DALLAS: Boris Becker has learned a valuable lesson at an early age, one he hopes will vault him toward recognition as the best tennis player in the world. Hard work, he has found, pays off.

Becker, currently ranked fourth in the world behind Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg, defeated Edberg in the finals of the World Championship of Tennis — a decision that signaled a return to his previous form.

“When I was 16 and 17, I trained very hard,” said Becker, who at the age of 20 has already own two Wimbledon championships.

“Then I won Wimbledon and my whole programme changed. I had to play here, I had to play there, I had to do a lot of extra things. I didn’t train as hard. For one year I could get by without it, but it was just a matter of time before it showed up and last year it did.”

After winning Wimbledon two straight years, Becker was ousted from that tournament in the second round last year. Then some nagging injuries set in and his game suffered.

As a result, he hired Australian coach Bob Brett, who has put Becker through a strenuous training programme. “Whatever I do now, I do hard, “Becker said, “I work very hard. This (win over. Edberg) is just another proof that my training and practice are paying off. Now it is just a matter of putting it together for the Grand Slam events.

“The match with Edberg was my best of the year. I served 19 aces and I don’t ever remember doing that against Edberg before. I seemed to move better and played better and better and better and better as the match went on.

“I have been doing some of this in practice. It was just a matter of bringing it to the court and I did in this match.”

Becker has a busy year planned, one that will include a trip to Seoul, for the Olympics. This is the first year professional tennis players will be allowed to play in the Games and Becker said he is looking forward to it.

It’s a goal to go there,” he said. “It is not so much a goal to win, but just to be part of the experience. Who knows if I am going to be playing tennis in four years? This may be a one in a lifetime chance and I want to go

“I would like to stay in the players rooms with two or three people I might not know.”

When it was pointed out that rooms in an Olympic village are nowhere near as plush as he is used to seeing on the tennis circuit, Becker said he would not mind.

“If the other players don’t want to stay in the village, they should stay at home,” he said,


Argentinos Juniors beat reigning South American champions Penarol of Uruguay 20 on Friday night to qualify for the quarterfinal of the South American Super cup.

The Argentine sides, which in the late 1970s launched Diego Maradona to fame and were crowned regional champions in 1985, won the group 4 ties 21 on aggregate. They will face Brazil’s Cruzeiro in the quarterfinals,

Article extracted from this publication >> April 22, 1988