“I lied for gold” |
Becker’s former coach remembers an enormous Olympic victory
After three hours and 26 minutes, Boris Becker (then 24) and Michael Stich (23) threw their arms in entrance of 6,000 spectators on the tennis stadium de la Vall d’Hebron in Barcelona. checked out one another radiantly. run in the direction of one another. Hug one another. A second for eternity. And above all: One that few thought can be potential.
On August 7, 1992, Becker and Stich received gold on the Olympic Games. They received the ultimate in opposition to South Africans Wayne Ferreira and Piet Norval after 4 units: 7:6 (7:5), 4:6, 7:6 (7:5), 6:3.
Becker and Stich, who at the moment are 54 and 53 years outdated, had been the best German tennis gamers of all time – who, nevertheless, shared an enmity – received as a workforce. At the time, just one individual believed that this success was potential: Nikola “Niki” Pilic (82). He was the workforce supervisor of the German tennis workforce in the course of the video games.
“The event was not that enjoyable for us. We had been eradicated too early in the person matches,” Pilic remembers 30 years later. Becker, who misplaced the well-known Wimbledon remaining in opposition to Stich a yr earlier, failed in the spherical of 16 in opposition to Fabrice Santoro from France, Stich in spherical 2 in opposition to his associate Carl-Uwe Steeb. Meanwhile, only one lap in a while Mexico’s Leonardo Lavalle. Pilic’s final hope for achievement? The double!
“My solely want was that we win a medal after the individuals who had been booed,” he mentioned. Because the 2 stars didn’t like one another, he had no half in the line-up Pilic: “I did not care what they wished – I used to be the chief of the workforce. I made a decision that!”
A choice that price him lots of energy: “The two didn’t converse to one another. I needed to improve my diplomacy and mediate between them. Sometimes I used to be actually extra of a psychologist than a workforce chief. I went from one to a different making options, some of them made up. I needed to maintain her completely happy.”
He admits: “I lied for gold. But it was simply essential to overdo it.”
The victory proved him proper. “Both gamers had been very completely happy after the win,” Pilic remembers. “And so was I, of course. I might have favored to have celebrated with each of them in the night, however Michael flew again to Hamburg instantly. That was a disgrace, however I needed to settle for it.”
Becker coolly mentioned on the time: “We don’t love one another, our widespread floor is tennis. ” And Stich mentioned in retrospect: “The expectation that we have to be mates simply because we each come from (*30*) was uncommon. We all the time wished to be higher than the opposite.”
Pilic was the one one who managed to unite. The legendary workforce chief, born in 1939 in the previous Yugoslavia, accepted German citizenship in 1987 and has been residing in Croatia for eight years, and continues to be in contact with the protégés since then. “They each congratulated me on my birthday a yr in the past,” Pilic confirms. And he says: “I’m proud that the boys have all the time advised me that they know precisely what I’ve completed for them.”