Match Stats/Report - Becker vs Courier, Year End Championship finals, 1992


Hall of Fame
Boris Becker beat Jim Courier 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 in the Year End Championship final, 1992 on carpet in Frankfurt, Germany

It was Becker's second title at the event and he would go on to add a third in 1995. Courier had lost in the final the previous year also

Becker won 101 points, Courier 90

Becker serve-volleyed off all first serves and about half the time off second. Courier serve-volleyed about half the time off first serve

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (54/97) 56%
- 1st serve points won (42/54) 78%
- 2nd serve points won (23/43) 53%
- Aces 14 (1 second serve), Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 6
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (41/97) 42%

- 1st serve percentage (55/94) 59%
- 1st serve points won (36/55) 65%
- 2nd serve points won (22/39) 56%
- Aces 9, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (30/94) 32%

Serve Pattern
Becker served...
- to FH 44%
- to BH 55%
- to Body 1%

Courier served...
- to FH 37%
- to BH 63%

Return Stats
Becker made...
- 59 (22 FH, 37 BH), including 8 return-approaches
- 6 Winners (4 FH, 2 BH)
- 19 Errors, comprising...
- 6 Unforced (1 FH, 5 BH), including 2 return-approach attempts
- 13 Forced (6 FH, 7 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- Return Rate (59/89) 66%

Courier made...
- 50 (20 FH, 30 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 1 return-approach
- 3 Winners (2 FH, 1 BH)
- 26 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (2 FH)
- 24 Forced (13 FH, 11 BH)
- Return Rate (50/91) 55%

Break Points
Becker 5/13 (7 games)
Courier 1/4 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Becker 29 (9 FH, 5 BH, 5 FHV, 6 BHV, 3 OH, 1 BHOH)
Courier 27 (11 FH, 7 BH, 6 FHV, 3 BHV)

Becker had 11 from serve-volley points
- 8 first 'volleys' (4 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 FH at net)
- 2 second volleys (1 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 1 third volley (1 BHV)

- FHs - 3 cc (2 passes), 1 dtl return, 1 inside-out pass, 1 inside-in return and 2 return net chord dribblers (1 'pass')
- BHs - 1 cc pass, 3 dtl (1 return pass) and 1 inside-in return pass

Courier had 5 from serve-volley points
- 3 first 'volleys' (2 BHV, 1 BH drop shot at net)
- 2 second volleys (2 FHV)

- 1 other FHV was a pass, played from just inside the baseline and not a net point for Courier. 1 BHV was exceptionally fine of angle

- FHs - 3 cc (2 passes - 1 a return), 3 dtl passes (1 return), 3 inside-out (1 pass), 1 longline and 1 lob
- BHs - 2 cc passes, 2 dtl (1 pass) and 2 inside-out returns (1 return, 1 net-to-net)

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Becker 27
- 14 Unforced (4 FH, 5 BH, 2 FHV, 3 BHV)
- 13 Forced (4 FH, 4 BH, 3 FHV, 2 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 51.4

Courier 26
- 5 Unforced (2 FH, 2 BH, 1 FHV)
- 21 Forced (4 FH, 14 BH, 2 FHV, 1 FH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 40

(Note 1: All 1/2 volleys refer to such shots played at net. 1/2 volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke numbers)

(Note 2: the Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is an indicator of how aggressive the average UE was. The numbers presented for these two matches are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Becker was...
- 50/75 (67%) at net, including...
- 40/57 (70%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 28/40 (70%) off 1st serve and...
- 12/17 (71% off 2nd serve
- 5/8 (63%) return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back

Courier was...
- 24/37 (65%) at net, including...
- 15/25 (60%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 12/22 (55%) off 1st serve and...
- 3/3 off 2nd serve
- 0/1 return-approaching

Match Report
The game is all-out attack for Boris Becker. The execution is good. The court is fast. Jim Courier has pushed past his comfort zone for attacking play to adapt... but Becker is just better at it

Serving & Returning
Becker's going for aces with virtually every first serve. When he makes the first serve (which he follows to net 100% of the time), it usually doesn't come back. When it does come back, more often than not its begging to be put away (and Becker obliges)

Becker's first serve percentage fluctuates during the match. In first set its 69%, but in second set it drops to 41%. When the first serve is high (and depending on the game score, which tends to be heavily in his favour at such times, naturally), Becker's second serve is indistinguishable from the first. When its low, he adjusts and is more conservative with the second serve - though its still a powerful serve

Court is quick enough that both players force errors with their second serves, even when not serve-volleying. Both players, but Becker more

Courier is serving heavier than usual too... and uncharacteristically serve-volleying a healthy amount, 57% of the time of first serve (should be noted he was trying to serve-volley on most of his 11 aces/service winners too)

Becker obviously has the stronger serve, but Courier the stronger return. However, the serve counts for more in these conditions

I thought Courier returned well. He's not particularly good at getting wide serves in play (very few players in the world would be... and returning such serves 'well' probably wouldn't make much difference anyway... just somehow getting it in play would qualify as returning 'well'). He does get some meaty returns in off second serves though, and occasionally, even against the first. Becker's on point with his volleys and groundshots though, so Courier is still under the gun

Becker returns at least as well, and given the disparity in the two players serve, significantly more effectively. Note the 6 return winners - 3 passes, 3 non-passes. There's some luck involved - 2 of them are net chord dribblers, but one of those was probably going to win the point for Becker anyway if it hadn't caught the tape. In gaining the sole break of the first set, Becker manages to get a racquet on a wide serve, somehow putting it in play. The serve-volleying Courier lets the ball go - it would have been an awkward high volley had he not - and the ball lands in for a winner

Becker's also utilizes return-approaches (usually not chip-charges) very effectively, winning 5/8 such points (including a couple against the first serve)
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Hall of Fame
Volleying & Passing
Good day for Becker at the net. He has a lot easy volleys, but even these need care because Courier is prowling like a tiger for anything loose. At least once, Becker is too casual in putting away a routine volley - the volleys easy and Courier is out of position - only for the American to seemingly teleport to the ball and hit a passing winner. For the most part, though, Becker is precise in dealing with the easy stuff

He's good on the not-easy to hard stuff at net too. I've given him 5 volleying UEs, but most of these would be at relatively unimportant points (Becker matches in general tend to have him making a disproportionate number of UEs on unimportant points - one reason match stats don't capture the quality of his play as well as it does most players). Just 5 volleying FEs probably say more about how well he volleyed because Courier hits some meaty passing shots, many of which would have been called FEs had Becker not made them

In short, Courier passes well and Becker volleys well - the edge with Becker

Courier for his part volleys decently. He looks comfortable coming forward for a not-natural net player, the approaches (i.e. serves) he comes in behind are strong enough that he doesn't have to make difficult volleys often, and the ones he does have to make he makes well. Still, you can see his net instincts aren't developed. Other than premediated serve-volleys, he doesn't look to come in - probably because he doesn't know how to. Becker by contrast, is sharp in this regard and comes in smartly from rallies - sneaking in or while opening the court with a well placed groundie

Plenty of scope for baseline play with Becker staying back on about half his second serves, Courier on almost all his and half his firsts

Both play well from the back, but its Becker whose style is more suited to the conditions; he's in shot-making mode.... looking to hit winners/force errors, approach net or open the court as soon as possible. And does, successfully. Courier is steadier but less attacking.

Note Becker with 9 groundstroke UEs, to Courier's 4. Courier's figure is stunningly low and speaks to how steady he was from the back. Becker, as with the volleys, usually makes his errors at unimportant points

Note the UEFI. Becker's is very high at 51.4 (this is biased by 5/14 errors being volleys, which are virtually scored at least a 5, but his typical groundstroke misses are also of the attacking variety) while Courier's is very, very low at 40 (and that's with 1 volleying error.... in other words, his average groundstroke error is more passive than a neutral shot)

Here I think Courier left himself in Becker's hands a little bit. Unlike with the big serving and serve-volleying, he didn't up the aggression in his baseline play (which is 'bossy', but short of attacking in the traditional sense, but by no means passive either). Becker though is attacking. For Courier to trump Becker, he would have needed Becker to miss attacking shots. Which doesn't happen, so Becker wins a healthy amount of points baseline-to-baseline, Courier's forte....coupled with dominating in the forecourt and banging down lots of unreturned serves, there's no chink in Becker's play

Summing up, high quality all-court, fast court tennis from Boris Becker - serving big, serve-volleying, good at net, good shot making from the baseline and good attacking instincts/feel. Courier has adjusted some from his usual, steady 'bossy' baseline game to be more aggressive, but he's playing a virtuoso of the optimal playing style for the conditions and Becker proves to be too good

The previous years final - a similar match - between Sampras and Courier is here