17-Year-Old Becker Came Close To Losing At 1985 Wimbledon...

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Bionic Poster
He was on the brink of elimination in the third round against seventh seed Joakim Nystrom, who had recently made the Roland Garros quarter-finals. It was the 22-year-old’s fourth appearance in The Championships, and he rallied from two sets to one down against Becker to serve for the match at 5-4 in the fifth and again at 6-5.

Said Nystrom: "At Wimbledon, I played the best grass court match of my life. He still beat me.”

He also said: "“He won’t win Wimbledon, not this year.”

 

buscemi

Hall of Fame
3rd round: Nystrom served for the match twice in the fifth set at 5-4 and 6-5, with Becker eventually winning 9-7.
4th round: Becker was down 2-1 in sets and tweaked his ankle badly enough in the fourth set to want to quit, but Ioan Tiriac wouldn't let him. At either 5-4 or 6-5, Mayotte was three points away from victory. In the fourth set tiebreaker, it was 5-5 when Becker got away w/a framed half volley to win the point. He eventually won in 5 sets.
QF: Four set win over Leconte. They split the first two sets, with Becker winning the first set in a 9-7 tiebreaker. Not sure if Leconte had set points in the first set.
SF: Jarryd was up 6-2, 5-4 and had 2 set points on his serve before Becker broke back and took the second set in a tiebreaker and then the match in 4 sets.
F: It was one set apiece, and then Curren broke Becker to go up 4-3 in the third set. But Becker broke back, took the set in a tiebreaker, and then took the match in the fourth set.

Pretty incredible that a 17 year-old was able to make it through all of that.
 

MeatTornado

Legend
17-year-old Wimbledon champion... Just unreal. Hard to imagine anyone breaking this record anytime soon.
The level of skill required to do it today would be so off the charts it's hard to even picture. A true prodigy who just straight up doesn't miss. Because physically with today's slow courts it's almost impossible for a 17 year old to come in in better shape than guys in their 20s and beat them in a physical way. The talent required to compensate for that gap is almost unthinkable. Not even a 17 year old Rafa was able to enter the game and beat people like that (and the game has slowed down even more since then). So in order to beat peak athletes, this hypothetical kid would probably have to possess the skills of a peak Federer or Laver and then some.

Becker was able to capitalize with a huge serve during a transition era of equipment. There would have to be something like that again to open the door for a teenager today.
 

stringertom

Bionic Poster
Nadal came close.... was only a year and 4 months older than Becker when he won RG in 2005. Probably could have won it in 2004 if not for injury (hic!)

Borg - Becker - Nadal - the greatest teenagers of the Open Era.
No love for Mats? He won slams on clay and grass as a teenager and is still the youngest to win 3 slams (20 years, 4 months). His RG’82 run to the title as an unseeded player required him to beat seeds 2 thru 5.
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
The level of skill required to do it today would be so off the charts it's hard to even picture. A true prodigy who just straight up doesn't miss. Because physically with today's slow courts it's almost impossible for a 17 year old to come in in better shape than guys in their 20s and beat them in a physical way. The talent required to compensate for that gap is almost unthinkable. Not even a 17 year old Rafa was able to enter the game and beat people like that (and the game has slowed down even more since then). So in order to beat peak athletes, this hypothetical kid would probably have to possess the skills of a peak Federer or Laver and then some.

Becker was able to capitalize with a huge serve during a transition era of equipment. There would have to be something like that again to open the door for a teenager today.
Becker, Nadal, Borg, these guys were physical freaks from the time they were in diapers. These guys are just a different class of athlete than anyone playing today. Yeah, if they have to go against peak ATG, then their extreme youth might play against them, but no one on tour today is coming within a country mile of those guys athletically and physically. Surely you don't doubt that 18 year old 05 Rafa would be massacring everyone on clay today.

I have no doubt the versions of those guys that won the infant age slams (can throw Chang in there too) would be running the current crop of geriatric and mugs fully into the ground physically. Obviously Becker was prone to the upset and clearly inexperienced and what not, but I don't really see the fact that he's 17 working against him physically because he's so much more physically gifted than any of the 20-some year olds today. 18 year old becker who was much more consistent would blow people off the court at Wimbledon if he grew up today).

Look at this build and now look at the builds of the "young guns". No comparison whatsoever. Those guys' legs are a joke compared to this. When the genetics are this superior, age just doesn't matter. Obviously no one is denying that Becker had a better serve and racket skills on top of that too.

 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
3rd round: Nystrom served for the match twice in the fifth set at 5-4 and 6-5, with Becker eventually winning 9-7.
4th round: Becker was down 2-1 in sets and tweaked his ankle badly enough in the fourth set to want to quit, but Ioan Tiriac wouldn't let him. At either 5-4 or 6-5, Mayotte was three points away from victory. In the fourth set tiebreaker, it was 5-5 when Becker got away w/a framed half volley to win the point. He eventually won in 5 sets.
QF: Four set win over Leconte. They split the first two sets, with Becker winning the first set in a 9-7 tiebreaker. Not sure if Leconte had set points in the first set.
SF: Jarryd was up 6-2, 5-4 and had 2 set points on his serve before Becker broke back and took the second set in a tiebreaker and then the match in 4 sets.
F: It was one set apiece, and then Curren broke Becker to go up 4-3 in the third set. But Becker broke back, took the set in a tiebreaker, and then took the match in the fourth set.

Pretty incredible that a 17 year-old was able to make it through all of that.
Damn this is GOATY af :-D8-B
 

jorjipy

Rookie
People forget that a few months later at the US OPEN, Nystrom got his revenge and beat Becker to prevent a Becker - McEnroe clash that CBS programmed to broadcast in prime time ( tennis on a network station in prime time was unheard of, that’s how much interest there was in that match) ......instead they were stuck with a squib of a match on prime time where McEnroe dismissed Nystrom with ease.
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
People forget that a few months later at the US OPEN, Nystrom got his revenge and beat Becker to prevent a Becker - McEnroe clash that CBS programmed to broadcast in prime time ( tennis on a network station in prime time was unheard of, that’s how much interest there was in that match) ......instead they were stuck with a squib of a match on prime time where McEnroe dismissed Nystrom with ease.
Oh tennis :)
 

terribleIVAN

Hall of Fame
Becker was obsessed with Mc Enroe and disrespecting just about everyone like his idol did.

When he won the USO title against Lendl with a net cord fluke in the fifth set, rather than apologizing, he makes a triumph celebration in the middle of the court.

A far cry from young Wilander who proposes to replay the match point vs Clerc in the 1982 RG semi final because of an erroneous call in his favor.
 

ChrisRF

Hall of Fame
Becker was obsessed with Mc Enroe and disrespecting just about everyone like his idol did.

When he won the USO title against Lendl with a net cord fluke in the fifth set, rather than apologizing, he makes a triumph celebration in the middle of the court.

A far cry from young Wilander who proposes to replay the match point vs Clerc in the 1982 RG semi final because of an erroneous call in his favor.
Surely you mean the 1988 WTF final (because their US Open final ended in 4 sets and not with a net cord winner). Then I have 2 things to say:

1) Lendl won an earlier WTF final between these two in exactly the same fashion, with a net cord winner (albeit in 3 sets)

2) Earlier in that 1988 final it was always Lendl who was lucky with about everything. This final turn of luck on Becker’s side was only fair.
 

Fedinkum

Legend
Becker was obsessed with Mc Enroe and disrespecting just about everyone like his idol did.

When he won the USO title against Lendl with a net cord fluke in the fifth set, rather than apologizing, he makes a triumph celebration in the middle of the court.

A far cry from young Wilander who proposes to replay the match point vs Clerc in the 1982 RG semi final because of an erroneous call in his favor.
I remember the exchange of handshake at the end was cold...sub zero cold. That match was incredible though, drama and quality wise. One of the best 80s contest.

They were definitely rivals in every sense.
 

zagor

Bionic Poster
There's a big difference between the 19 year old Nadal that won RG in 2005 and the 17 year version from 1-2 years earlier.
Nadal had to skip 2004 FO because of injury, he could have won it for all we know.

Maybe not already at 17 but young Becker would be an absolute terror for the current tour. He was overall one of the most gifted players of the sports history.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
Surely you don't doubt that 18 year old 05 Rafa would be massacring everyone on clay today.
First of all, Don't call me Shirley. ;)

For men it's all about the balance of physical maturity vs the youthful thing of being able to run around all day and then not be tired the next day. There is such a massive difference in the age of puberty that some boys are still growing into their adult bodies at age 23 or so, while others already grow a full beard by age 15 and have that same adult body by age 17 or 18. There is no reason why that can't happen now. We just think it's impossible now because it has not happened in years. And maybe it is now impossible that someone so young already has a completely mature body and tennis game, but as you say 18 year old Rafa would still be killing everyone right now.
 

terribleIVAN

Hall of Fame
I remember the exchange of handshake at the end was cold...sub zero cold. That match was incredible though, drama and quality wise. One of the best 80s contest.

They were definitely rivals in every sense.
Becker was very gifted, but proved himself a headcase, right from the start. No wonder he idolized another headcase in Mac.

I absolutely loved how Pete shut him up at his "home" (wimbledon) while being a gentleman on the court. Taught the bully a good lesson.

And no surprise either in seeing how his private life turned out afterwards.
 

Fedinkum

Legend
Becker was very gifted, but proved himself a headcase, right from the start. No wonder he idolized another headcase in Mac.

I absolutely loved how Pete shut him up at his "home" (wimbledon) while being a gentleman on the court. Taught the bully a good lesson.

And no surprise either in seeing how his private life turned out afterwards.
I was a big fan of Becker’s playing style but I agreed he was a bit of a head case, and certainly his private life was proven to be a real mess.

Interestingly, people often bring up Ivan’s affair with his then very very young wife, but in the end, the Lendl marriage appears to be a solid and flourishing one. Such is Life.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Becker, Nadal, Borg, these guys were physical freaks from the time they were in diapers. These guys are just a different class of athlete than anyone playing today. Yeah, if they have to go against peak ATG, then their extreme youth might play against them, but no one on tour today is coming within a country mile of those guys athletically and physically. Surely you don't doubt that 18 year old 05 Rafa would be massacring everyone on clay today.

I have no doubt the versions of those guys that won the infant age slams (can throw Chang in there too) would be running the current crop of geriatric and mugs fully into the ground physically. Obviously Becker was prone to the upset and clearly inexperienced and what not, but I don't really see the fact that he's 17 working against him physically because he's so much more physically gifted than any of the 20-some year olds today. 18 year old becker who was much more consistent would blow people off the court at Wimbledon if he grew up today).

Look at this build and now look at the builds of the "young guns". No comparison whatsoever. Those guys' legs are a joke compared to this. When the genetics are this superior, age just doesn't matter. Obviously no one is denying that Becker had a better serve and racket skills on top of that too.

German engineering.
 

Fedinkum

Legend
...Look at this build and now look at the builds of the "young guns". No comparison whatsoever. Those guys' legs are a joke compared to this. When the genetics are this superior, age just doesn't matter. Obviously no one is denying that Becker had a better serve and racket skills on top of that too.

I remember Becker’s former coach, Günther Bosch, said in his Boris biography that they did various body measuring tests for Becker and Steffi while they were teen. They knew Becker was going to be a big boy, so he encouraged Becker to be a serve volleyer during his time as Becker’s coach.

Unrelated Trivia: Steffi’s physical measuring test suggested she had an amazing lung capacity that would rival a 400m runner. She was a born athlete.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Nadal came close.... was only a year and 4 months older than Becker when he won RG in 2005. Probably could have won it in 2004 if not for injury (hic!)

Borg - Becker - Nadal - the greatest teenagers of the Open Era.
Wilander too.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
The level of skill required to do it today would be so off the charts it's hard to even picture. A true prodigy who just straight up doesn't miss. Because physically with today's slow courts it's almost impossible for a 17 year old to come in in better shape than guys in their 20s and beat them in a physical way. The talent required to compensate for that gap is almost unthinkable. Not even a 17 year old Rafa was able to enter the game and beat people like that (and the game has slowed down even more since then). So in order to beat peak athletes, this hypothetical kid would probably have to possess the skills of a peak Federer or Laver and then some.

Becker was able to capitalize with a huge serve during a transition era of equipment. There would have to be something like that again to open the door for a teenager today.
Didn't Wilander win RG at 18 years of age beating 4 top 10 players? It seems like physically he was fine.
 

Red Rick

Talk Tennis Guru
I don't think that was it. 17-year olds weren't really getting anywhere close to a Wimbledon win like Becker even if it's true that competition did improve.
Wasn't the mid 80s when they all went from wood to graphite sticks?

Anyway Chang won his only Slam in the late 80s as well.

When's the last time a 17 year old did anything of note on Tour? Nadal made a Wimbly 3rd round way back in 2003 and that's about it.
 
Wasn't the mid 80s when they all went from wood to graphite sticks?

Anyway Chang won his only Slam in the late 80s as well.

When's the last time a 17 year old did anything of note on Tour? Nadal made a Wimbly 3rd round way back in 2003 and that's about it.
"What was the last time a 38+ year old did anything on tour? Connors had a crazy run to USO SF in 1991 and that's it since Rosewall in the 70s."
 

RF-18

G.O.A.T.
17-year-old Wimbledon champion... Just unreal. Hard to imagine anyone breaking this record anytime soon.
Nice competition.

No hit at Becker as a player but the fact that a kid wins the biggest title of the sport shows how professional the game was back then compared to now. It's a different ball game being 17 today and trying to even break top 100. It's different times, game has gotten tougher and better.
 
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Third Serve

Legend
Nice competition.

No hit at Becker as a player but the fact that a kid wins the biggest title of the sport shows how professional the game was back then compared to now. It's a different ball game being 17 today and trying to even break top 100. It's different times, game has gotten tougher and better.
Not really. Playstyles have gotten more demanding due to the shift in play from net to baseline. I don’t think it has very much to do with competition.
 

sliceroni

Professional
Becker was the most talented/gifted players of all time for sure. To win Wimbledon at such a young age and then validate it by defending his title is legendary. Sadly his injuries and the pressure of early success (read his autobiography) got to him. He did **** off a lot off ppl and his handshakes did show, he was not a saint. The 1995 USO Agassi revenge match comes to mind. His 99 match vs Agassi in HK was friendly. In the late 90's they did hangout at Octoberfest a couple of times, and even played doubles together with Agassi I did wish Becker switched to the bigger Volkl Q-10 tour later on in career. In his exo with Stich in 2003 he was blasting fh winners effortlessly.
No doubt with his talent, power, movement for a big guy and modern training, he would give the big 3 a headache more so than the the current sad crop.
Yeah I'm a biased Becker fan lol I have the grey Puma Becker Super in which he won his first Wimbledon with, and the red/blue one in which I cracked f**** it up during my angry moments on the court in college.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Nice competition.

No hit at Becker as a player but the fact that a kid wins the biggest title of the sport shows how professional the game was back then compared to now. It's a different ball game being 17 today and trying to even break top 100. It's different times, game has gotten tougher and better.
Which is why no under 30 year olds win slams and 38 year olds almost win slams.

Game is tougher indeed....
 
3rd round: Nystrom served for the match twice in the fifth set at 5-4 and 6-5, with Becker eventually winning 9-7.
4th round: Becker was down 2-1 in sets and tweaked his ankle badly enough in the fourth set to want to quit, but Ioan Tiriac wouldn't let him. At either 5-4 or 6-5, Mayotte was three points away from victory. In the fourth set tiebreaker, it was 5-5 when Becker got away w/a framed half volley to win the point. He eventually won in 5 sets.
QF: Four set win over Leconte. They split the first two sets, with Becker winning the first set in a 9-7 tiebreaker. Not sure if Leconte had set points in the first set.
SF: Jarryd was up 6-2, 5-4 and had 2 set points on his serve before Becker broke back and took the second set in a tiebreaker and then the match in 4 sets.
F: It was one set apiece, and then Curren broke Becker to go up 4-3 in the third set. But Becker broke back, took the set in a tiebreaker, and then took the match in the fourth set.

Pretty incredible that a 17 year-old was able to make it through all of that.
jarryd did not have set points on his serve, Becker was serving in that 4-5 game. I have that match on dvd. He saved one of the set points with an ace, of course:)

Here was Becker’s schedule during the 2nd week. Pretty amazing a 17 year old could weather that chaos. 12 sets in 3 days!

saturday- 3rd round match with nystrom suspended for darkness after 2 sets

Monday- plays 3 sets to complete match(nystrom served for it twice)

Tuesday - 5 setter vs Mayotte(which he sprained his ankle in)

Wednesday - 4 sets QF with leconte

Thursday - day off

Friday - 2 sets with Jarryd until suspension due to rain

Saturday - completes semi(2 sets)

Sunday - final vs Curren

so he had to play 6 of the last 7 days of the tournament
 
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True, Fred couldn't tie Chang's shoelaces in his teens.

You can excuse/demean anything with such failogic anyway. If teenagers winning slams means weak era, why not early twenties or even all twenties seeing as sub-30yo players haven't won slemz in years, strongest era of all time baby!
when I first started posting here in 2005, many here mocked the early years of the open era constantly. They used the old age of the field as proof that that era was weak. Today the age of the top 100 is the oldest in the open era, and somehow that means the game is much tougher than the 80s when the game was full of young players? Guess anyone can spin facts the way they want to. I also remember pretty much everyone(coaches, commentators, players) saying in the late 80s and early 90s that early twenties is and would always be the prime of a tennis player due to superior stamina and quickness of young players.
I guess everyone was an idiot back then, since all I hear now is that 30 year old tennis players should have better stamina than 20 year old players. I wonder what the new spin will be when we have a shift towards younger champions again.
 
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metsman

G.O.A.T.
Wasn't the mid 80s when they all went from wood to graphite sticks?

Anyway Chang won his only Slam in the late 80s as well.

When's the last time a 17 year old did anything of note on Tour? Nadal made a Wimbly 3rd round way back in 2003 and that's about it.
Have any women done it since Sharapova? Before that, everyone did it. Did the women's game get more physical since 2004? Doubtful. Early 00s was easily the peak of the WTA.

Probably has more to do with the general talent level of young players on both tours since then. They aren't very good at 25 so expecting them to be good at 18 or 19 is a bit much. 17 is an arbitrary cutoff, Becker and Chang (and Wilander and Borg) were clearly much more physically developed with more stamina than the rest at that age, most of whom needed an extra year to get there. No one has done anything at 18 either since Nadal, that doesn't mean Nadal was going against a weak field.

Agassi made a slam semi a month after he turned 18 anyways and almost beat Becker at IW at 17 (technically that's before Chang though). Nadal could have made 2nd week of RG at 17. Look up what Pete, Fed, Djokovic looked like at 17/18, obviously it's a bit ridiculous to expect anything from them. Djokovic was already a top player at 19 though, pete won USO just after he turned 19 (and both those guys developed physically quite a bit even after that). Fed is just a notoriously late bloomer physically.

Ivanisevic made a Wimbledon semi at 18 btw. Roddick was respectable at the slams at 18/19. Hewitt was a top player at 19. Safin beat Agassi and Kuerten at RG at 18. Also made second week of USO before running into Pete.
 
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Didn't Wilander win RG at 18 years of age beating 4 top 10 players? It seems like physically he was fine.
Yeah, the logic here is weird.

Becker wins mostly due to new equipment despite his age(but you would think someone older than 17 would be able to really showcase power game with that new equipment) and that couldn’t happen today cause of slow surfaces. But wait, 17 year old wilander won RG in 82 with that new equipment grinding more on clay than maybe anyone in history. I think he had 5 aces the entire tournament. Probably averaged 20 shots per point. Nadal on clay plays like Becker in comparison to Wilander.

i guess you had to be there, but there was a lot of variety in the game in the 80s. There were a lot of teens on tour and they all didn’t play the same.
 
People forget that a few months later at the US OPEN, Nystrom got his revenge and beat Becker to prevent a Becker - McEnroe clash that CBS programmed to broadcast in prime time ( tennis on a network station in prime time was unheard of, that’s how much interest there was in that match) ......instead they were stuck with a squib of a match on prime time where McEnroe dismissed Nystrom with ease.
I have USA’s broadcast of the Mac Nystrom match on dvd. Guess CBS decided not to show it.
 

buscemi

Hall of Fame
2:55:38: Key point w/Nystrom serving at 5-4, 30-30 in the fifth set. He hits a serve in the middle of the service box and follows it into net. Becker floats a slice backhand return and follows it into the net, heading toward the service T.

Nystrom probably has his easiest volley of the match, with Becker's slice return meekly floating to his backhand. All Nystrom has to do is bunt his backhand volley in the court behind the net rushing Becker, and he wins the point to set up a match point. Instead, he bricks his backhand volley into the net. And so, it's 30-40 instead of 40-30 and match point, a point Nystrom wins to take it back to deuce. Who knows if that next point plays out the same way if Nystrom wins the prior point, but, wow, that was close.
 

Nole_King

Semi-Pro
Becker was very gifted, but proved himself a headcase, right from the start. No wonder he idolized another headcase in Mac.

I absolutely loved how Pete shut him up at his "home" (wimbledon) while being a gentleman on the court. Taught the bully a good lesson.

And no surprise either in seeing how his private life turned out afterwards.
Becker was never a bully to the opposing player. Yes he was a headcase but most of the time his frustrations and rantings were directed at himself than the rival player. Most of the times he was quite gracious to his opponents when he lost.

Ofcourse going by your profile pic I can understand you would have loved immensely in Pete dominating Boris. Afterall Boris caused so many heartburns to Lendl at slams.
 

terribleIVAN

Hall of Fame
Becker was never a bully to the opposing player. Yes he was a headcase but most of the time his frustrations and rantings were directed at himself than the rival player. Most of the times he was quite gracious to his opponents when he lost.
Is that so ?

You want me to post all instances of gamesmanship by Boris ? It might take half the server's space of ttw.

Go watch his 1990 Wimbledon loss to Stich: even the BBC commentator is blushing behind his microphone at Boris' antics on center-court in front of millions of spectators.

Or his 1988 match point loss to Edberg where he deliberately targets a howitzer BH straight at Stefan standing 2 feets across the net, and which fortunately ends up in the netcord.

Never knew how to lose gracefully an important match: guy was a head case from the start and remained so until Pete and Andre came along and taught his manners, and only then he mellowed.

To his deserving credit, he never pretended otherwise.

Contrary to a well know sore loser and headcase titlist for the past 15 years and who's about to end his career on an historic choke at 2019 W. final.
 
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