Tennis Players Who Changed the Game: Boris Becker

R LSenior Analyst IDecember 8, 2008

Boom Boom, Der Bomber, Baron von Slam. Which ever nickname you knew Boris Becker by wasn't of importance. What is of significance is the career of the best German-born player to step onto the tennis court.

His game orbited around a fast, well placed serve. It's these serves that earned him the previously mentioned nicknames. The unusual rocking motion on his serve, combined with a willingness to dive for volleys on any surface brought smiles aplenty to the fans.

Becker also had a strong forehand and a great return of serve to offer. At times, he would try to outhit his opponents from the baseline, rather than using the patented serve and volley.

Remember John McEnroe's outbursts during games? You would see similar displays from Becker. However, unlike McEnroe, the rage didn't assist Becker's performance.

He generally swore at himself after bad plays, and broke a tennis racket here and there. To his credit, he never lashed out at an opponent during these moments.

It was only a year after turning professional in 1984 that Becker had taken the tennis world by awe. He became the first unseeded player and German to win the Wimbledon singles title.

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The title earned him the dignified honor of being the youngest male to ever win a Grand Slam singles title at the age of 17. It wasn't until 1989 that the record was broken by Michael Chang at the French Open.

Becker defeated No. 1 seed Ivan Lendl in the 1986 Wimbledon Final to make it two for two. A third consecutive title deceived him in 1987 after a shocking second round exit.

In a Davis Cup match the same year, the German edged McEnroe in a match that lasted six hours and 39 minutes. Tie breakers weren't held at the time in the tournament, and Becker won 4-6, 15-13, 8-10, 6-2, 6-2.

He fell short at Wimbledon in 1988, losing to Stefan Edberg in the finals. The Swede was responsible for his exit in the 1989 French Open as well, with a semi-final victory.

Nevertheless, it was Becker who defeated Edberg in the Wimbledon Final that season, followed by a triumph over Lendl in the U.S Open Final.

For the second straight year, he helped West Germany score a Davis Cup victory defeating Andre Agassi in the semi-finals. He met Edberg yet again in the Wimbledon Final of 1990. It was a five-setter that Becker couldn't prevail in.

Agassi eliminated him from the U.S Open semi-final to ensure no back-to-back trophies. The Australian Open Final was unfamiliar territory for Becker in 1991. Surprisingly, he took down Lendl to become the World's No. 1 player.

Agassi refreshed his U.S Open win in 1990 with another semi-final display that saw the conclusion of Becker's tournament at the French Open. Boom Boom reached his fourth consecutive Wimbledon Final that year, losing unexpectedly to Michael Stich.

In the 1995 Wimbledon semi-final match, Becker gained some retribution over Agassi with a solid win. A guy named Pete Sampras was awaiting in the finals and brushed Becker aside in four sets.

He earned a final Grand Slam title in 1996 at the Australian Open. Becker defeated Chang and gave a memorable speech following the victory. He listed his sponsors and mentioned that he didn't have the whole day left.

Classily, he concluded by mentioning his days were numbered, and that Chang was still a youngster. Becker was most comfortable playing on fast surfaces, in particular, grass courts.

Although he was the No. 1 player for only 12 weeks, Boris Becker advanced the game of tennis in his own way.

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