ThrowbackTimes Queen’s: Boris Becker wins first ATP title at 17

Boris Becker made a professional debut at 15 in Cologne in 1983, with his first win coming next spring in Luxembourg on an indoor carpet. The young German earned more triumphs in Hamburg and Munich before heading to the sacred courts of Wimbledon. A red-headed German was one of the brightest tournament’s stories after reaching the third round at 16, playing five more events from October and finishing that 1984 season in the top-70 following the Australian Open quarter-final just after turning 17! The start of 1985 was not that good for the promising youngster, winning only ten out of the first 19 matches and raising his level in Rome to advance into the last four without losing a set before Yannick Noah halted his progress. Mats Wilander was too strong in the second round of Roland Garros, and it was a completely different story once the grass season started, with Boris entering the famous Queen’s event from the top-30 and as the 11th seed.

Competing in the 24th ATP tournament of his young career, Becker went all the way to lift his maiden ATP title, losing a single set in six matches to put his name in the record books! The German defeated three Americans for a place in the quarters, ousted world no. 7 Pat Cash 6-4, 6-4 and scored an even more comfortable victory over Paul McNamee to advance into the final. Becker took down a two-time Major champion on this surface and the Wimbledon quarter-finalist Johan Kriek 6-2, 6-3 in just over an hour to complete a fantastic run at one of the most prestigious events in the calendar and set eyes at Wimbledon. Boris had 11 aces, and his booming initial shot made all the difference, alongside three breaks that guided him over the finish line. Kriek could have opened the match with a break of serve, but the German saved a break point with a service winner and brought the game home after a few deuces for a vital hold.

Boris Becker claimed the title at Queen’s in 1985 at only 17.

Johan held in game two with a service winner, and Boris had a few on his own for a 2-1 lead, finding the rhythm behind the initial shot and controlling the points with his volleys at the net. Kriek leveled the score at 2-2 with a comfortable hold but couldn’t do much against Becker’s fast and well-placed serves that sent a teenager 3-2 up after a hold at love. Boris did a great job on the return in the next game to break Johan with a backhand lob winner and confirmed the advantage with another ace in game seven to move 5-2 ahead. The momentum was on his side, and he sealed the opening set with another break in game eight following a forehand down the line winner, eager to maintain that form in the rest of the match. After four good holds on both sides at the start of the second set, Kriek reached deuce on the return in game five before Becker blasted two winners for hold, sending the pressure to the other side of the net.

Boris was too good in his games, and that gave him confidence on the return, stealing the American’s serve after a great battle in game eight to create a 5-3 gap and serve for the victory. Four service winners clinched the title for Becker, who stayed calm in his triumph, just like he knew there’s so much more for him in three-week time when he would become the youngest Wimbledon champion. By the end of the season, Boris Becker was one of the world’s best players despite turning 18 in November, starting an assault on Ivan Lendl and the leading position on the ATP list. In the next decade, Becker would win many more titles on the fastest surfaces and become one of the legends of the attacking serve & volley tennis that brought him a stellar career.

Leave a Reply