On this day: 17-year-old Boris Becker wins the first ATP title at Queen's


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On this day: 17-year-old Boris Becker wins the first ATP title at Queen's

Boris Becker made the professional debut at the age of 15 in Cologne back in 1983, scoring the first triumph next spring in Luxembourg on an indoor carpet, followed by victories in Hamburg and Munich before heading to the sacred courts at Wimbledon.

A red-headed German was one of the stories of the tournament after reaching the third round at the age of 16, a clear indicator of what was about to happen a year later, playing five more events from October to finish that 1984 season in the top-70 after reaching the quarter-final of the Australian Open just after turning 17!

The start of 1985 was not that good for the promising youngster, winning only ten out of the first 19 matches before changing that in Rome where he advanced into the last four without losing a set before Yannick Noah halted him in the battle for the place in the final.

Mats Wilander was too strong in the second round at Roland Garros and it was a completely different story once the grass season started, with Boris entering the prestigious Queen's event from inside the top-30 and seeded 11th.

Competing in the 24th ATP tournament of his young career, Boris went all the way to lift his maiden ATP title, losing a single set in six matches! He defeated three American players for the place in the quarters, toppling world no.

7 Pat Cash 6-4, 6-4 and scoring an even easier win over Paul McNamee to secure the spot in the first ATP final. There, Becker took down a two-time Major champion on this surface and a Wimbledon quarter-finalist Johan Kriek 6-2, 6-3 in just over an hour to complete a fantastic run at one of the oldest and most prestigious events in the calendar, setting eyes on the first prize at Wimbledon despite the very young age.

Boris had 11 aces in total and his booming initial shot made all the difference together with his return that delivered three breaks of serve, more than enough for a commanding win. Kriek had a chance to open the match with a break of serve but the German fended off a break point with a service winner, bringing the game home after a few deuces for a vital hold.

Johan held in game two with a good serve but Boris had a few on his own for a 2-1 lead, finding the rhythm behind the initial shot and controlling the points with volleys at the net. Kriek leveled the score at 2-2 with a comfortable hold although he couldn't do much against Becker's fast and well-placed serves that sent him 3-2 after a hold at love in game five.

Boris made a great job on the return in the following game to break Johan with a backhand lob winner, confirming the advantage with another ace in game seven to move 5-2 ahead. The momentum was on his side, closing the opening set with another break in game eight following a forehand down the line winner, eager to maintain that form in the rest of the encounter.

After four good holds on both sides at the beginning of the second set, Kriek reached deuce on the return in game five before Boris blasted two winners to bring the game home, sending the pressure to the other side of the net.

Becker was too good in his games and broke after a great battle in game eight, creating a 5-3 gap and serving for the match in the game that followed. Four service winners clinched the title for the young German who stayed calm in his triumph, just like he knew there's so much more for him to come in three weeks when he would become the youngest Wimbledon champion.

By the end of the season, Boris Becker was one of the best players in the world (he turned 18 in November) and started an assault on Ivan Lendl and the leading position on the ATP list, winning many more titles on the fastest surfaces and becoming one of tennis legends, especially on the fastest surfaces.