Tennis365’s Top 10 countdown of the greatest tennis players – No 10: Boris Becker

Kevin Palmer
Boris Becker Wimbledon champion

In a new series to keep spirits up for fans missing the sport we all love, Tennis365 has set on a mission to crown the greatest tennis player of all time using on our very own criteria.

We are basing this countdown using these pointers as a guide:

  • Total Grand Slam titles
  • Other Tour event wins
  • Popularity
  • Legacy

Our ultimate champion is certain to cause plenty of debate, but we start with the champion who came out 10th in our list, the German giant Boris Becker.

BORIS BECKER
Born: November 22nd 1967 in Leimen, Germany
Year Turned Pro: 1984
Grand Slam wins: 6
Australian Open: Winner 1991, 1996
Wimbledon: Winner 1985, 1986, 1989; Finalist 1988, 1990, 1991, 1995
US Open: Winner 1989
Total Tour wins: 49
Win/loss record: 713-214

In so many ways, Boris Becker took the game into the modern era.

As the bulky, raw teenager with an explosive serve crashed through his personal glass ceiling to win his first Tour event at Queen’s Club in 1985, there was an expectation in the tennis community that a new superstar was ready to breakthrough.

Boris Becker diving

A few weeks later, he was Wimbledon champion and the youngest The Championships had seen at 17 years, 227 days.

Boasting a booming serve and an all-court game that was notable for his eagerness to throw himself at the ball life a football goalkeeper, this football-loving German was a fresh and new addition to a tennis world that had been dominated by icons such as John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors in the previous decade.

Now it was the time for some rock and roll tennis and as Becker recalls, his first entrance onto the world stage came as something of shock.

“I didn’t really understand what it all meant when I won Wimbledon back in 1985,” he told Tennis365 at a Sky Sports event. “Sure, I knew I was good at this game but did I know I was ready to win Queens and Wimbledon? Of course not.

Kevin Palmer and Boris Becker

“When you win, everything changes. Everyone knows your name, your are on chat shows all over the world, you have you picture on the front of all the magazines and that is a new world. It is not easy to get used to.”

Becker’s story was a dream for tabloid newspapers around the world as his love life became as much a focus as his sporting exploits, yet he merits a place in out Tennis365 top 10 list courtesy of his huge popularity around the world and his success in taking the sport into a new era of power play and big serving.

How would Becker fare against the game’s modern greats such as Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer? He admits he would relish the chance to find out.

“I would love to have played in this era,” he added. “To play Nadal, to play Federer would have been great. Every top sportsman wants to test himself against the best in whatever he does and clearly, we have some of the greatest players ever to play tennis in the sport right now.

“You want to test your own boundaries, see how good you are. I had some great rivalries in my day. Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe were not too bad at the game and the same goes for Pete Sampras and Andrew Agassi. My great rival at Wimbledon was always Stefan Edberg and overall I’m happy with the career I had, even if I do think there were some titles there for me.

“In many ways, I was lucky to be surrounded by guys who all became successful in their teenage years. Mats Wilander was young, so was Michael Chang and Edberg and they were winning Grand Slam titles in their teenage years. Now, you don’t see teenagers going close in the big tournaments and I don’t see that changing any time soon.”

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