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Tennis Rivalries: Stefan Edberg vs. Boris Becker
Tuesday, 06/06/2023
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One of the most hotly contested rivalries in tennis history was between the Swede, Stefan Edberg, and the German, Boris Becker. Between the years of 1984 and 1996, the two  tennis masters played against each other 35 times. Arguably, during that time both were at the peak of their powers and often contested for the big prizes. For the latest tennis odds for the most modern of rivalries, head to Fanduel. 
The Rivalry That Spurred On Both Players
Without the rivalry, there is an argument that neither player would have reached the peaks that they did. Indeed, Edberg had to raise his game to compete with Becker who was already far more accomplished at tennis. Fans of the sport knew this too which meant that matches between the two were hotly contested. So was the demand for tickets with thousands wanting to see the two compete against each other.
According to the statistics, Becker had the better of the rivalry more often than not. Out of those 35 clashes, Becker won 25 with Edberg winning just ten. However, that fact glosses over how close the matches were with several going the distance. Tiebreakers were often the deciding factor in closely-contested sets, let alone matches.
The Grand Slam Rivalry
In Grand Slams, Edberg actually had the edge over Becker which does seem surprising. This proved that when it ultimately mattered, Edberg could raise his game and triumph over Becker. In those four Grand Slam contests, Edberg won three times and Becker only had the single triumph. That victory was in the final at Wimbledon in 1989, the middle one in a series of three consecutive finals between the pair. 
Before that, Edberg had beaten Becker the previous month in the semi-finals of the French Open. The other meeting was in the 1988 Wimbledon Final when Edberg won in four sets. Becker would gain his revenge the next year but in 1990, Edberg won his Wimbledon title back. If you want to place a bet on a similar rivalry in a Grand Slam, find the latest tennis odds from FanDuel
The Wimbledon Finals
Between 1988 and 1990, Edberg and Becker solely contested the three Wimbledon finals. Becker was the favorite in 1988 and took the first set 6-4 then Edberg leveled on a tiebreaker in the memorable second set. Edberg had shown his courage and nous then took the third set 6-4, and the fourth set 6-2. While Becker was the favorite, few were surprised that Edberg eventually won.
After losing to Edberg in the semi-finals of the French Open just a month earlier, Becker needed to prove a point at Wimbledon in 1989. He won the opening set 6-0, won the second set on a tiebreaker then won the third set 6-4. After such a conclusive victory, it may seem strange that this was Becker’s final Wimbledon triumph.
A year later, Edberg was two sets up after winning both six games to two. Becker came back to win the next two sets six games to three. After breaking Edberg early, the comeback looked to be on for Becker yet Edberg eventually prevailed. 
In Other Tournaments
While Edberg had the edge in Grand Slams, Becker had a 4-2 record in ATP World Tour Finals. He also had a 2-0 record in WCT Finals and a 2-1 record in ATP Masters Series. In ATP International Series, it was 13-4 to Becker and 3-0 to Becker in the Davis Cup. Fair to say that Becker dominated Edberg, aside from the Grand Slams.
How The Rivalry Inspired Others
The Wimbledon finals between 1988 and 1990 would go down in history yet the rivalry also proved inspirational. When Roger Federer broke the record for the most men’s singles Grand Slam titles, he cited the rivalry itself. This was after the 2009 Wimbledon final and Federer commented that the Becker-Edberg rivalry had encouraged him personally. Perhaps if it was not for the rivalry, Federer may have chosen soccer instead of tennis.
The Continuation Of The Rivalry
Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg continued their rivalry into the modern age. While Becker coached Novak Djokovic, Edberg had begun coaching Roger Federer from the 2014 season. However, the coaching rivalry was to be short-lived. 
By the end of the 2015 season, Federer had parted ways with Edberg as a coach. By the end of the following season, Becker had split from Djokovic.
Part of the appeal of the Edberg vs Becker rivalry was how opposites attract. Both had a similar game and range of shots but they were totally different individuals. Becker was a loud, somewhat obnoxious German while Edberg was a rather reclusive Swede. Many still consider Edberg to be the master of serve and volley while Becker excelled with his serve. 
By the early Nineties, Becker and Edberg were considered the best two tennis players. Certainly of their time, possibly of all time, until the likes of Federer, Murray, and Djokovic came along. It is also fair to say that both Edberg and Becker were exceedingly popular in Germany. Becker’s popularity was understandable yet it proved hard not to like Edberg, even if he often denied Becker.