Becker vs Wilander and Edberg in Matches

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by McEnroeisanartist, Feb 14, 2014.

  1. McEnroeisanartist

    McEnroeisanartist Hall of Fame

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    Just noticed that Becker was a combined 31-7 against Wilander and Edberg in non-Grand Slam matches, but 1-6 against them in Grand Slam matches.
     
  2. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Hall of Fame

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    That's odd. You saying Becker more apt to choke in big matches?
     
  3. NonP

    NonP Professional

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    This is yet another example of numbers not telling the entire story. A little more context:

    - When you talk about big matches in the '80s you simply can't ignore those at Davis Cup, especially between these Europeans who took their DC duties very seriously. Here Becker was utterly dominant, winning all of their encounters (think 5 in total) even on clay in the '88 finals against Edberg and particularly in next year's finals (on carpet) where he demolished both Wilander and Edberg and almost single-handedly handed Germany her 2nd DC trophy. (In fact I'd say even Pete or Fed would have to be at the absolute top of his game to have a good chance against Becker of the '89 finals.)

    - Much of Becker's seemingly poor records at the majors can be attributed to just plain bad luck. For example 2 of his 3 losses to Mats came at RG where the Swede was the obvious favorite. And this was also when Becker began having his off-court problems with booze and drugs--if we're to believe Becker (and I do take him at his word here as he wasn't necessarily trying to make an excuse) he took a little too many sleeping pills the night before his '90 final against Edberg, which explains why he had such a slow start in this match.

    So it's not really Becker "choking" against his rivals that explains his major H2Hs. On the contrary his records against the top 10 and his fellow No. 1 contemporaries, as can be seen from the OP's first collective H2H, are truly impressive, on par with the likes of Borg, Lendl, Pete, Fed and Rafa.

    I'd elaborate on this a little further, but then another dissertation would be necessary. :) Maybe next time.
     
  4. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Yeah, you can't ignore Davis Cup. Becker was 25-10 vs. Edberg. Edberg was 3-1 vs. Becker in Slams, and also won the Masters (today's YEC) final over him, so 4-1 in the biggest events. Two of Becker's 4 Slam/Master's losses were in 5 sets. But, add Becker's Davis Cup wins, and it's either 4-3 Edberg in the most important/biggest events or they're tied 4-4 (not sure if Becker beat Edberg twice or three times in DC). Not sure I'd say any of Becker's losses were unlucky though.

    And, as pointed out, the two Wilander Slam matchups were on clay, so no surprise.

    What surprises me most is the small number of times that Becker played Edberg or Wilander in Slams. They were, for the most part, contemporaries, part of the same generation. Wilander kind of went away prematurely and was a little older, but still, only two Slam matches? And, Becker and Edberg overlapped for 10 years 1985-1994, so only 4 Slam matches surprises me. There was more parity, and only 16 seeds for a good stretch of that time (so better chance of one of them getting upset early), so I'm not expecting 10 or more Slam matches, but it seems like they should have played at least 6 or 7.
     
  5. NonP

    NonP Professional

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    When I say Becker was unlucky I certainly don't mean to deny Wilander and Edberg full credit for their wins. I was only trying to provide more context, to explain why Becker's losses can't be just chalked up to his "choking."

    BTW Becker and Wilander did meet one more time at the majors, in the '90 AO QF which Mats took in straight sets. Not the best start of the year for Boris. :)
     
  6. Blocker

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    He owned Lendl in nearly every big match they played, except two WTF finals.
     
  7. andreh

    andreh Professional

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    Becker won enough big matches in his career to prove he was not a choker. The head-to-heads against the swedes are a bit of a mystery, though. Always an interesting discussion.
     
  8. fezer

    fezer New User

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    the becker/wilander/edberg debate is really interesting and a very tough nut to crack. i respect any opinion about the trio, beause there are very good reasons for any of them.

    1) wilander
    - has 7 major titles under his belt
    - has the most dominant year 1988
    - never lost a set vs becker in a gsmatch, and oftentimes beat edberg in gsmatches
    - i think he has a wimby title in doubles
    - has major titles on every surface
    - best brain of the 3

    2) edberg
    - most weeks at no1
    - no1 singles and doubles
    - reached finals in every gs
    - most stylish player of the 3

    3) becker
    - most titles
    - pos h2h vs edberg & wilander
    - most masters/yec/wtf titles and finals as the next category
    - most gs finals (not sure)
    - beat edberg and wilander in all dcmatches and edberg/jarryd (world no1) in both dc doubles
    - best in longevity (1985 wimby - 1996 ao)
    - most powerful of the 3

    as a fan i give becker a slight egde over wilander and edberg, but i dont mind anybody thinking differently. and when i think about the trio now becker's carreer still seems to be somewhat unfinished, because ha had everything to play a role in the goat-discussion. whereas wilander and edberg fulfilled expectations.

    overall it shows how interesting tennis was in 80s and 90s with very different kinds of players/styles/surfaces. that created a mix which was very unique.
    today rather boring when you watch a rgmatch nadal vs berdych with the same result as a wimbymatch nadal vs berdych.
     
  9. andreh

    andreh Professional

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    ^^ Edberg has most GS finals -- 11 to 10 compared to Becker, I Believe, 6 wins for both. Don't know about Wilander but I believe it's less than Edberg in terms of finals reached. Edberg also has more quarterfinals than Becker, but the same no. of SFs. I believe Becker was ousted before his seeding more often than Edberg, if memory serves. Edge to Edberg for me, due to greater ranking consistancy and more consistant GS record. When Edberg and Becker were both at their best, Edberg was better against the field, even if perhaps he wasn't against Becker himself. Wilander died out too early but was superior in 1988 and very strong prior to that as well.

    I saw an inteview with Wilander and he was asked when he lost motivation. He answered, the day after I became no. 1. Intersting.

    Other things of interst:

    Becker may have beaten Wilander and Edberg in their individual DC matches, but both Edberg and Wilander have more DC titles. Not irrelevant, since DC is a team event.

    Edberg won 3 clay court titles, Becker none. Wilander won many, of course including 3 FOs, and he won the AO on grass, his weakest Surface. So both Edberg and Wilander were better than Becker on their respective weakest surface. Edberg also edges Becker in 5-set matches 2-1, in addition to the 3-1 GS and 1-0 YEC finals.

    Wilander never won the YEC but I believe he reached the final in 1987.

    If doubles merit Counts and are weighted the same as singles, then Edberg wins easily.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014
  10. fezer

    fezer New User

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    thank you for correcting me in gs finals. edberg has the edge 11-10.
    doubles merits count for me, no doubt, because it is part of the sport. and of course edberg has the better results by far - no doubt. thats why i pointed that out. but becker never had a partner like alltime doubles great anders jarryd, and he never laid that much focus on doubles, because his game was more physical consuming. but in dc match becker was able to totally crush edberg/jarryd alongside with eric jelen (remember him?) on swedish soil. on german soil edberg skipped the doubles...
    interesting: becker has an olympic gold medal in doubles (yes edberg won the la tournament in 84 when it was not officially part of the olympics)
    it is no wonder that edberg and wilander won more davis cup titles, because they always had ateam consisting of top10 or even top5 players. nevertheless they lost vs gemany in 88 on clay with dominant player wilander and in 89 with crownde indoors champ edberg. for me the davis cup point goes to becker - easily. even in the 85 final (that germany lost) becker beat wilander and edberg - both swedish players were ranked above becker.
    to set the 'major' or best of five matches record straight: in 88 becker won the wct dallas final vs edberg. nobody took that match into consideration. during the 80s the dallas event was considered as a 'major' title by many tennis experts. neither wilander nor edberg could win the title there.
    and finally: yes edberg won the 89 yec final, certainly a big win for edberg, but if you lay such weight on that win, it should also be mentioned that edberg was beaten by becker at that event on earlier stages several times.
    as i said before: i dont mind anybody ranking edberg over becker, because there are reasons for that. but easily?
     
  11. Edburger

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    Edberg has far superior GS record to Becker, I believe. Same number of titles, but more finals, semi finals and quarter finals (on greater variety of surfaces). Also superior GS head to head.

    Edberg, he not very much care about non-GS tournaments.
     
  12. Vensai

    Vensai Professional

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    As mentioned, you should also take into account their Davis Cup matches, which were fairly important back then compared to now.
     
  13. fezer

    fezer New User

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    you can call edbergs gs record superior to beckers, because the swede had 1(!) final more and i think 3 qf - but far superior? i think the numbers are pretty much the same.
    greater variety of surfaces? definitely not! 4 titles on grass, 2 on us fast hc compared to beckers 3 titles on grass, 1 on us fast, 2 on australian slow hc. of course edberg has the rg final, but no sf, becker reached sf 3 times.
    edberg won his australian titles vs a mid 80s depleted field. yes it was depleted. in 85 edberg had a BYE in the first round.
    its a matter of perspective, you can call edbergs record superior, but i give becker a very slight edge, because he has more wimbledon titles - that still is the ultimate tennis achievement.
     
  14. Edburger

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    I think, Edberg still clear better than Becker GS. H2H and record.

    If Edberg not injure back, win several more slams.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
  15. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    for a while, Becker vs Edberg was a former version of Nadal vs Federer.It slowly changed.
     
  16. andreh

    andreh Professional

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    I meant to say that only if doubles merits counts with the same weight as singles would Edberg be ahead "easily". That would put Edberg at 9 slams + additional weeks at no. 1 and a few GS runner-ups. If only singles, I'd still say Edberg but with far less margin.

    It's a bit troublesome with doubles merits. Do they Count or not? I see people give doubles credits in these debates to McEnroe, elevating him in the standings relative to others. If they count for Mac, then surely they must also count for Edberg and that would put him ahead of Wilander and Becker. I guess the difference is if one is talking about "who was the best tennis player?" versus "who was the best singles tennis player?"

    Edberg's (and Wilander's) AO titles are sometimes mentioned as being worth less because they were Kooyong Era (although, Wilander has 1 Flinder's park), but I disagree. In 1985 and 1987 at least, the fields were comparable at the top to later editions. I don't know the draw for 1983 and 1984 when Wilander won. The only reason I can Think of is that it was 96 draw and that the top players got a BYE in the first round. How much that matters is up for debate, I guess. In 1985 Edberg beat Lendl in the semi and Wilander in the final, in 1987 he beat Cash in the final. Not bad at all.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
  17. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Becker 10, Edberg and Wilander 7 as far as majors concerns.

    I give Becker the clear carpet dominion, Wilander on clay and Edberg a bit more than Becker on grass.As for hard courts, the three are evened out.
     
  18. Blocker

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    Wilander was the kind of player who would get crunched in a match and 2 weeks later play the same player in a slam and win, then 3 weeks later play the same player in a lesser tournament and get crunched again. He had this uncanny nack of beating his rivals more often than not in slam matches.
     
  19. reversef

    reversef Hall of Fame

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    Wilander has 11 GS finals. He lost four of them: AO 1985 or 1986, FO 1983, FO 1987, USO 1987.
    To answer another post, I don't know what the draw was exactly, but for his AO 1983 title, he beat McEnroe in the semi-finals and Lendl in the finals. In AO 1984, he beat Kevin Curren in the finals (Curren had beaten Lendl). So, I guess the draws were not that poor.
     
  20. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Edberg and Becker have fairly similar resumes.

    Slam wins - finals - SFs - QFs - overall titles

    Edberg 6-5-8-6-45

    Becker 6-4-8-5-49

    There's really nothing between them. This thread has become, "who had the better career), which I don't think was really the intent.

    Regardless, in Becker's favor, he has the dominant h2h (but fairly equal in the biggest events), and he has more titles.

    Edberg has many more weeks at No. 1, finals of all Slams, titles on all surfaces (still can't believe Becker never won a clay title; he could be good on clay).

    Do we hold Edberg's pre-Melbourne Park AO's against him? The AO was not as big of a deal and the quality generally wasn't what it was today. BUT, the years right before it moved, especially 1985 and 1987 when Edberg won, the fields were pretty high quality. Maybe not as good as the modern AO, but far better than the AO-as-afterthought years when few top players attended. Edberg himself has to beat Lendl and Wilander to win the title in 1985. McEnroe, Becker, Nystrom, Mayotte, Leconte were among other seeds. 1987 had Lendl, Edberg, Becker, Leconte, Mecir, Noah, Curren, Cash among he seeds. Edberg beat Cash in the final.

    Becker and Edberg have pretty similar careers overall.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
  21. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Wilander is certainly the best of terms of his tennis mentality, and his overall strategic game. His game required a lot of intense mental focus, due to the fact that he didn't have a cruise game to fall back on. I have a feeling that Wilander, if he wanted something badly enough, would get it. Often struggled with motivation in smaller tournaments and the daily grind of the tour.

    Becker has the best cruise game, a big powerful, naturally talented game, which he could raise to ridiculous heights at his best. I also think that Becker would seek inspiration from the occasion, and if he found it, would be an extremely hard nut to crack.

    Edberg's game depended a lot on his movement, speed and timing of his volleys. Edberg needed these things to be clicking well if he was to play well, and he usually did it very consistently. He is the most consistent of the three.

    Wilander = Brain
    Becker = Power
    Edberg = Movement
     
  22. reversef

    reversef Hall of Fame

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    Great post. You summed it up perfectly.
     
  23. juan guzman

    juan guzman Rookie

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    Becker was also a great big match player. His record in Davis Cup of 38-3 beating Edberg Wilander Mc Enroe Agassi among others is awesome.

    Besides his record against top tenners is 121-65 which is among top 3 Open Era. Better than Sampras Agassi Lendl and even Federer at this stage. Edberg is 96-114 and Wilander is 54-54 against top tenners.Figures dont lie. Becker reached 8 End of the Year Masters finals too.
     
  24. juan guzman

    juan guzman Rookie

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    Boris Becker has better carrer percentage than Edberg.Better at the masters Grand Slams,Davis Cup Head to Head etc.

    Becker against top tenners 121 65
    Edberg 97-114
    Edbergs Carrer,
    806 270 .749 % 41 titles.
    Grand Slams 178 47 .791 %Slams

    Becker,

    713 214 .769% 49 titles
    Grand Slams 163 40 .803 %


    He won 13 atp super 9s Edberg 8 and Wilander also 8.

    Being more weeks number 1 is not that relevant.If so Kuerten and Hewitt would be better than Becker.
     
  25. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Juan, I fully agree with you.Boris was a true legend as I recall him.
     
  26. Edburger

    Edburger Rookie

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    Becker, padded stats outside Grand Slams.

    Edberg has better record where it counts.
     
  27. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Becker clearly ahead of Edberg and Wilander in terms of tennis achievement

    What a lot of people don't include was Beckers vastly superior record indoor to both of them. Indoor tennis was a big part of tennis in the 1980's and 1990's.

    Becker won 4 or 5 Indoor majors (depending on whether you count the Grand Slam cup) vs 1 for Edberg and zero for Wilander. He also won 13 Masters 1000 equivalents - as opposed to 8 each for Wilander/Edberg.

    If you just look at all the events that (in today's reckoning and weightings) have 1000 points or more - Becker is clearly ahead:

    (Slams x 2000) + (Season end finals x 1400) + (Slam finalist x 1200) + (Masters 1000 equivalents x 1000) - note: I couldn't remember if Becker/Edberg were unbeaten winners of season end finals - so 1400 is halfway between 1500 and 1300 - so not much out.

    Becker = (6 x 2000) + ((3 + 1) x 1400)) + (4 x 1200) + (13 x 1000) = 3540

    Edberg = (6 x 2000) + (1 x 1400) + (5 x 1200) + (8 x 1000) = 2740

    Wilander = (7 x 2000) + (0 x 1400) + (4 x 1200) + (8 x 1000) = 2680

    I have no idea why an earlier poster said that Edberg was ahead 2-1 in best of 5 set matches. The actual result is 9-5 in Becker's favour.

    So it seems very clear having Becker ahead of those other two.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
  28. Edburger

    Edburger Rookie

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    That is flawed reasoning. Back in 80s, early 90s, Masters 1000 equivalents not as important as today.

    Edberg, non slam tournaments just way to pay bills. He much different player at majors.
     
  29. juan guzman

    juan guzman Rookie

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    Super 9s and the Year End Masters were much bigger in the 80s and 90s than now.

    Flawed reasoning?timnz and kiki and the undersigned gave good reasons why Becker had a better carrer than Edberg.Figures dont lie.Besides Australian Opens of 1985 and 1987 are minors if you compare the same with the Australian Opens won by Becker in 91 and 96.The top seeds even had a bye in first round in Australian 85 and 87.
     
  30. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    I'd argue that Edberg also took the Masters, WCT finals and the Davis Cup seriously. On those combined he is 1-4 against Becker.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
  31. Edburger

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    Of course you would, it suit your argument. ;)

    In those days, Masters and WCT were just normal tournaments with big cheques. Edberg was all about slams. That, best way to judge.
     
  32. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

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    And doesn't this suit your argument ? :)
     
  33. Edburger

    Edburger Rookie

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    Difference being, I am correct. ;)
     
  34. juan guzman

    juan guzman Rookie

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    When Edberg lost in Chile in 85 to Hans Gildemeister playing for Sweden in Davis Cup he was crying after he lost the match. So not only Slams were important for Edberg;-)
     
  35. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    I have done a survey of the players attitudes about the Masters/WTF over the years. I have posted it in one of my threads last year. Actually it is the opposite of what you say....they pretty much saw it nearly level with a major.

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=7759931&postcount=1
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
  36. Vensai

    Vensai Professional

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    They're all rather close in achievements.
    I'm certain I'd rank Wilander and Becker above Edberg though.
     
  37. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

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    Not necessarily. How do we know that Edberg didn't take DC seriously ? DC was very big during the 80's, esp. among the European countries (where it is still very big).

    The DC matches between those guys were big matches.
     
  38. andreh

    andreh Professional

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    Needless to say, they are all so close it comes down to subjective emphasis of different merits depending on who one wants to be best. If Edberg is your fave then weeks at number one is important, if Becker is your favorite then various tournament wins and h2h is more important and if Wilander is your favorite then his extra gs title is more important. Etc... :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
  39. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    How do you know this?

    Besides, how would that help in a comparative of analysis careers? How does "not caring" (not that I think that was actually the case with Edberg) improve the argument? Player A has more Masters than player B, but we're not supposed to note that because player B "didn't care." That's ridiculous. You can't get credit for what you don't do, so whether a player "doesn't care," skips tournaments, or misses tournaments involuntarily, that doesn't aid their case in a comparative analysis.

    That said, I think Edberg fully cared and was focused on Masters and the WTC, and was not just "all about the Slams." So, he didn't win as much as Becker. So, some people think Becker is the overall greater player. Doesn't diminish what Edberg actually did. He's still one of the greats.
     
  40. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Sorry, you are totally clueless.

    Edberg was a superb player and one of the best for years; but Becker outweigthed him far away in many metrics.it was said back then that you enjoyed Edberg while you feared Becker.

    Anyway, both could be ultradominant, look at Edberg at the 1991 and 1992 USO and Becker at the 1985 and 1986 Wimbledons for instance.Their big time rivalry is a bit underrated IMO, just like the one with Lendl and Wilander.
     
  41. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Hans beat the swede???
     
  42. juan guzman

    juan guzman Rookie

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    Yes He was 53 or something on the Atp Tour Rankings and Edberg 13 I beleive.6-3 2-6 6-4-7-5.It was the first singles match for Edberg in Davis Cup. Hans beat Vilas, Clerc and was a Davis Cup hero playing for Chile.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtAMNgCNfYo

    Enjoy Kiki the above from YouTube.
     
  43. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yes, he was very good when DC was at stake.I have vivid reminds of him.He and Gomez were one of my favourite doubles teams, a pitty they couldn´t play longer.
     
  44. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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  45. fezer

    fezer New User

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    hans playing with a wooden racket? edberg already with a more modern one?
     
  46. juan guzman

    juan guzman Rookie

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    Its true and incredible a la Connors with an old racket:)

    No problem Moose Malloy;-)
     
  47. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    It is also astounding how many great chilean players for a relatively small country¡¡¡ Ayala,Pato Rodriguez,Cornejo,Fillol,Gildemeister,Acuña,Rios,Gonzalez,Massu
     
  48. Boom-Boom

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    Fully agreed.

    3 WTFs titles and 5 additional WTFs (!!) finalist spot is a huge differentiator in favor of Becker compared to only 1 final for Wilander and 1 title + 1 final for Edberg.

    I mean come on a guy who's been a finalist in 8 WTF's, the most difficult tournament in the world against the 8 best players of the year is way ahead guys who have only been there once or twice !!!

    Especially with 11 years between Becker's first WTF final (1985) and his last (1996) which is a huge achievement.

    In that respect only Lendl has been to more WTF finals (9) Becker being currently tied at 8 with Federer and above Sampras (6).

    That's for me the clear and obvious reason why Becker is a legend of the game >> Edberg & Wilander.
     
  49. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    1988 WCT FINALS:
    Becker in four
     
  50. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    I didn't think the question the OP presented was "who's better or greater" but simply why Becker had a clear (even dominant the case of Edberg) winning h2h against Wilander and Edberg outside of the biggest events, but within the biggest events, he had a losing record, an even record, or at least a much less dominant record (depending on what you include as "biggest" events).

    I actually don't think there's much of a clear reason. Many of those big event losses to Wilander and Edberg could have gone the other way with becker winning. And, even if you think Becker is better or greater, it's not like we're talking about two average opponents. It's Wilander and Edberg for goodness sake. Yes, they have losing h2hs vs. Becker, but obviously they are great players in their own right and clearly had the ability to beat Becker on any given day. So happens that those "given days" happened to come on big stages.

    And Becker had a lot of indoor wins over Edberg (including some DC beatdowns), which helps explain somewhat his big overall h2h. I mean, Edberg was excellent indoors as well, but Becker may be among the best ever.
     

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