Stefan Edberg during the match against Becker in Bremen
by Petra Philippsen
Translated into English by Markus Zacharski
It was supposed to be big challenge between the legends Boris Becker and Björn Borg, but the big old Swede had to pull off. But even with the stopgap, the "Red Baron" had fun, at least temporarily.
Meanwhile, in every event with Boris Becker there's the important question: Will he be there? A slight doubt is appropriate, because often the muscles of the "Red Baron" "closed" after getting up in the morning and then the show event didn't take place. And Becker is taking his racket not very often anymore, he isn't in best shape and he's enjoying jetset-life and shows his stamina there.
Borg injured, Edberg as stopgap
Just like on Saturday when he was in Berlin at a charity gala until late in the evening. Would he be on time in Bremen on Sunday? The organizers of "Sport & Spirit" may have sweated a bit, the event has been cancelled already once in March. The muscles and so on. But all-clear, Becker appeared in the Hanseatic city, even on time and reasonably relaxed - only his Swedish opponent was missing.
Well announced it should have been a showdown of the tennis legends Boris Becker and Björn Borg in the AWD Dome in Bremen. They wanted to make good for what hasn't taken place during their time as active players. But Borg didn't appear. In a short email including a medical certificate, the eleven time Grand Slam champion informed regretfully that his Achilles tendon was injured. It was very unpleasant for him and that's why he already had asked his fellow countryman if he could fill in for him. And this is how Stefan Edberg flew in from London.
Watch Boris, no matter at what cost
Not a bad stopgap: Six Grand Slam titles, two of them he won in Wimbledon against Becker. This hurts Becker even nowadays. 35 times they were opponents during their career, most of them were great matches. Edberg is one of the most friendly and fairest players at all, a nice guy, and someone who celebrated the nowadays out of fashion serve-and-volley game perfectly. But he doesn't reach the myth of a Björn Borg.
The spectators were informed about this modification just directly before the first serve. Being afraid of not coming and so on. But this sorrow was baseless, the 3000 sport fans would have come in any case. For someone who's paying a minimum of 43 Euro per ticket, is coming. And most of them wanted to see just "their Boris", no matter what he's doing and with whom. Even when he would have read out from a telephone book. But the crowd got its money worth. Becker was in best temper, even when he wasn't in that good shape like Edberg. The soon 42 years old Swede appeared as if he played against the world's elite yesterday. And he had in London. Against Sampras, McEnroe and Co. So the world's elite, just from yesterday.
"Haven't been living such excessively"
The formula for success: "I'm keeping myself in good shape and play tennis four times a week. But maybe I simply haven't been living that excessive", Edberg added with a wide smile after having beaten Becker 6-3, 6-4. Becker replied to this allusion with humour: "I have to think about that". True, but he had entertained the crowd very well together with Edberg.
Both haven't unlearned anything, the hands and the eyes worked well, only the tempo wasn't that high. Sometimes the rallies appeared to be in slow motion. Especially from the "Red Baron" who is rather bright blond nowadays. He savored it pleasurably, stretched himself before every changeover on the net and coquetted provocatively with his infirmities. The spectators still suffer with him. Becker knows that and he lives very well on that.
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