Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Boris Franz Becker (b. November 22 1967 in Leimen , Germany) is a former World No. 1 professional tennis player from Germany. He is a six-time Grand Slam champion, an Olympic Gold Medalist, and the youngest-ever winner of the men's singles title at Wimbledon. Since retiring form the professional tour, colorful aspects of his personal life have often kept him in the headlines.
As a redheaded teenager in 1985, Becker took the tennis world by storm becoming the first unseeded player and the youngest ever male player to win the Wimbledon singles title. He defeated Kevin Curren in the final in four sets. At the time he was Wimbledon's first German champion, and the youngest ever male Grand Slam singles champion at 17 years, 7 months (a record broken four years later by Michael Chang who won the French Open when he was 17 years, 3 months). Becker's game was based on an all-action style and a huge serve that earned him the nickname "Boom Boom". His desire to throw himself at anything and everything with acrobatic diving volleys during his matches particularly endeared him to the crowds. His heavy forehand and powerful return of serve were also very significant factors in his game.
In 1986, Becker successfully defended his Wimbledon title, defeating Ivan Lendl (who was ranked the World No. 1 at the time) in straight sets in the final. Becker unexpectedly lost in the second round of Wimbledon in 1987. But he was back in the final again 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.
1989 was possibly the pinnacle of Becker's career. He defeated Edberg in straight sets in the Wimbledon final, and then went on to beat Lendl in the final of the US Open. He also helped West Germany retain the Davis Cup. However the World No. 1 ranking still eluded him.
In 1990, Becker met Edberg for the third consecutive year in the Wimbledon final, losing in an epic five-set encounter.
Becker reached the final of the Australian Open for the first time in his career in 1991, where he defeated Lendl to finally claim the World No. 1 ranking. He would be ranked No. 1 for several weeks during 1991, though he never managed to finish a year ranked as the World's No. 1 player. Becker reached his fourth consecutive Wimbledon final in 1991, where he unexpectedly lost in straight sets to his German compatriot Michael Stich.
Becker reached the Wimbledon final for the seventh time in 1995, where he lost in four sets to Pete Sampras. His sixth and final Grand Slam title came in 1996, when he defeated Michael Chang in the final of the Australian Open.
Becker was most comfortable playing on fast-playing surfaces, particularly grass courts. He reached a few finals playing on clay, but never won clay court tournament in his professional career. His best performances at the French Open came in reaching the semi-finals in 1987, 1989 and 1991.
Becker finished his career with 49 singles titles and 15 doubles titles. Besides his six Grand Slam titles, he was also a singles winner in the tennis' year-end championships in 1988, 1992 and 1995. He won a record-equalling four singles titles at London's Queen's Club. In the Davis Cup, his career win-loss record was 54-12, including an incredible 38-3 in singles mactches. His career prize earnings totalled $25,080,956.
Grand Slam finals
Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final 1985 Wimbledon Kevin Curren 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 1986 Wimbledon Ivan Lendl 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 1989 Wimbledon Stefan Edberg 6-0, 7-6, 6-4 1989 U.S. Open Ivan Lendl 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 1991 Australian Open Ivan Lendl 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 1996 Australian Open Michael Chang 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2
Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final 1988 Wimbledon Stefan Edberg 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-2 1990 Wimbledon Stefan Edberg 6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4 1991 Wimbledon Michael Stich 6-4, 7-6, 6-4 1995 Wimbledon Pete Sampras 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2
On December 17 1993, Becker married Barbara Feltus, the daughter of an African American serviceman and a white German woman. Before the marriage, they shocked the country by posing nude for the cover of Stern (the picture was taken by her father). After the shock of their coupling faded, Boris and Barbara became the model for a New Germany. Becker gained the respect of his countrymen for his stance against racism and intolerance.
However, all that changed when he asked Barbara for a separation. Becker claims he merely wanted some time out. But, she flew to Miami, Florida, USA, with their sons, Noah and Elias, and filed a petition in Miami-Dade County Court, sidestepping their prenup, which had entitled her to a single $2.5 million payoff. The January 2001 pretrial hearing was broadcast live to Germany. Germans sided with "Babs" as her lawyer made Becker out to be a cad. He was granted a divorce on January 15, 2001; she got a $14.4 million settlement, their Florida condo, and custody of Noah and Elias.
His after-tennis life has been plagued by scandal. On February 8, 2001, DNA results forced him to admit paternity of a daughter, Anna (b. March 22, 2000), by Russian-African model Angela Ermakova. The child was conceived in the cupboard of a London restaurant after a drunken Becker fought with Barbara, who then left; Ermakova was a waitress there. He at first denied paternity, and his lawyers suggested that Ermakova was part of a blackmail plot devised by the Russian Mafia. In July 2001, he agreed to pay her $5 million.
He was convicted of tax evasion on October 24, 2002 when he admitted he lived in Germany from 1991-93 while claiming to reside in the tax haven of Monte Carlo. He was given two years' probation, fined $500,000, and ordered to pay all court costs.
Becker published a tell-all autobiography in November 2003.
- Official ATP Profile
- International Tennis Hall of Fame Profile
- BBC Profile
- Unoffical Site by Alessandro Albiero
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