Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Great moments in tennis No 8 – Becker calls it a day

Centre Court Wimbledon, July 1997. Boris Becker, darling of the Wimbledon crowd for more than 10 years, is defeated by Pete Sampras in the quarter finals. Becker then stole the show by surprising Sampras, and the rest of the world, and announcing his retirement with immediate effect.

At the net at the end of the match Becker congratulated his old rival on his victory and then said ''This was it for me; this was my last match at Wimbledon and I'm glad it was against you.''

It was a classy way to call time on a great career. The game itself was a bit of a disappointment. The previous year the two men had served up a classic 5 setter in the final of the end of season Masters Cup, with Sampras eventually breaking Becker in the fifth set, after Boris held serve for 27 consecutive games.

Unfortunately, Becker couldn’t push Sampras as close at Wimbledon, with Sampras winning comfortably. You can read The New York Times match report and Becker tribute here And you can watch Sampras close out the match below with a combination of his famous second serve, and his serve volleying.

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