Tennis is a sport known to create many beautiful bonds. On the other hand, this sport has given birth to some of the biggest rivalries in sports. From Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal to Serena Williams vs. Maria Sharapova, tennis has seen some of the biggest names in action against each other. However, there is one rivalry that was the talk of the town during the nineties: the Andre Agassi vs. Boris Becker rivalry. While players like Federer and Nadal respected each other and even remained close friends off the court, Agassi nurtured an immense hatred for his rival.
In his autobiography, he recalled how he used this hate in his favor during their on-court battles. Andre Agassi remembered an incident where he wanted to punch the former German player. Having a 10-4 record against the German player, Agassi opened up a on fierce moment that brought out the worst in him.
In his gripping autobiography “Open,” Andre Agassi recalls the intense moments leading up to the New York semi-final clash against Boris Becker. The scene is set with Agassi and Becker standing at the entrance of the tunnel that leads to the Center Court. Agassi takes charge, urging the security guard to ensure a distance between them, emphatically expressing his desire to keep the “damn German” out of his sight.
“Keep us away from each other. I don’t want this damn German in sight. ” said Agassi to the guards. As the match kicks off, Becker immediately dives into his bag of antics, attempting to provoke Agassi right from the start. A surprising move sees Becker throwing air kisses to Shields, Agassi’s friend seated in the stands. The effect is explosive – Agassi’s frustration skyrockets and his urge to punch Becker becomes even strong. Years later, Agassi reflects on this almost volcanic reaction.
Within the pages of his autobiography, Agassi also delves into the keen observations of his trainer Brad Gilbert. Gilbert labels Becker with a blend of humor and critique, nicknaming him “BB Socrates.” The rationale behind this title is clear: Gilbert perceives Becker as attempting to portray himself as an intellectual while his down-to-earth nature creates a blend that echoes the philosophical teachings of Socrates himself.
The rant between Boris Becker and Agassi started at the 1995 Wimbledon
In the same book, he revealed how it all started between the two. The Wimbledon rivalry ignited in 1995 when post his final loss to Pete Sampras, Becker launched a run against Agassi. Becker scorned Agassi’s attire, deeming it unfit for his son, labeling him an elitist loner, an unlikable showman in the traveling circus, and whatnot.
Notably, Becker failed to quell personal aversion, even after ousting Agassi in the semifinals. The intense competitiveness and mutual antipathy often clouded rational actions.
Thus, the rivalry between the two players is one for the ages. These two players produced one of the greatest matches in history and their legacy will live forever. However, the rivalry between them is something that makes the sport more fun to watch.