WIMBLEDON. An inconsiderate, bothered and upset Becker loses in four sets in the final played with a one day delay due to rain. An exemplary match by the Swede, on a court reduced to a riding ground
LONDON. Stefan Edberg won his first Wimbledon beating Boris Becker in twenty-two hours and 39 minutes. The judge's paper, actually, reads two hours and fifty minutes of match, divided into three stages of twenty-two, fourteen and finally two hours and fourteen.
But we can ask whether the result of such an unusual event was determined either by the game action, or also, and especially, by the interruptions, the nightly one included.
Who played some tennis matches knows that they are before won off and then on the court. You screen your opponent and, considering his and your chances, end up to exorcize him or to remain his victim.
This usual routine is complicated and puzzled, when darkness or rain come up to interrupt the match, forcing the protagonists to the promiscuity of the dressing rooms or to the loneliness of their bedrooms. In this situations, you have to face yourself, besides your opponents, win a very though match against the enemies inside of you.
To a superficial judgement, Boris Becker looked the more suitable to avoid such stumbles. Solid and glad as he is, optimist for his run in a tournament in which he had only lost four serves and a set, he seemed to have easily gone through the first four hours and a half of interruption, during Sunday's big rain. Rumor had it that he was joking and playing cards with Tiriac. He's taking it very well, sure of winning as he is, his masseur Norris confirmed.
Actually, after all that waiting, Becker, much more weighing, had struggled to put his body in action, had suffered a break in the second game, saved a ball for 0-4, but had finally maintained his serve, forcing Edberg to three errors.
That little piece of match confirmed the expectation of all the experts, and of bookmakers, who would even give Boris one against four, while Edberg was five to two. I can't penetrate bedroom secrets, also because there shouldn't be any. Becker is a single again, Edberg slept in the same apartment as Annette, his girlfriend, but in separated rooms.
Back on court, yesterday at 1 p.m., the two looked changed only in wears. Becker looked at ease, aggressive to the excess, Stefan thoughtful, almost introverted. Becker would overcome better than his opponent the usual problems in serving at the start, and only rain would forbid him to finally close that hic-cupping set, that only needed a point for the 6-3.
Another hour and forty minute stop, made sadder by worst weather forecast, gave us back two players that seemed to have changed humor. Becker closed the set in three minutes, but Stefan's calm seemed to suddenly activate.
Already in the second game, more decided, half a meter forward on court, Edberg would have on his racquet three balls for the break, and only in the seventh he would give Becker a chance, with his fifth double fault.
Boris would play impatient and contracted on that 30-40, looking for the backhand return down the line as usual. Stefan, went automatically to that side, and hadn't problems in controlling and let the shot go. From that moment on, a sort of untimely irritability would possess Boris more and more, while his opponent looked more and more smooth and composed, as marble.
Edberg didn't take his fourth break-point in the set, but in the second point of the tie-break an early return of his took him to the net along with Becker, who was following his serve! On the successive point, humid grass subsided under Boris' spring, and the big boy would end on the ground, swearing.
After that ruinous tie-break, Becker would never catch up. More than playing badly, he repeated monotonous and risky tactics, blamed the rebounds, the humid grass, the sunlight that, every now and then, came through the gray sky.
In the third game of the fourth set, already a break down, Boris would throw his racquet too strong, with an incredible rebound, on such a deaf surface. Zealous, the chair umpire Gerry Armstrong would apply the warning.
That match was not arithmetically lost, yet. The Boris who had dominated Cash and smashed Lendl could well recover that break. But today's Becker was another player, more and more bothered in angry monologues, distracted in hitting with deriding balls a plastic bag flying over the stands.
It seemed to me I had been here too long, he would say in the end. Suddenly I remembered it was Monday. Against this inconsiderate Becker, Stefan Edberg kept on moving without a mistake, as that little mechanical man that goes out at midday to stress the time, on Stockholm town-hall building.
He served and volleyed, flew as an angel on that court, reduced to a riding ground, on the same poor grass Becker slipped on. Stefan looked more at ease than an English, in this English afternoon. Not by chance he chose to live in this city.
Final: Edberg b. Becker 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-2.
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