“I lied lots 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 fingers 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 predominant factor: nobody thought it was doable.
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 – successful as a crew. At that point, just one particular person believed in this achievement: Nikola “Nicky” Pilic (82). During the Games, he was the crew supervisor of the German tennis crew.
“The match was not enjoyable for us. We have been out too early in particular person video games,” recollects Pilic 30 years later. Becker, who misplaced in opposition to Stich in the legendary Wimbledon closing 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 fulfillment? 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 crew. That’s what I made a decision!”
The resolution that took him lots 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 crew chief. I used to be giving compliments from one to a different, some of them have been made up. I needed to make him pleased.”
He mentioned: “I lied lots for gold. But it was essential to exaggerate just a little.”
The victory proved him proper. “Both gamers have been very pleased after the victory,” recollects Pilic. “And me too, of course. I need to rejoice 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 mentioned: “We don’t love one another, we now have tennis in widespread.” (*30*) again, Stich mentioned: “It was absurd to anticipate that we needs to be mates simply because we’re each from Germany. We all the time needed to be higher than others.”
Pilic was the one one who stored their heads collectively. Born in the previous Yugoslavia in 1939, he turned a German citizen in 1987 and lived in Croatia for eight years. “They each wished me a contented birthday a yr in the past,” Pilich says. And says: “I’m proud that the boys all the time inform me that they know precisely what I’ve performed for them.”