home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


September 7, 2002

Boris Becker


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you talk about the two finals we have here, the young sisters, the women. The old guys.

BORIS BECKER: Old guys, come on...

Q. How good is this for tennis?

BORIS BECKER: Well, this is definitely good for American tennis. You know, we're at the US Open, and it couldn't have been better finals than what we're going to see tonight and tomorrow. But especially in the men's side, you know, to see Pete and Andre, guys who have been examples to all the young American kids especially, but all the young kids around the world, you know, having such a great performance the last two weeks and making the final tomorrow is just great all together.

Q. Does it also say something about the quality of the Top 20, the young contingent, that two guys in their 30s can make the final here in such a punishing tournament physically?

BORIS BECKER: It says a lot about Pete and Andre, how fit they still are. You know, all the talk the last couple weeks and month, whether they're finished or not, I think they've proven a point here. They've been one of the greatest champions of all times. In a way it's no surprise that they put together another great run. On the other hand, in the last couple of Slam finals, you got young players. So there's a good mix. Hopefully you see more of Pete and Andre for the next twelve months, because this is what tennis is all about. You see Lleyton Hewitt, the current No. 1, against the former No. 1s. This is what tennis needs, you know, to see sort of a comeback from Pete, we don't need to explain how much he'd won. It's good for tennis all together.

Q. You've seen Pete struggle for two years now. Obviously, a lot of people thought his best days were behind him. He now says that. How surprised are you about what he's done?

BORIS BECKER: We shouldn't forget he reached the US Open final last year. He had an even better tournament by the type of players he's beaten. But the end of the day, his year, he's judging his year by his Slam performances. His caliber is very high. You know, for him, he has to win a Slam to call it a good year. How many players can say that? I don't think he puts the same effort and the same performance in at a regular tournament. I think if he would play eight Slams a year, he'd make four finals, you know, and maybe win one or two. But all in all, it was a critical US Open for Pete. I think if he would have lost first or second round, he would have a hard time coming back. On the other hand, if he wins tomorrow, may be a perfect ending, too. But I like Pete a lot. I respect him a lot. I'm happy to see him in the final.

Q. How tough is it for a player to do what Pete wants to do, which is really just gear for the Slams? He says he doesn't think he can dominate, nor does he want to play week in and week out. Is it possible for a great player to only play for the Slams?

BORIS BECKER: I mean, that's what happens when you've won so many tournaments throughout your career. The only ones that matter at the end of the day are the Grand Slams, for such a player like Pete's standard. He would make his life easier if he would play more often, go throughout the year. He would silence the critics, first of all. But also he would get more matches. He would be in better shape, he would be better prepared to have even a more serious chance of winning a Grand Slam. So life would be altogether easier if he would put together more performances like he's done here. But it's easier said than done, you know.

Q. Who do you pick to win?

BORIS BECKER: Both need it very much. You know, this could be the last Grand Slam final you see Agassi against Sampras. I think really there's a 50-50 chance. I don't know.

Q. The backhand, straightened it out as it went along. Were you trying to feel through your backhand?


Q. Yeah.

BORIS BECKER: No. Difficult conditions out there. It's very windy from one side. It's a huge court. You know, takes you about half an hour till you get your feel, you know, where the lines are and how hard you have to hit. The ball is funny, too. Doesn't feel very comfortable. But then as the match went on, I got more into the rhythm and the match was better.

Q. What was your preparation for this match?

BORIS BECKER: Well, I've played -- in contrast to last year, I've played a number of matches. I played a tournament or two the last week or two. It shows. More confidence. Physically fitter. Just feeling more at ease on the court.

Q. What about your charity?

BORIS BECKER: Yeah, we started Sport for Good Foundation three years ago where we have Laureus Sports Academy. It's like each year in Monte-Carlo we have an award where we give prizes to the best sports performances of the previous year. On our board, you have the who's who in sport, you have Michael Jordan, from Pele, from Dan Marino, Michael Johnson. But you got all the European and Asian, you know, top sports stars. It's about 43 members. We have a charity where we support, you know, young kids in social areas where they never had the chance to do sports. You know, because sport for us gives us all the possibilities and all the freedom. So we have projects all around the world, from Asia to South Africa. We go there, we sponsor 20 kids, 50 kids in areas where they would never have a chance ever to do cricket or football or even tennis. I'm the chairman of that charity. That's why I did it.

Q. You're not too far away from Pete and Andre in age. You're obviously not playing competitively.

BORIS BECKER: I'm proud of my generation. I'm proud to see that players I used to get beaten up by, or sometimes I did give the beating back, that they are still out there and still have a chance to win Grand Slams. It's just -- it makes me happy to see them. I know them personally well. I've played against them. It's good for me to see that.

Q. Have you talked with either of them?

BORIS BECKER: I talk with Pete from time to time, when I see him. Same with Andre, but it's really -- you don't have a chance in a Grand Slam to talk with them, they're too busy. But throughout the year when we see each other, we talk.

Q. Can I get your opinion, if you saw enough of the match, to have one on Hewitt's performance today and just where he stands as a No. 1 player?

BORIS BECKER: Well, he had an incredible tournament, year so far. And the pressure really wasn't on him today, you know? He didn't need to win, whereas Andre needed the victory more than he did. And probably the desire was greater, the determination was there. Lleyton, incredible performance at Wimbledon. But really throughout the year very, very top performer. You know, still, it's a semifinal of a Grand Slam; it's not so bad. You can't win them all. That's how it is.

Q. Last question about the tennis in general, men's tennis. How do you feel about the state of the game right now? Obviously Lleyton is No. 1. Here we have Pete and Andre ending up the year. It's a great thing for them. But what do you think of the state of the game right now?

BORIS BECKER: Well, you have an evening time, then I could tell you what's wrong with it and what's good about it. It definitely would need more matches, more tougher tournaments that we have at the US Open. Wimbledon, apart from one or two matches, was a bit boring this year. The French Open, also apart from one or two matches, it was really , you know, it wasn't very exciting. So I don't have any explanation why that is, and I don't have any explanation why out of that first round how many guys pulled out, in the first two rounds, how many top-seeded guys. There's all an explanation for it. But I'm here for a different subject.

Q. If you could make one change in the game...

BORIS BECKER: There's a reason why great champions like Pete and Andre are gearing up for the Slams, because the end of the day, those matter and those get you in all the history books. If you want to be an important tennis player, you have to win Grand Slams. It's not good enough if you're No. 4 in the world, No. 8. No. 1 is a different story, but Lleyton Hewitt won, you know, two Slams. Sometimes, the priorities of some of those young guys are not with the Grand Slams. You know, they want to play each week, they want to make their points, make their money. That's all fair and square. But it's really -- at the end of the day, you are judged by how many Grand Slams you've won, how many Grand Slam finals you reached and not by how many -- I don't want to mention a city, but lower tournaments, lower categories, how many won that. So I think that's what's basically wrong with it. The priority is wrong. It's shifted.

Q. Don't you think that somebody needs to take a hold of this and start going to the net and attacking and changing tennis, men's tennis all around? That's what I find boring about it, is the constant baseline.

BORIS BECKER: I mean, we have -- good that you bring up the point. We had a couple years ago, the power game was too big. We got too many big servers and too many quick points. The young guys developed sort of a baseline mentality where they stand three feet behind it and just hit with topspin and run left and right. The only problem is if you have two players like that, it kind of gets boring. Ideally, you have a Sampras on one side, Agassi on the other side. That's the perfect combination, or a Lleyton Hewitt and a serve and volley player. But more and more, or the other way, you see less and less serve-volley players because people, teachers don't teach that anymore. It's a lot easier to wait for mistakes than it is to go for winners or to go for risky second serves. Some of the serves Pete Sampras does is just really dangerous. You can easily double-fault. But it's really an art to be able to keep your composure, keep your nerves and be able to serve on breakpoint a 120-mile-an-hour serve down the middle. It's easier to stay back, more percentage and all that. But it's not as exciting. End of the day, I always put my money on a Pete Sampras than a baseline if he's on. It's just a very, very good example, the qualifying match, in my opinion, between Roddick and Sampras where you got, you know, one of the best up-and-coming 20-year-olds, but absolutely no chance on a medium surface against one of the best serve and volley players. It's just a very good example of how tennis can be played, you know.

Q. So using that evidence, you'd say that Sampras was going to beat Agassi in the final?

BORIS BECKER: Well, he's playing against the best returner in the game. So if he serves the way he does, he's got a shot. But he has to, especially on the second serves, he really has to go for it. He can't take any prisoners. He has to go full-out.

End of FastScripts…

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297