Boom Boom Becker

It was a game of tennis like nobody had seen before. The flamboyant German teenager was dominating the play like no one else before him. His opponent was an American, whose countrymen had dominated the Championship for many years in the past. After all, the American had defeated two other American Champions, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, to reach the finals. The teenager’s serves boomed across the stadium, such was the strength he exhibited. Soon he had ran away with the first set, winning it comfortably, 6 games to three. But then the American showed just why his countrymen had dominated the sport for so long as he came back strongly in the second set, winning it, 7 games to 6. But still, the teenager had run him close. The teenager was young but he played mental games with his opponent, as he sent hostile stares to him, before and after points. And the moment arrived, which changed the entire tenor of the match. The American was leading 3-2, when he sent down an unplayable cross court drop shot, which seemed beyond the reach of his opponent, when out of nowhere, the German produced a spectacular dive, to reach the ball, and caught the American off balance. The German won the point, but more importantly, he broke the resistance of the American to win his maiden Wimbledon handsomely. That day, a Star was born. A Mega Star named Boris “Boom Boom” Becker.


The year 1985. The same year when India won the World Championship of Cricket in Australia and Ravi Shastri became the Champion of Champions. Those were the days when you had ample time to see the Wimbledon championship from start to finish. Thus, there I was, watching the Wimbledon finals. This year, the finals was between a veteran player, an American, Kevin Curren, and a flamboyant German boy, Boris Becker. By the time the Championship was over, everyone across the tennis watching world had only one name on their lips, Boris Becker! He had become the youngest Winner, at 17 years and 7 months. His overtly aggressive style of play was loved by one and all. And his crinkly eyes, muscular but athletic build and blond hair, charmed the girls to ecstasy. What endeared him to them was the power of his booming serve, his menacing stares to his opponents and his never say die attitude, displayed through his diving across the tennis court, to reach and come out with winners, in near impossible situations. And he reinforced his reputation the next year, when he defended his title by defeating the ultra cool Ivan Lendl. And the next few years he was always among the top seeded players, who entertained the tennis watching aficionados, with their great rivalries on court. I for one, never watched a full tennis match, after the retirement of Becker, even though there were great champions like Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, later too.

Yatindra Tawde