Boris Becker meets Bjorn Borg: From boom to broke
Bjorn Borg and Boris Becker were responsible for a lot of great matches during the playing days and after retirement, they are still creating a lot of drama off the pitch.tennis Updated: Aug 02, 2017 18:06 IST
A picture posted by Boris Becker on his Twitter handle on Monday had the tennis world abuzz. In the picture, ‘Boom Boom’ Becker is seen relaxing with the original double B, Ice-Borg Bjorn Borg.
“Wonderful afternoon with @bjornborg and his family! #ibiza #Malibu”, tweeted Becker.
At first glance, they may look like two over-the-hill sporting champions hanging out with their loved ones in a private moment. But there is enormous symbolism and tennis history in that picture, sports aficionados will tell you.
The similarities between Bjorn Borg and Boris Becker don’t end with their alliterative initials. A few weeks ago, three-time Wimbledon champion Becker made headlines for being the second tennis legend to go bankrupt after Bjorn Borg.
Widely considered to be one of the best players of all time, Borg won the Wimbledon title a record five times on the trot (1976, 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1980). When Becker won his first Wimbledon title in 1985 (he would go on to win another two in 1986 and 1989), he was the youngest ever male Grand Slam singles champion at 17 years, 227 days (a record later broken by Michael Chang).
In his hey-day, thanks to his explosive service and colourful off-field exploits, Becker was anointed ‘Boom, Boom’.
After his dream run, Borg decided to retire while he was on the top of his game. At the time of his retirement, Borg owned a penthouse in Monte Carlo close to his pro shop, a mansion on Long Island, New York and a small island off the Swedish coast. But a few years later, after his business ventures failed to take off, he was on the verge of personal bankruptcy. Of course, Borg bounced back to launch an eponymous fashion label that is said to be second only in popularity to Calvin Klein in Scandinavia.
Both Borg and Becker were colourful characters off the field with a distinct distaste for regimentation. “Next they’ll tell us not to wear blue underpants,” Becker had once said about Wimbledon’s obsession with the all-white rule.
Becker’s denouement with success at a young age was similar to Borg’s. He once said about why he wanted to retire: “I had won so much by 22, a number of Wimbledon titles, US Open, Davis Cup, World number one. You look for the next big thing and that isn’t in tennis.”
Like Borg, Becker sought refuge in the tax haven of Monte Carlo after facing tax troubles in his native Germany. A few weeks ago, like Borg before him, Boom Boom went broke. Or did he?
On June 21, UK’s Bankruptcy and Companies Court declared that Becker was bankrupt. The order arose when a long-standing debt owed to the private bank was not paid in full before an assigned deadline. He was at pains to clarify on social media that he had only defaulted on a payment and will salvage his reputation.
For now, though, partying with their loved ones in Ibiza, the tough times appear to be behind the double Bs.
It’s yesterday once more for Becker and Borg!
First Published: Aug 01, 2017 16:40 IST