Steffi Graf can only grow; Becker was able to win the fatigue of the marathon-match against Lendl
LONDON. (...) Let's talk now about the great Becker of these Championships. We didn't know, and neither did he, that the real final would be played 24 hours earlier, against Ivan Lendl. That dramatic 240-minute-match, already toughest itself, could be an insuperable handicap, after just 24 hours.
Becker's great merit was that of deleting it not only from his tired muscles, but from his mind. He perfectly knew, did Becker, that another similar marathon would end up to award Edberg, so lucky to spend his Saturday afternoon in front of a TV, in his Fulham flat.
So Becker stepped into the court determined not only to beat his direct opponent, Edberg, but the most dangerous one, the time. In the first set Becker didn't really miss anything, managed to mix power and accuracy, as I had rarely seen on a grass tennis court.
Kramer and Hoad were the first two names to cross my mind, and the two greatest, after the match, didn't turn up their noses at all, for being involved in such a comparison. Extraordinary at the net in the beginning, Becker proved himself a wonderful champion of obstinacy in refusing to give up his grip, in front of Little Stefan's partial resurrection.
The many Edberg fans will twist their mouths, remembering their hero's three missed backhand volleys on 3 consecutive set points in the second set. It looks fair to remind that Becker would escape that 0-40 always returning the Viking's serves, to eventually win the break-point thanks to a racquet-breaking backhand.
The disappointing Stefan of the third set managed nevertheless to get the 86% of his first serves in, so it looks too easy, and a little unfair, to only blame Edberg's faults for Becker success. This tennis 1989 is nice because it's various.
Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, all had three different winners, Lendl, Chang, Becker. Edberg, missed two finals. So at just one stage from the finish line, four are running for the World Champion Title. What more could we ask?
FINAL: Becker b. Edberg 6-0, 7-6, 6-4
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