“I lied rather a lot for gold” |
Becker’s former coach recalled the nice Olympic victory
Three hours and 26 minutes later, Boris Becker (then 24) and Michael Stich (23) shook palms in entrance of 6,000 spectators at Barcelona’s de la Vall d’Hebron tennis stadium. checked out one another beaming. ran to one another. They hugged one another. An everlasting second. The major factor: nobody thought it was attainable.
On August 7, 1992, Becker and Stich gained gold on the Olympic Games. They gained in 4 units in opposition to South Africans Wayne Ferreira and Piet Norval in the ultimate: 7:6 (7:5), 4:6, 7:6 (7:5), 6:3.
Becker and Stich, now 54 and 53, are arguably the best German tennis gamers of all time, however they’ve solely been feuding – profitable as a workforce. At that point, just one particular person believed in this achievement: Nikola “Nicky” Pilic (82). During the Games, he was the workforce supervisor of the German tennis workforce.
“The match was not enjoyable for us. We had been out too early in particular person video games,” remembers Pilic 30 years later. Becker, who misplaced in opposition to Stich in the legendary Wimbledon last a yr in the past, didn’t face Stich in the spherical of 16 in opposition to France’s Fabrice Santoro, and in the 2nd spherical in opposition to compatriot Karl-Uwe Stieb. In flip, after one lap, the Mexican Leonardo Lavalle. Pilic’s final hope for achievement? Double!
“My solely want was to get a medal after dropping people,” he says. The indisputable fact that the 2 stars disliked one another performed no half in his lineup. Pilic: “I do not care what they need – I used to be the chief of the workforce. That’s what I made a decision!”
The choice that took him rather a lot of effort: “They did not speak to one another. I needed to maximize my diplomacy and mediate between them. Sometimes I used to be extra of a psychologist than a workforce chief. I used to be giving compliments from one to a different, some of them had been made up. I needed to make him joyful.”
He stated: “I lied rather a lot for gold. But it was essential to exaggerate just a little.”
The victory proved him proper. “Both gamers had been very joyful after the victory,” remembers Pilic. “And me too, of course. I need to have fun with them in the night, however Michael has already flown to Hamburg. It was a disgrace, however I needed to settle for it.”
Then Becker coldly stated: “We don’t love one another, we now have tennis in widespread.” (*30*) again, Stich stated: “It was absurd to count on that we ought to be buddies simply because we’re each from Germany. We at all times wished to be higher than others.”
Pilic was the one one who stored their heads collectively. Born in the previous Yugoslavia in 1939, he grew to become a German citizen in 1987 and lived in Croatia for eight years. “They each wished me a cheerful birthday a yr in the past,” Pilich says. And says: “I’m proud that the boys at all times inform me that they know precisely what I’ve carried out for them.”