Boris Becker
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Boris Becker

Boris Becker
Boris Becker 14.jpg
Becker in 2013
Full name Boris Franz Becker
Country (sports)  West Germany (1984-1990)
 Germany (1990-1999)
Residence Schwyz, Switzerland
Born (1967-11-22) 22 November 1967 (age 50)
Leimen, West Germany
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Turned pro 1984 (amateur tour from 1983)
Retired 25 June 1999
Plays Right-handed (one-handed backhand)
Coach Ion ?iriac
Günther Bosch
Bob Brett
Mike Depalmer Jr.
Günter Bresnik
Nick Bollettieri
Prize money


Int. Tennis HoF 2003 (member page)
Career record 713-214 (76.91%)
Career titles 49
Highest ranking No. 1 (28 January 1991)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open W (1991, 1996)
French Open SF (1987, 1989, 1991)
Wimbledon W (1985, 1986, 1989)
US Open W (1989)
Other tournaments
Tour Finals W (1988, 1992, 1995)
Grand Slam Cup W (1996)
WCT Finals W (1988)
Olympic Games 3R (1992)
Career record 254-136
Career titles 15
Highest ranking No. 6 (22 September 1986)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open QF (1985)
Other doubles tournaments
Team competitions
Davis Cup W (1988, 1989)
Hopman Cup W (1995 with Anke Huber)
Coaching career
Coaching achievements
Coachee Singles Titles total 24
List of notable tournaments
(with champion)

Career Grand Slam (Djokovic)
2x Australian Open (Djokovic)
French Open (Djokovic)
2x Wimbledon (Djokovic)
US Open (Djokovic)
2x ATP World Tour Finals (Djokovic)
13x ATP World Tour Masters 1000 (Djokovic)

Boris Franz Becker (German pronunciation: ['bs 'b?k?]; born 22 November 1967) is a German former world No. 1 professional tennis player. He was successful from the start of his career, winning the first of his six major singles titles at age 17. He also won five year-end championships, 13 Masters Series titles and an Olympic gold medal in doubles. Tennis magazine ranked him the 11th best male player of the period 1965-2005.

At times Becker struggled with his early success and fame, and his personal life has been turbulent. Since his playing career ended, he has engaged in numerous ventures, including coaching Novak Djokovic for three years. After facing bankruptcy proceedings, he claimed to be the Central African Republic sport and culture attaché to the EU since April 2018.[1] This, however, was later denied by officials from the African nation, who argued that Becker's passport was part of a batch stolen in 2014.[2]

Early life

Boris Becker was born in Leimen, a town in the German State Baden-Württemberg, as son of Elvira and Karl-Heinz Becker. His mother was Catholic, and they raised him as a Catholic.[3][4] His father Karl-Heinz, an architect, founded a tennis centre in Leimen, where Becker learned the game.

Tennis career

Becker turned professional in 1984, under the guidance of Romanian-born coach Günther Bosch and Romanian manager Ion ?iriac, and won his first professional doubles title that year in Munich. As a German teenager, Becker won the Tennis World Young Masters at the NEC in Birmingham in 1985, before taking his first top-level singles title in June that year at Queen's Club. Two weeks later, on 7 July, he became the first unseeded player and the first German to win the Wimbledon singles title, defeating Kevin Curren in four sets. Becker was at that time ranked 20th in ATP ranking,[5] and was unseeded, as at that time Wimbledon did not seed players beyond the top 16. He was the youngest ever male Grand Slam singles champion at 17 years, 227 days (a record later broken by Michael Chang in 1989, who won the French Open when he was 17 years, 110 days). Two months after his triumph, Becker became the youngest winner of the Cincinnati Open. Becker has since said that "The plan from my parents for me was to finish school, go to university, get a proper degree and learn something respectful. The last thing on everyone's mind was me becoming a tennis professional."[6]

In 1986, Becker successfully defended his Wimbledon title, defeating No. 1 Ivan Lendl in straight sets in the final. In 1987 Becker, then ranked No. 2, was upset in the second round of Wimbledon by No. 70 Peter Doohan. In the Davis Cup that year, Becker and John McEnroe played one of the longest matches in tennis history. Becker won 4-6, 15-13, 8-10, 6-2, 6-2 (at that time, there were no tiebreaks in the Davis Cup). The match lasted 6 hours and 22 minutes.

Becker was back in the Wimbledon final in 1988, where he lost in four sets to Stefan Edberg in a match that marked the start of one of Wimbledon's great rivalries. Becker also helped West Germany win its first Davis Cup in 1988. He won the year-end Masters title in New York City, defeating five-time champion Lendl in the final. The same year he also won season ending WCT Finals for the rival World Championship Tennis tour, defeating Edberg in four sets.

In 1989, Becker won two Grand Slam singles titles, the only year he won more than one. After losing to Edberg in the French Open semifinals, he defeated Edberg in the Wimbledon final, and then beat Lendl in the US Open final. He also helped West Germany retain the Davis Cup, defeating Andre Agassi in the semifinal round. As a result, Becker was named Player of The Year by the ATP Tour. The No. 1 ranking, however, still eluded him.

In 1990, Becker met Edberg for the third consecutive year in the Wimbledon final, but this time was on the losing end of a long five-set match. He also unsuccessfully defended his US Open title, losing to Agassi in the semifinals. Becker reached the final of the Australian Open for the first time in his career in 1991, where he defeated Lendl to claim the No. 1 ranking. Another loss to Agassi in the French Open semifinals kept him from winning the first two Grand Slam tournaments of the year. He was ranked No. 1 for 12 weeks during 1991, though he never managed to finish a year with that ranking. Becker was ranked No. 2 during Wimbledon in 1991 and reached his fourth consecutive final there. However, he lost in straight sets to fellow German compatriot and No. 7 Michael Stich. Becker and Stich developed a fierce rivalry, with the media often comparing a passionate Becker to a more stoic Stich.[] However, Becker and Stich teamed up in 1992 to win the men's doubles gold medal at the Olympic Games in Barcelona.

In 1992, Becker won seven tour titles including his second ATP Tour World Championships defeating Jim Courier in four sets.

By 1993, issues back home over his courtship of and marriage to Barbara Feltus, whose mother was German and father was African-American, and tax problems with the German government, had caused Becker to slide into a severe mid-career decline.

By 1995 Becker had been in continual decline for half a decade. That year though, Becker reached the Wimbledon final for the seventh time, by defeating Agassi in the semifinals. In the final however, Becker, further fatigued after grueling baseline contests with Cédric Pioline and then with Agassi, lost in four sets to Pete Sampras. He won the year-end ATP Tour World Championships for the third and last time in Frankfurt with a straight-set win over Michael Chang in the final. Becker's sixth and final Grand Slam title came in 1996 when he defeated Chang in the final of the Australian Open. After winning the Queen's Club Championships for the fourth time, Becker was widely expected to mount a serious challenge for the Wimbledon title in 1996, but his bid ended abruptly when he damaged his right wrist during a third-round match against Neville Godwin and was forced to withdraw.

Becker in 1994

Becker defeated Sampras in October 1996 in a five-set final in Stuttgart. "Becker is the best indoor player I've ever played", said Sampras after the match.[7] Becker lost to Sampras in the final of the 1996 ATP Tour World Championships in Hanover. Becker saved two match points in the fourth set and held serve 27 consecutive times until he was broken in the penultimate game. Later that year he won the Grand Slam Cup defeating Goran Ivanisevic in the final. In 1997, Becker lost to Sampras in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. After that match, he vowed that he would never play at Wimbledon again. However, Becker played Wimbledon one more time in 1999, this time losing in the fourth round to Patrick Rafter.

Becker was most comfortable playing on fast-playing surfaces, particularly grass courts and indoor carpet (on which he won 26 titles). He reached a few finals playing on clay courts, but never won a clay-court tournament in his professional career. His best performances at the French Open were when he reached the semifinals in 1987, 1989, and 1991. Becker was close to winning a clay court tournament in his last final on a clay court, when he led Thomas Muster by two sets to love in the 1995 Monte Carlo Masters final, and double-faulted on match point in the fourth-set tiebreaker.

Over the course of his career, Becker won 49 singles titles and 15 doubles titles. Besides his six Grand Slam titles, he was also a singles winner in the year-end Masters / ATP Tour World Championships in 1988, 1992, and 1995, the WCT Finals in 1988 and at the Grand Slam Cup in 1996. He won a record-equalling four singles titles at London's Queen's Club. In Davis Cup, his career win-loss record was 54-12, including 38-3 in singles. He also won the other two major international team titles playing for Germany, the Hopman Cup (in 1995) and the World Team Cup (in 1989 and 1998).

Becker won singles titles in 14 different countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Qatar, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States. In 2003, he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He occasionally plays on the senior tour and in World Team Tennis. He is also sometimes a commentator at Wimbledon for the BBC.

Playing style

Becker at Stars & Cars, Stuttgart, 2007

Becker's game was based on a fast and well-placed serve, that earned him the nicknames "Boom Boom",[8] "Der Bomber" and "Baron von Slam", and great volleying skills at the net. He could supplement his pure serve-and-volley game with brilliant athleticism at the net, which included the diving volley that was considered a trademark of the young German, and which endeared him to his fans. His heavy forehand and return of serve were also very significant factors in his game.

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 Becker possessed powerful shots from both wings, this strategy was often criticized by commentators.

Becker had frequent emotional outbursts on court. Whenever he considered himself to be playing badly, he often swore at himself and occasionally smashed his rackets. In 1987, he was fined $2000 following a series of outbursts during the Australian Open in Melbourne, including breaking three rackets, "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."[9][10] Becker's highly dramatic play spawned new expressions such as the Becker Blocker (his trademark early return shot), the Becker Hecht (a flying lunge), the Becker Faust ("Becker Fist"), the Becker Shuffle (the dance he sometimes performed after making important points), and Becker Säge ("Becker Saw" - referring to the way in which he pumped his fists in a sawing motion).

Becker, one of the most effective players in his era on grass courts and carpet courts, had less success on clay. He never won a top-level singles title on clay, coming closest when holding two match points against Thomas Muster in the final of the 1995 Monte Carlo Open. Becker did, however, team up with Michael Stich to win the 1992 men's doubles Olympic gold medal on clay.


Becker played most of his career with racquets from the German company Puma. After production of this racquet was discontinued, he bought the moulds and had them produced by the American company Estusa. He now has his own personal line of racquets and apparel.[11]

Career statistics


  • These records were attained in Open Era of tennis.
  • Records in bold indicate peer-less achievements.
  • ^ Denotes consecutive streak.
Championship Years Record accomplished Player tied
Wimbledon 1985 Youngest Wimbledon champion[12] Stands alone
Wimbledon 1985 Unseeded winner of singles title Goran Ivani?evi?
ATP Tour 1986-96 19 match wins against world No. 1 player[a] Rafael Nadal
ATP Tour 1987-99 10 match wins after trailing 0-2 in sets[19] Aaron Krickstein
Roger Federer
ATP Championship series 1990 4 titles won in a single season Juan Martín del Potro
Stefan Edberg
Stockholm Open 1988, 1990-1991, 1994 4 titles John McEnroe
Milan Indoor 1987, 1989, 1993-1994 4 titles John McEnroe
Brussels Indoor 1990, 1992 2 titles Mats Wilander
Eurocard Open 1990, 1996 2 titles Stefan Edberg
Richard Krajicek

Professional awards

Post-retirement career

Becker photographed by Studio Harcourt

In 2012, Becker described his approach to retirement. "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."[6] Since 2000, Becker has been the principal owner of the tennis division of Völkl Inc.,[20] a tennis racquet and clothing manufacturer. Becker published his autobiography, Augenblick, verweile doch... (en: The Player) in 2003. From October 2005 to June 2006, Becker was a team captain on the British TV sports quiz show They Think It's All Over.

Becker is a noted poker player and has appeared in the European Poker Tour and the World Poker Tour;[21] by 2013 he had won more than EUR90,000 in career earnings from poker.[21]

In May 2009, Becker announced the launch of online media platform Boris Becker TV. The website, in English and German, features clips from his career and footage of his daily life.[22]

Since 2003, Becker has been a commentator for the BBC at Wimbledon. Becker appeared on the second episode of series 16 of the BBC's car show Top Gear as the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car.[23]

Becker is a patron of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.[24]

In December 2013, Novak Djokovic announced on his website that Boris Becker would become his head coach for the 2014 season.[25] As a result, Becker gave up his commentating job with the BBC.[26] In three seasons, Becker contributed to six of Djokovic's 12 grand slam titles and 14 of his 30 Masters 1000 titles he had accomplished at that time. In 2016, Djokovic and Becker parted ways.

On 23 August 2017, Becker was named head of men's tennis of the German Tennis Federation.[27]

As of 2017, Becker is also analysis on Fox Sports Australia's Wimbledon magazine program 'The Daily Serve'


On 21 June 2017, Becker was declared bankrupt by the UK's Bankruptcy and Companies Court.[28][29] The order arose when a long-standing debt owed to the private bank Arbuthnot Latham, for an undisclosed amount, was not paid in full before an assigned deadline and there was no realistic expectation that it would be paid.[30][31]

In June 2018, Becker's lawyers claimed their client had diplomatic immunity in the bankruptcy case due to his appointment as the Central African Republic's (CAR) "Attache for Sports/Humanitarian/Cultural Affairs in the European Union."[32]Charles-Armel Doubane, the CAR's Foreign Minister, countered that Becker was "not an official diplomat for the Central African Republic", that the role of attache for sports "does not exist", and that the CAR passport produced by Becker was one of a batch that had been stolen in 2014.[33]

Personal life

Becker lives in Wimbledon, within walking distance of the championship grounds.[34]

Becker is a fan of German football club Bayern Munich and serves on its advisory board alongside former Bavarian Premier Edmund Stoiber.[]

In addition to Munich, Monaco, and Schwyz, Becker has an apartment in Wimbledon, and possibly still maintains a residence in Miami, to be near his children.[35]

Becker is not related to fellow German professional tennis players Benjamin Becker[36] and Richard Becker.


Becker with Barbara Feltus in 1992

On 17 December 1993, Becker married actress and designer Barbara Feltus. On 18 January 1994, their son Noah Gabriel, named after Becker's friends Yannick Noah and Peter Gabriel, was born. Their second child, Elias Balthasar, was born on 4 September 1999. Before the marriage, they shocked some in Germany by posing nude for the cover of Stern in a picture taken by her father.[]

After Becker asked Barbara for a separation in December 2000, she flew to Miami, Florida, with Noah and Elias and filed a divorce petition in Miami-Dade County Court, sidestepping their prenuptial agreement which had entitled her to a single $2.5 million payoff. Barbara left for Florida after being contacted by a woman claiming to be pregnant with Becker's child. In his autobiography, Becker stated that he admitted to his wife that he had the one night stand with another woman while Barbara was pregnant with their second child. He wrote that Barbara struck him during an argument that occurred after he flew to Florida to meet with her and discuss the break up of their marriage.[37] The pretrial hearing in January 2001 was broadcast live to Germany. Becker was granted a divorce on 15 January 2001.[clarification needed] She received a $14.4 million settlement, their condominium on the exclusive Fisher Island, and custody of Noah and Elias.[]

In February 2001, Becker acknowledged paternity of a daughter, Anna (born 22 March 2000), with Russian model Angela Ermakova. In October 2009, he confirmed media reports that the child was the result of a sexual encounter in 1999 at a London restaurant.[38] He had been out drinking following losing a main draw singles match at the Wimbledon championships, in what had been a comeback to the venue of his greatest success. Becker initially denied paternity, but admitted he was the child's father after a DNA test. In November 2007, he obtained joint custody of Anna after expressing concerns over how her mother was raising her.[39]

Becker was briefly engaged to Alessandra Meyer-Wölden (de) in 2008. Her father, Axel Meyer-Wölden, was Becker's adviser and manager in the 1990s.[40] The couple broke up in November 2008. She later married TV-personality Oliver Pocher.[41]

In February 2009, on the German ZDF TV show Wetten, dass..?, Becker announced that he and Dutch model Sharlely "Lilly" Kerssenberg (de) were to be married on 12 June 2009 in St Moritz, Switzerland.[42][43] In August 2009 they announced that they were expecting a child.[44] In February 2010 their son, Amadeus Benedict Edley Luis Becker, was born in London.[45] The baby is named after Becker's wife's uncle Edley, and his friend, Mexican-Cuban millionaire Luis Garcia Fanjul who is also the child's godfather. In May 2018, Lilly and Boris Becker announced that they had separated after nine years of marriage.[46]

See also


  1. ^ The World No. 1 players who Becker defeated were Ivan Lendl (7 times),[13]Pete Sampras (4 times),[14]Jim Courier and Stefan Edberg (both 3 times),[15][16] and Mats Wilander and Andre Agassi (1 time each).[17][18]


  1. ^ "Boris Becker claims diplomatic immunity in bankruptcy case". BBC News. Retrieved 2018. 
  2. ^ Henley, Jon (19 June 2018). "Boris Becker's diplomatic passport is a fake, says CAR". the Guardian. 
  3. ^ Mills, Eleanor (5 December 1999). "Becker Not quite ready to retire". New Straits Times. Retrieved 2009. 
  4. ^ Green, Nick (6 November 2005). "Boris Becker: 'When I heard they wanted to send me to prison, I thought only of my children. I went home and prayed to God'". The Observer. London. Retrieved 2009. 
  5. ^ "Singles Rankings". ATP World Tour. 
  6. ^ a b "Interview: Boris Becker". The Cambridge Student. 
  7. ^ "Becker Rallies to End Sampras's Streak". New York Times. 28 October 1996. 
  8. ^ Ian Thomsen (2 July 1997). "Boom Boom Leads German Triple Threat". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2008. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Tennis Becker's Tantrum Brings $2,000 Fine, Broken Racket". Sun-Sentinel. Deerfield Beach, FL. 21 January 1987. Retrieved 2018. 
  10. ^ Dillman, Lisa (29 February 1988). "TAUGHT HIM A LESSON: West German Idol Boris Becker Had to Learn a Lot About Life in 1987". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved 2018. 
  11. ^ "Boris Becker Tennis Racquets". Tennis Warehouse. 22 August 2010. Retrieved 2010. 
  12. ^ "Wimbledon - Championships History". Archived from the original on 1 June 2012. Retrieved 2012. 
  13. ^ "Becker-Lendl Head to Head". ATP World Tour. Archived from the original on 12 July 2012. Retrieved 2012. 
  14. ^ "Becker-Sampras Head to Head". ATP World Tour. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 2012. 
  15. ^ "Becker-Courier Head to Head". ATP World Tour. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 2012. 
  16. ^ "Becker-Edberg Head to Head". ATP World Tour. Archived from the original on 3 October 2012. Retrieved 2012. 
  17. ^ "Becker-Wilander Head to Head". ATP World Tour. Archived from the original on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 2012. 
  18. ^ "Becker-Agassi Head to Head". ATP World Tour. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 2012. 
  19. ^ Imhoff, Dan (6 July 2016). "Federer delivers one of his greatest comebacks". Archived from the original on 6 July 2016. Retrieved 2016. 
  20. ^ "Völkl index". 
  21. ^ a b "Boris Becker". Archived from the original on 19 June 2014. 
  22. ^ Off the Baseline Archived 12 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 11 June 2009
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 April 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  24. ^ "Elton John AIDS Foundation patrons". 
  25. ^ "Boris Becker new Head Coach of Novak Djokovic!". Novak Djokovic Official Website. 
  26. ^ "Boris Becker quits BBC role to focus on Djokovic". Bangkok Post. 21 December 2013. 
  27. ^ "DTB puts Boris Becker in charge of men's tennis in Germany". DW.COM. 23 August 2017. Retrieved 2017. 
  28. ^ Sawer, Patrick (21 June 2017). "Tennis champion Boris Becker declared bankrupt". The Daily Telegraph. London. 
  29. ^ "Boris Becker declared bankrupt by British court". CNBC. Retrieved 2017. 
  30. ^ "Wimbledon champion Boris Becker declared bankrupt". BBC News. Retrieved 2017. 
  31. ^ Boris Becker listed in the public Individual Insolvency Register, The Insolvency Service, 21 June 2017.
  32. ^ Noack, Rick (15 June 2018). "Former tennis champion Boris Becker claims diplomatic immunity in bankruptcy case". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2018. 
  33. ^ Henley, Jon (19 June 2018). "Boris Becker's diplomatic passport is a fake, says CAR". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2018. 
  34. ^ Connolly, Kate (10 July 2017). "'Destroyed by his celebrity' - are Germans right about Boris Becker?". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018. 
  35. ^ Moreton, Cole. "Borris Becker: from winner to wild child - and back". The Guardian. London. 
  36. ^ Faulkner, Cynthia (3 September 2006). "Germany's other B. Becker". ESPN Tennis. Retrieved 2013. 
  37. ^ "'She began to hit me like mad'". Daily Mail. London. 25 September 2013. 
  38. ^ Hough, Andrew (15 October 2009). "Boris Becker admits: 'Nobu sex romp with model occurred on stairs'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2010. 
  39. ^ "Tennis Legend Boris Becker Battles for Custody of Daughter". People Magazine. 8 November 2007. Retrieved 2008. 
  40. ^ "Tennis Champ Boris Becker Engaged - Couples". People Magazine. 11 August 2008. Retrieved 2008. 
  41. ^ "Boris Becker serves up another son as wife Lilly gives birth to his fourth child". Daily Mail. London. 11 February 2010. Retrieved 2010. 
  42. ^ "Boris Becker gets engaged, again, on TV game show". Reuters. 1 March 2009. 
  43. ^ McConnell, Donna (14 June 2009). "Newlywed Boris Becker whisks bride off to Swiss mountain resort for reception lunch". Daily Mail. London. 
  44. ^ "Boris Becker: Yes, I'm Going to Be a Dad (Again)". 
  45. ^ "Boris Becker, Wife Welcome a Boy". 
  46. ^ "Boris und Lilly Becker: So hat sich die Trennung angekündigt" (in German). 29 May 2018. Retrieved 2018. 

Further reading

  • Becker, Boris (2005). The Player. London: Bantam. ISBN 0-553-81716-7. 
  • Kaiser, Ulrich; Breskvar, Boris (1987). Boris Becker's Tennis: The Making of a Champion. New York: Leisure Press. ISBN 0-88011-290-5. 

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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