Boris Becker is one of the greatest and most loved champions Wimbledon has ever seen and his fifteen times playing there have thrown up more than a few great moments.
With Wimbledon 2013 fast approaching the three-time winner looked back on his playing career in SW19 and came up with ten of his most vivid memories – GiveMeSport will bring you one of these on each day leading up to the start of the tournament and through the first week.
First up was Becker’s farewell match on Centre Court in 1999, when he decided enough was enough and it would be his last time as a player at tennis’ greatest Grand Slam.
He had already announced he would not be coming back to Wimbledon after losing to Pete Sampras at the quarter-final stage in 1997, but was persuaded to give it another go two years later.
A five-set thriller in the first round against British wild card Miles Maclagan – who went on to coach Andy Murray and, now, Laura Robson - was followed by a terrific straight sets win over number fifteen seed and fellow German Nicolas Kiefer.
Becker made it through to the fourth round with another straight sets victory over rising Australian star Leyton Hewitt, but that was as far as his adventure went.
Number two seed Pat Rafter, another Aussie, was in his pomp and too much for Becker, winning in straight sets.
It was an emotional end for the German, who reached seven finals in all, but he was typically philosophical about it afterwards.
“The last time I retired I was 99 per cent certain it was for good,” he said after the defeat.
“This time it's 100 per cent. I was outplayed. I've been outclassed and that, in a way, makes it easier for me. It's time to go.”
Becker was always a favourite of fans and the media at Wimbledon and he insisted the affection was reciprocated on his part.
“It has been a great love affair – there is nowhere in the world like Wimbledon and nothing to compare with the feeling of going on to Centre Court for the Final.”
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