success in the doubles format as well, winning 15 titles. He is also regarded as one of the greatest serve and volleyers in the game. He was also an adept baseliner, a tactic which he would often try to surprise his opponents. His strong serve and volley skills earned him nicknames such as ‘Boom-Boom’ and ‘Der Bomber’.
He was also a highly emotional character on the court, who would often swear at himself and break his rackets if he was playing badly. Unlike John McEnroe though, his level of play would diminish after outbursts, rather than being enhanced like the American legend. Becker was more comfortable playing on fast surfaces like grass-courts and indoor courts. He still tasted success in the French Open though, reaching the semi-finals two times in 1987, 1989 and 1991.
After retirement from the game, Becker also found success as a coach with Novak Djokovic during the most successful spell of his career. Becker was Djokovic’s coach for three years from 2013 to 2016. When Becker was Djokovic’s coach, he won six of his 12 Grand Slam titles.
Becker once said on tasting success so early in his career and not being able to carry forward the momentum, “I had won so much by 22, a number of Wimbledon titles, US Open, Davis Cup, World number one. You look for the next big thing and that isn’t in tennis.”