Born On: 22 November, 1967
Born In: Liemen, Germany
Career: Tennis Player
Boris Becker is professional tennis player from Germany, who has retired from the professional tour. He won 6 Grand Slam singles in his career and also held the ‘World No. 1’ position. He is also an Olympic gold medalist. Till date, Becker has won singles titles in 14 different countries, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Qatar, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States. Though he has retired from active tennis, he remains in the headlines for media work as well as his personal life. In 2003, Becker was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Boris Becker was born as ‘Boris Franz Becker’ on 22nd November 1967, in Leimen, West Germany. He is the only son of his father, an architect who built the tennis center Blau-Weiss Tennisklub (where young Becker usually played against young Steffi Graf in training matches), and his mother. He displayed a keen interest and inclination towards tennis since a very tender age. Becker became a professional tennis player in the year 1984, when he was hardly 17 years old.
Becker won his first professional doubles title in Munich in 1984, the same year he turned professional. The next year turned out to be one of the biggest in his life. After winning his first top-level singles title in June, at Queen's Club, he became the first unseeded player and the first German to win the Wimbledon singles title (July 1985). At the age of 17 years and 7 months, he also became the youngest ever male Grand Slam singles champion. The record was later broken by Michael Chang, who won the French Open at 17 years, 3 months.
Hardly two months after his Wimbledon triumph, Becker claimed the title of the youngest winner of the Cincinnati Masters. In 1986, he successfully defended his Wimbledon title, defeating the then-World No. 1 Ivan Lendl. The next year, he lost Wimbledon in the second round, but won Davis Cup. In the latter case, he played one of the longest matches in tennis history, with John McEnroe, which lasted 6 hours and 39 minutes. He reached the Wimbledon final again, in 1988, but lost to Stefan Edberg.
Becker won the year-end Masters title in New York. The year 1989 was one of the greatest in the career of Becker, when he reached the pinnacle of success. He won U.S. Open by defeating Lendl and also helped West Germany retain the Davis Cup. There was only one problem; he was still short of becoming the ‘World No. 1’ in tennis. In 1990, he not only lost Wimbledon final, but also failed to defend his U.S. Open title. The next year, he reached Australian Open final for the first time in his career and also managed to win it.
It was his win in the Australian Open that helped Becker clinch the World No. 1 ranking, for the first time, which lasted twelve weeks. However, the same year, he lost French Open to Agassi and also couldn’t win his fourth consecutive Wimbledon final. In 1992, Becker paired with Stich to win the men's doubles gold medal at the Olympic Games, held in Barcelona. The same year, he won ATP Tour World Championships, defeating Jim Courier. Becker reached Wimbledon final in 1995, for the seventh time, but lost to Pete Sampras.
As a consolation, he won the year-end ATP Tour World Championships in Frankfurt. The sixth and final Grand Slam was claimed by Becker in 1996, when he defeated Michael Chang in the final of the Australian Open. Becker again lost to Sampras, in 1996, in the final of the ATP Tour World Championships, and in 1997, in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon. His last appearance in Wimbledon came in 1999, losing in the fourth round to Patrick Rafter. Though retired from professional tours, he occasionally plays on the senior tour and in World Team Tennis. He is sometimes also seen as a commentator at Wimbledon, for BBC.
Becker married Barbara Feltus, an actress and designer, on December 17, 1993.
The couple had a son, named Noah, a month after their wedding, on January 18, 1994. Their second child, Elias, was born on September 4, 1999. Just before their wedding, Becker and Feltus posed nude for the cover of Stern, an act that shocked Germans. The coupling was later forgotten with their marriage. Becker separated from Barbara in December 1999, asking for some time out of their wedding. However, Barbara flew to Miami, with Noah and Elias.
Later, she filed a divorce petition in Miami-Dade County Court, sidestepping their prenuptial agreement with a single $2.5 million payoff. The divorce was granted on January 15, 2001, and in the form of settlement, she was given $14.4 million, their condo on the exclusive Fisher Island, and custody of Noah and Elias. In February 2001, a DNA test made Becker acknowledge paternity of Anna, his daughter with Angela Ermakova, with whom he had a one-off fling at a London restaurant/bar.
In November 2007, he obtained joint custody of Anna. October 2002 saw Becker being convicted of tax evasion and given two years probation, fined $500,000, and ordered to pay all court costs. Since 2000, he has been the principal owner of the tennis division of Völkl Inc., a tennis racquet and clothing manufacturer. He became the team captain on the British TV sports quiz show ‘They Think It's All Over’ in October 2005. The show came to an end in June 2006. In November 2007, Becker joined the Team PokerStars. He lives in Schwyz, Switzerland.
- 49 Singles Titles
- 15 Doubles Titles
- 6 Grand Slam Titles
- Singles Winner in the year-end Tennis Masters Cup in 1988, 1992 & 1995
- 4 Singles Titles at London's Queen's Club
- 1 Hopman Cup
- 2 World Team Cups
- Men's Doubles Gold Medal at the Olympic Games, with Stich