Tennis

Boris Becker exclusive: Winning in 1986 was about achieving the impossible goal

Three-times Wimbledon Champion, Boris Becker, told GiveMeSport in an exclusive interview that defending his Wimbledon title in 1986 as an 18-year old was the: "impossible goal," that he set out to achieve.

For those in the tennis world who didn't know who the West German guy from Leimen was in June 1985, a year later they certainly did!

Backing up the hype

After bursting on the scene as a 17-year old with the title at Queens and then Wimbledon, Becker was the talk of the tennis world and backed it up with a third professional title in August when he crushed Mats Wilander at Cincinnati in straight sets leading up to the US Open.

The were suggestions that the German was going to challenge for a second Grand Slam on the hard-courts of Flushing Meadows, however his dogged challenge came to a halt after a battling fourth round loss to Joakim Nystrom.

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Despite the loss it was clear that Becker was backing up the hype, and 1986 saw the then 18-year old, take his game to a whole new level with six professional titles, including the incredible defence of his Wimbledon title.

The former world number one recalled: "I had one of my best years ever (1986), challenging Ivan (Lendl) for the number one spot. Some saw me as the number one player. I felt I was knocking at the throne and I felt if I continued, I would get there."

Pressure defending Wimbledon

Becker's much anticipated grass court season began with a quarter-final loss to Tim Mayotte at Queens, the American going on to take the title the German had won the previous year, however the focus was to defend the crown at SW19 that he had won so spectacularly the year before.

In 1985 there was no expectation and little pressure, in 1986 it was quite the opposite. Defending champion of the most coveted title on offer to a professional tennis player at just 18-years old.

The pressure was immense as Becker recalled.

"It is very difficult to win any title once, but its much more difficult to defend, because obviously the expectations are so high, starting with yourself. Winning a Grand Slam in general is very difficult, to come back the next year as a teenager and defend it was the goal, to do the impossible."

The final

The 18-year old German eased into the final after dropping only two-sets, his opponent, the world number one, Ivan Lendl. The best two players in world tennis went head to head in what was a much anticipated match-up, however Becker destroyed his rival in comprehensive fashion to complete the: "impossible," and defend his title.

"I had a good coaching staff and I was able to produce when it mattered most. It is probably the title I am most proud of," Becker said.

Becker triumphs in the 1986 final

Lendl Becker rivalry

Lendl and Becker enjoyed a fierce rivalry over the years and despite the Czech winning 11 to the German's 10, when it mattered most, in the Grand Slam finals, Becker had the better of his opponent on 3 occasions, Wimbledon '86, the US Open '89 and Australia  in '91. 

Amazingly enough, much like Becker who never won a title on clay, Lendl never won on the grass courts of SW19, despite winning eight Grand Slams and reaching two Wimbledon finals.

However that wasn't Becker's greets rival, Edberg was.

Topics:
ATP World Tour Finals
Boris Becker
Tennis
Wimbledon

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