Deuce-y gossip and advice served up by Boris Becker at the Union
Quickfire shots of Boris Becker’s Sunday afternoon interview
So, The Tab is back at it again with another sports article. Do we care about sport? A glance theough the archives would indicate not, but, fear not – The Tab is now endorsing the notion of A Fit And Healthy Lifestyle™, with the hope of providing some content to the very few people in Cambridge who actually manage to lead one. New resolutions for new terms and all that.
Even if you care more about tomorrow's 9am lecture than what's going on in the sporting world (unlikely), there are at least 3 things that Boris Becker, the man who took the tennis world by storm in 1985 (winning Wimbledon at just 17 years old – no biggie) gave us the lowdown on that you ought to take notice of. Consider caring a little about them during this mid-study-session, mid-week Facebook scroll?
Mr Becker's post-Sunday lunch (or brunch for the sake of student budgets/Saturday night recovery) interview started with love, as he apologised for his delay (assuring us it wasn't his fault). He was held up by the fact that his wife's Sunday roast was too big for her to finish. (Okay Boris, thanks for the deets).
A short session of just 60 minutes (having once played a 6 hour 22 minute match against John McEnroe) nonetheless enabled us to gather several key points from the ex-Wimbledon champion for you to ponder over (be thou sportsman or not).
On judgments and first impressions
Don't take everything at face value. In particular, Mr Becker spoke of the media: "unless you really speak to the person, you don't know […] you're getting a fraction of the truth […] you have to get a much wider perspective of what's really happening."
A quick Google search will reveal that the 49-year-old has just gone bankrupt, and is contemplating both selling his Wimbledon trophies and going on 'I'm A Celebrity' to avoid debt. Well, bankruptcy aside, that's about as true as the fact that my cat can floss her own teeth.
Key takeaway: it's Week 1, don't judge every person based off that one night out; or that one ditsy thing they said. Freshers are nervous wrecks, give them a chance, and get that wider perspective – don't be too quick to make assumptions this early on.
For Boris, it was his true love and passion for the sport (and a bit of fear that if he wasn’t winning, he’d have to go back to school) that propelled him to where he is now. He admits that he had to prioritise "tennis [as] the number one, family two."
He attributes a lot of his success to having a positive start; not being forced into the sport, not having to play when he didn’t want to play, and being in control of that (if only this correlation mirrored the approach we could take to lectures and work).
Key takeaway: You are in control. Find something you truly love, and desire, and don't do anything you don't want to do; maybe that's a person, friendships, a sport, a society, cooking (?), or even your work. Divert energy to it and I promise, good things will come.
On past and present tennis players
With great humility, Boris admitted that the 17-year-old Becker couldn’t have beaten Federer (although he would have a chance against Nadal on grass, but not clay). For him, the toughest player ever faced was Pete Sampras, but he was quick to qualify that things always depended on the surface, and many other factors.
Key takeaway: don't be afraid to admit that you're not the best. You don't always have to be this competitive (I know, we all have a pretty fierce competitive edge here in Cam).
On the future of tennis
To this question, Becker came back with a bit of a spin on the answer, dismissing that there is not much to be changed about the sport. For Boris, there were to be no format changes, but simply tweaks in scheduling. He would reduce the number of tournaments: "less tournaments and more points maybe for Grand Slams."
Key takeaway: sometimes less is more. Tell this to your supervisor the next time they question you for being 900 words short of the minimum word count.
So, whilst a friend of mine was sadly confronted with the fact that the Union didn't allow him to take his CrêpeAffaire crêpe into the Chamber with him, I'm happy to report that the Union's strict rules on Deliveroo and takeout, are made up for by the deucy pieces of knowledge we got to take away.