Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by bcaz, Jun 27, 2004.
Who was the better tennis player -- Boris Becker or Stefan Edberg?
Edberg is my favorite player to watch. However, I think Becker played the big points better than Edberg. Becker could hit that one big serve, forehand, or dive volley when he needed it. Edberg always had to put a combination of strokes together to win the point.
This is a tough one for me, I like both of them a lot. Becker has
a huge lead head-to-head(25-10 I believe) & a big lead in title count 40+ to 30+. Both have 6 GS titles. But Edberg was 3-1 in slams against him(2-1 in their W finals) Becker owned him in Davis Cup. Edberg played the best US Open final(& possibly any GS final) I have ever seen('91 vs Courier)
But I really think that (combining ability & accomplishments) Becker was the 2nd best player(after Pete) that I've ever seen. When he was on, even Pete had trouble finding a way to win. He could hit winners from anywhere at anytime & played the big points so well. It's a shame that Boris & Pete's rivalry wasn't played out more at grand slams(& I think Boris' inconsistency year to year prevented a true rivalry) But their 3 matches in Germany indoors in the fall of '96 may be as well as the game can be played.
Edberg has a good lead in weeks at #1 and ended a year at #1. He's reached all 4 grand slam finals (Becker didn't). That's why I choose him.
I chose Becker for many of the reasons Kev gave. The big thing for me is that when both of them played their finest tennis Boris would win every time. The reason i think the Becker - Sampras rivalry wasn't even better was because their primes were well apart. Beckers best tennis was mostly behind him when Pete come into his prime for mine. I actually rate Lendl ahead of Boris and Stefan. He played well against them in his prime, which was just short of theirs. As they hit their prime Ivan was sliding, and they took over from him. All three at their best i like Ivan. Little between them however, and each to his own
Obviously, they were both great players.
When I was in my 20's I played against a big German guy who told me that he used to play Becker a lot when they were juniors and nobody thought Becker was anything special. Boris had this happy-go-lucky 'tude and didn't seem to care much whether he won or lost. Even as a pro he seemed less intense than the guys around him. My contention is that if he was more focused he might have become the best ever as his skills were top-notch.
Edberg had a better career in terms of weeks at #1 and years at #1. He also had a winning record against Becker at Wimbledon where Edberg edged him out in more finals.
I can see how Becker's prime didn't coincide with Sampras' prime. But it could have. Becker was only 3 years older than Pete & had some up & down years(kind of Agassi like in this way). He seemed incapable of focussing year in & year out(like Pete, Edberg, Lendl) But still managed to have a fabulous career lasting more than 10 years. Boris seemed rededicated to becoming the best in '95. He upset Agassi in the Wimby SF(when no one gave him a shot) than lost to Pete in the final. He had a great Open as well losing to Agassi in the semis in a tough 4 setter. He then won the '96 Aussie Open. I was sure he was going to have a great Wimbledon that year but suffered a freak wrist injury in an early round match. He returned to the tour in fine form during the indoor season, playing some amazing matches with Pete. Many analysts thought the two were the favorites going into the '97 Australian. But Becker suffered a shock opening round upset to the then relatively unknown Moya. After that Boris played a limited schedule leading into Wimbledon(partly due to a hamstring injury i believe). He then basically retired from being a fulltime player after losing to Pete in the quarters. He was only 29. As a fan of the game I'm still disappointed that he didn't continue, he was still capable of playing & beating the best(unlike McEnroe, Lendl, & Edberg in their final years)
They were both great players and great people, but I think Boris was better, he had everything except maybe the mental aspect, just look at their head to head record like Kevin said, Boris Dominated Edberg
Interesting observations as always Kev. You are right in that Pete did play against some of Boris's best tennis. He seemed to reserfve his latter day best for Pete, Boris loved a challenge. As you say, he come back quite strong in 95 but it didn't last due to various factors. He had been around a long time tho regardless of age, he had won Wimbledon in 85 at 17. Lendl say was 24 when he won his first major. Many that break thru early seem to struggle in the later years, tho still young. As you state, he was 29 and many are still near thier prime at that age. I still look to the early success factor tho. Borg retired at about 25 i think, and look at Hingis. They could both still beat pretty much anyone. I look further to further comments, you sure know your stuff.
Although I voted for Edberg, I can't forget watching in '85 when Becker won Wimbledon, as an unseeded 17 yr old, as Boris defeated 27 yr old Kevin Curren, 6-3 6-7 7-6 6-4.
Edberg plays with finese, Becker with gusto. Stefan is stoic but is a sheer pleasure to watch when his game is on; Boris talks and dives for the ball.
My heart goes to Stefan but I will always remember the gentlemanly gesture of Boris when he climbed over the net to embrace Edberg warmly after that 5-set final at the 1990 Wimbledon.
On the court, Stefan attacks mercilessly and yet never appears agressive. Boris was all agression.
Here's a photo of the two playing golf at some charity event while they were both on the ATP tour.
I choose Edberg (not surprisingly). Longer stay at the no 1 spot (72 weeks vs 12), all four GS finals (1 more GS final total than Becker 11 vs 10; 41 vs 49 ATP titles total). The fact is that when both were at the peak of their powers (maybe 87-91) Edberg was better against the field, if not against Becker himself.
As for the famous head to head statistic: Edberg took 4 of the 5 most important matches (yes, don't forget the 89 Masters final). Who cares about the all the third round matches they played after 92, right?
If we count head to head record, do we also include their junior careers? Becker never beat Edberg as a junior player.
andreh are you counting Beckers wins in Davis Cup over Edberg in those 5 most important matches? Back when these two used to face off in Davis Cup there was no more important match. From memory Becker beat Edberg in 3 out of 3 DC matches for the loss of just one set and all were in finals. Germany ended up winning two of these. Becker had the amazing DC record of 54-12, including an impressive 38-3 in singles. Edberg was 47-23 overall. Casal beat Boris twice but one was in a dead rubber. Just another intangible in a magnificent rivalry
cant belive this. Know Im biased but
Becker had 10 times the serve of Edberg.
Much better forhand.
equal and arguably more variety on the backhand
Owned Edberg in head to head
more career titles
Its not even close Becker is in my top 5 all time Edberg is lucky if hes the top 10
Becker used to win davis cups by himself.
2 sets lo love and 2 breaks down against agassi and wins in 5.
6-2 5-1 down against agassi at wimbledon win in 5.
The guy was my idol. The guy gave ot 100% percent every time. Oozed of charisma and was a pretty good guy if you got to know him
8) Boris Becker 1 makes the case closed. You can't argue against the truth. Boris is flawless in his motion/technique in all his shots. After the Aussie Open this yr I watched too much of Roddick - due to ESPN poor coverage- and I ended up with his unorthodox forehand which ruined me for 3 weeks. I watched my Becker tapes vs. Edberg and others and no one comes close to perfection as his windmills. Edberg is a classic and will always be in the pantheon but BECKER reigns supreme. :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
Interesting. Again, Edberg had obvious difficulties with Becker, but Edberg was on winning team more times. Edberg was on the winning team in 84, 85, 87 and 94. Becker *only* in 88, 89 and 93.
Playing each other Becker had an edge for some reason, but against the field Edberg was better. I know Becker-fans have serious difficulties with Edberg winning those important matches when he lost so often otherwise, but that makes it all the more sweet for me!
PS. I don't dislike Becker in any way. I think he was a great player.
Yeah Edberg had many DC wins, but did you see his partners/team? Most times he had Wilander as his singles partner and one of the best couple of doubles teams in the world Edberg/Jarryd etc. Until Stich late in the peace Becker had players beside him a long way short of Edberg. Might be why he played so well hehehe
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