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Sep 14, 2012, 05.21 PM IST
Tennis star-turned businessman Boris Becker tells Rani Singh that to become the very best in your chosen profession, you have to cross your own limit.
Tennis star-turned businessman Boris Becker tells Rani Singh that to become the very best in your chosen profession, you have to cross your own limit
Boris Becker is a former World Number One professional tennis player. In 1985, he was the first German, and the youngest man, at 17, to win a Wimbledon championship. His record remains unbroken. He is a six-time Grand Slam singles champion and won another 49 singles titles over 14 years. They include two more Wimbledons, two Australian Open titles, a US Open, and an Olympic gold medal in the men’s doubles competition.
My strong desire was always to give my best, to win. I was not satisfied with second place. It is part of my DNA; it’s not something you can teach. It comes from within. I was successful quite young.
Sport is unique in that you retire at an early age, while you’re still young and not experienced. Most sports champions don’t do too much after that. When I retired from professional tennis in 1999, I felt it was important to take a break and take a good look at myself. I was too mentally involved with tennis. I thought I was still good enough to play the game. I wanted to try new things - and possibly fail at a few!
Nothing comes easy. It’s rare for a business to grow quickly or to hit a ball straight down the line. Most business deals and big tournament wins come through heartache and difficult moments that you have to overcome. You shouldn’t lose the focus of why you started in the first place. Unfortunately, most people, in tennis and in business - they give up at the first hurdle. That’s why you don’t have so many successful people. A very few find a way to overcome the problem, find a solution. That’s where you make a difference.
I’m a team player and a family man. Throughout my life, I’ve had very good mentors and very good people around me. They were all 25-30 years older than me. They helped me to get to where I wanted to go. My father, Karl-Heinz, was my first mentor. My first tennis mentor was the Romanian, Ion Tiriac. I was 15 when I met him. I was with him for 10 years. He started as a tennis manager. I opened up Germany for him. My third mentor was the late Dr Axel Meyer-Wölden.
It started because I managed to do a few things in tennis that nobody had done before. By the time I turned 26, 27, I understood what brands were. I felt that in sport, I was able to become a brand. Playing for so many years in front of millions of people, they have a certain expectation when they meet Boris Becker. That quickly becomes a reality. If you’re smart and surround yourself with the right people, you quickly become a brand.
I’d like to think it stands for sport, breaking records, being very multicultural, very international, nothing is impossible.
Jun 19 2013, 23:15
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Jun 19 2013, 12:44
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