NYT article by Ian Thomsen:
They were singing to him like heavily bearded angels, their anthem echoing ghostily in the high cathedraled ceiling. “Happy birthday to you,” they sang, as Boris Becker tied his shoe. Becker, who turned 25 on Sunday, was about to complete another of his perfect weekends. He is hot now and beyond that; when Becker is playing as only Becker can, he creates such rare dramatic magic that it cannot be explained by Hollywood scripts or sleight of hand. This time, he beat Courier, the world’s No. 1-seeded player in straight sets, to win the ATP Tour World Championship. This season is done and the next can’t begin soon enough. The people’s king wants his throne back.
“I feel like I am the No. 1,” said Becker, conceding that his No. 5 ranking contradicts him. “The way I have played, I don’t think I can play much better. I have beaten more or less all the top guys in the world, day after day, and it means a whole lot.” Becker had, just four weeks ago, landed at the No. 10 rung on the computer rankings, a painful fall down seven steps from his ranking earlier in the year, and his lowest since he was 17 years old. Since June he had been longing to reassert himself. He roared and few trembled. He could not win any of the last seven Grand Slam tournaments. Arriving in Paris two weeks ago, at No. 9 doubtful of qualifying for the World Championship, he was considering alternatives to his rejuvenation. “I was thinking whether at all I should keep on playing or not,” said Becker, who just last year had been No. 1 for a short time. “I didn’t really care whether I would make Frankfurt or not. It was a question of me being a tennis player still or not.”
“It wasn’t so much a question of me quitting or not,” he said. He recalled a 1-6, 1-6 loss to his German rival, Michael Stich, in Hamburg two weeks before French Open. “Can you imagine how it is?” Becker said. “Then I decided that the next time, when I am playing again, I have to be fit, I have to be hungry. And then everything came back together, but that was the decision I made.”
Becker’s route to his 36th title:
rr Stefan Edberg 6-4, 6-0
rr Petr Korda 6-4, 6-2
rr Pete Sampras 6-7(5), 6-7(3)
S Goran Ivanisevic 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(7)
W Jim Courier 6-4, 6-3, 7-5
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