Match Stats/Report - Becker vs Edberg, Wimbledon final, 1989


Hall of Fame
Boris Becker beat Stefan Edberg 6-0, 7-6(1), 6-4 in the Wimbledon final, 1989 on grass

It was Becker's third and as it would turn out, last Wimbledon title. He would go onto win the US Open later in the year as well as play a leading role in West Germany's Davis Cup victory (including beating Edberg in a singles rubber in the final). Edberg had beaten Becker in the previous years final and would go onto beat him at next years' as well. More recently, he had beaten Becker in the French Open semis and would beat him again in the Masters final at the end of the season

Becker won 103 points, Edberg 81

Both players serve-volleyed off all serves

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (42/91) 46%
- 1st serve points won (33/42) 79%
- 2nd serve points won (29/49) 59%
- Aces 5, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (28/91) 31%

- 1st serve percentage (62/93) 67%
- 1st serve points won (39/62) 63%
- 2nd serve points won (13/31) 42%
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (25/93) 27%

Serve Patterns
Becker served...
- to FH 29%
- to BH 63%
- to Body 8%

Edberg served...
- to FH 22%
- to BH 65%
- to Body 13%

Return Stats
Becker made...
- 66 (17 FH, 49 BH), including 3 runaround FHs
- 12 Winners (6 FH, 6 BH), including 2 runaround FHs
- 25 Errors, all forced...
- 25 Forced (11 FH, 14 BH)
- Return Rate (66/91) 73%

Edberg made...
- 59 (20 FH, 39 BH), including 2 runaround FHs & 1 return-approach
- 9 Winners (4 FH, 5 BH)
- Errors, all forced...
- 22 Forced (6 FH, 16 BH)
- Return Rate (59/87) 68%

Break Points
Becker 5/14 (8 games)
Edberg 1/5 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Becker 44 (11 FH, 11 BH, 11 FHV, 5 BHV, 6 OH)
Edberg 31 (6 FH, 9 BH, 10 FHV, 4 BHV, 2 OH)

Becker had 23 from serve-volley points
- 7 first 'volleys' (4 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 FH at net)
- 15 second volleys (6 FHV, 3 BHV, 6 OH)... 1 BHV was net-to-net & 1 OH was a net chord dribbler
- 1 third volley (1 FHV)

- 12 returns (6 FH, 6 BH)
- FHs (all passes) - 1 cc, 1 runaround dtl, 1 runaround dtl/inside-out, 1 inside-out, 1 inside-in (that Edberg left) and 1 lob (unintentional)
- BHs passes - 2 cc, 1 inside-out and 2 inside-in
- regular BH - 1 net chord dribbler (with Edberg at net)

- FHs (all passes) - 3 cc and 1 dtl
- BHs (all passes) - 2 cc, 2 dtl (1 net chord pop over) and 1 longline

Edberg had 15 from serve-volley points
- 10 first volleys (5 FHV, 4 BHV, 1 OH)
- 5 second volleys (4 FHV, 1 OH)... 1 FHV was a net chord dribbler

- 1 other FHV was played net-to-net

- 9 returns (4 FH, 5 BH), all passes
- FHs - 1 cc, 2 dtl and 1 inside-in
- BHs -1 dtl, 3 inside-out and 1 inside-in

- FHs (all passes) - 1 cc and 1 lob
- BHs (all passes) - 2 dtl (1 net chord clipper), 1 longline/inside-out and 1 lob

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Becker 21
- 4 Unforced (1 BH, 2 FHV, 1 OH)... with 1 BH at net
- 17 Forced (5 FH, 7 BH, 3 FHV, 2 BHV)... with 1 FH pass at net & 1 BH pass at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 52.5

Edberg 29
- 13 Unforced (8 FHV, 5 BHV)
- 16 Forced (3 FH, 7 BH, 2 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 51.5

(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...
- 56/83 (67%) at net, including...
- 56/81 (69%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 27/36 (75%) off 1st serve and...
- 29/45 (64%) off 2nd serve
- 2/2 forced back

Edberg was...
- 53/95 (56%) at net, including...
- 52/91 (57%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 39/62 (63%) off 1st serve and...
- 13/29 (45%) off 2nd serve
- 0/1 return-approaching

Match Report
Great showing from Boris Becker, especially on the volley. Not a bad one from Edberg either, though he has lapses on the same shot. Last two sets are competitive after the first is a blowout. Both players serve-volley 100% of the time

Edberg breaks sensationally with 4 winners to leave himself serving for the second set, where he advances to 40-0 - taking his run of consecutive service points won to 14 in the process

He proceeds to to lose the next 9 as Becker breaks back and runs through the tiebreak 7-1 to go up 2 sets. A late break in the third leaves to serve out the match

Generally in Becker-Edberg serve-volley based matches, everything flows out of Becker's superiority on the serve and loads prospects his way. Chain of events runs -

- because of bigger serve, Becker returns more powerfully
- because of returning more powerfully, he has the easier volleys
- because he has the easier volleys, he gets more chances on the pass

Its not overly true here - he has the bigger serve, but holds back on it some and the difference between two players on the first shot isn't much. He does however, volley considerably better, which gives him better chances on the pass (also slightly superior returner, but to lesser degree than on the volley)

Volleying & Passing
Note just 4 UEs from Boris (all in forecourt), to 13 by Edberg. Edberg has more BHV UEs (5) than Boris' total and double on FHV (8). Becker outdoing Edberg on the volley is uncommon but not shocking - Edberg does tend to have odd not good days on the volley (so does Becker, more often, though clearly not this day) but usually the compensation is in Edberg's volleys being more decisive

That's not true here either. Leaving aside winners (Becker 23 in forecourt, Edberg 16), Becker volleys at least as decisively as Edberg - volleying into corners or well away from the baseliner at least as often as Edberg does

Not much difference in handling of tough volleys either. Becker with 4 volleying FEs (he also has 2 pass attempts at net, virtually hopeless shots he scrambles to), Edberg 6. That figure is influenced by quality of passing (Becker's is better). The tough volleys Edberg leaves Becker are invariably low volleys, that Becker handles well, making the majority. The tough volleys Becker leaves Edberg are low as well as wide or hit extra powerfully on top of low ones. Edberg struggles a bit more against it than Boris does

Style of volleying isn't as drastic as stats might indicate. 30% of Becker's serve-volley winners are first volleys, while 67% of Edberg's are which would suggest Edberg was out to kill points with 1 shot while Boris was in 2 volleys to finish mode

That's not accurate. Both are essentially in 2 volley mode, but not shy of knocking of easy first volleys. Both return well enough as to not leave many putaway easy first volleys. Returning firmly rather than powerfully, Becker leaves a few that Edberg whisks away. Edberg is more likely to look for killer first volley... but not to extent suggested by stats

Good first volleying away from the baseliner means passing chances tend to be difficult ones on the run. When not called on to move much, Becker is the cleaner hitter. BH cc in particular are hit whistle clean. Edberg's probably a bit quicker to reach passes on the run... there's not much he can do from that position though but angle the ball best he can. He does this well and gives Boris a few slow, dropping balls that the winner is able to handle quite well
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Hall of Fame
Serve & Return
Becker serves within himself, despite the low 46 first in count. Just 5 aces and 1 service winner, which is low for him (still a lot better than Edberg's 0). Occasionally, he lets loose with a really big first serve... its serves to illustrate the extent to which he did hold back in general

Even serving so, Boris probably has the stronger serve. Counter-balanced somewhat by Edberg serving at a much higher 67%

Good serving from Edberg too. He leads with normal, wide serving, predominantly to BH, throwing in body serves occasionally. This gives him some margin for error on the volley

Edberg's favourite kick second serve isn't too effective. The opposite in fact. Its not rare for him to get it to awkward shoulder height even on grass. Here, it just lifts to a comfortable lower ribs level, allowing Becker to take a good clean cut at it. The lower, slice serves work better

Both seem to read the others serve well. Not much being caught out by direction going on

A general note on the match up that's easier to see here than normal because Boris' serve isn't overwhelming, pertaining to Boris' greater variety on the return

Edberg's returning in both courts to serves down the middle are quite predictable. With Becker serving predominantly to BH in both courts, this is most apparent in deuce court. Only to significantly wide balls does he go inside-out. Otherwise, he almost always goes inside-in

This is normal - but Becker has an extra ability. He can and does go inside-out even to balls close to him. Even body serves. Manages to squeeze them out with power in that direction in a way Edberg (and for that matter, anybody else) usually can't. Its little things like this that give Boris an edge over most serve-volleyers - both as the volleyer, controlling which side he'll get his first volley and as returner, surprising the the volleyer with direction

Same thing in ad court, though with fewer serves down middle to FH side, its not much of a factor. Edberg rarely returns FH inside-out deliberately and purposefully. Becker seems to be able to

Note the very wide variety of Becker's return winners. Crossing FH/BH X cc/dtl/inside-out/inside-in... he's got at winners with 7/8 possible shots (just missing BH dtl). In the semi, John McEnroe actually had 1 of each kind against Edberg

He hits 3 that don't fit into neat category too, though 2 of them are flukes. A runaround FH return that's more inside-out than dtl is the intentional 1. The other 2 are a net chord dribbler and a lob

Match Progression
As bagels go, first set is more good from Becker than poor from Edberg. Becker returns firmly and consistently, leaving Edberg first volley around net high - some a bit higher, some a bit lower. Nothing overly great, but also not the type of thing a serve-volleyer would want to face all day long

Edberg has 5 volleying UEs in the set - 4 FHV, 1 BHV. Only 1 is genuinely easy while the rest are not hard to put in play. Becker has 7 passing winners by contrast (1 of them on his service game)

A thrashing looks on the cards when Becker has break point in second game of second set, after holding to love to open. He hits a power return on it and Edberg does well to volley it, going onto win the point with his second volley. Point after that, Edberg's second volley dribbles over net chord for a winner and he goes on to hold

Edberg has his first break point in game after that and on it, makes a couple of scrambling defensive passes. Becker needs a third volley to put point away, by which time Edberg's clawed his way to net too. Edberg survives another break point awhile later where Becker has a reasonable look at the pass

Easy holds from there to game 11, when Edberg breaks sensationally with 4 passing winners - 3 of them returns. The sole non-return is a BH dtl that clips the net chord on its way over. Edberg celebrates with a fist pump rather than the statutory apology/acknowledgment

Edberg advances to 40-0 as he serves for set. The next service point he wins is in the next set. As in first set, its mostly down to Becker playing well. He hits a perfect FH dtl pass winner against a good volley to the corner, and draws a reflex volley error to take score to 40-30

Edberg misses 2 routine first BHVs on next 2 points, his first volleying UEs since game 2 of the set. On break point, he can't handle a powerful, wide pass

In tiebreak, Edberg opens with a BH inside-out return pass winner. And then loses 7 points in a row. The first service point he drops is an easy, high FHV - probably the easiest one he misses all match. Rest are strong Becker passing winners - a BH inside-in return, a FH inside-out return and a FH cc

Third set features beautiful play from both players - decent serving, very good returning, server holding but returning having counter-play. There are 74 points in it, as opposed to 76 in the set before

From both players -
- volleys are good, directed well away from baseliner and often into corners
- running passes are made as well as possible, at wrong footing angles and directions with a touch when a full swing can't be made
- good number of volleys have to made against low-ish and/or dropping balls... not easy, but they're made effectively by both. Edberg volleys a few away for winners even but norm for both is volleying it away from baseliner. Both players make most such volleys

In short, great stuff, with the volley and pass at the forefront, not big serving

Odds would probably still be on Becker pulling out a strong return game more than Edberg and so it proves. He opens game 9 with 3 passing winners to give himself 3 break points. Two sharp volleys from Edberg against firm returns and an unreturned serve take it to deuce. Than Edberg misses a regulation volley from just under net level, before double faulting to give up the break. Becker serves out the match to 30

Summing up, great showing from Becker, the emphasis being on his volleying rather than serving, which makes for a more entertaining match, with a good balance of consistency and firmness on return backed up by strong passing. Edberg has a few lapses on the volley and trails a bit in returning power and variety and on the pass too

Strong from Boris, good from Edberg but trailing at least a bit in virtually all areas

Stats for pair's 2 Masters matches at the end of the season -
Stats for Paris final later in the year -
Stats for Edberg's semi with John McEnroe -