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Benjamin Becker: The Biofile

Becker© Getty ImagesBenjamin Becker is a former World No. 38.

Eight years ago at the US Open, Benjamin Becker - playing just his fifth tour-level event - famously defeated Andre Agassi in the American legend's last professional match. Now aged 33, the German has more than 100 match wins to his name, including a pair this week en route to the quarter-finals at the Topshelf Open in 's-Hertogenbosch.

The World No. 83 recalls his first encounters with his tennis idols, shares his greatest sports moment and looks back on his strangest match in this Biofile with Scoop Malinowski.

First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: Ooh, that's a good question. The first one that comes to mind is Boris Becker. Because the first time I met him was during Davis Cup. Obviously, I saw Roger (Federer) before but Boris Becker just sticks out because he was my biggest idol and when you meet him for the first time and shake his hand, it leaves an impression on you. Obviously, seeing Andre Agassi at the US Open before I played him (in his final ATP match) made an impact but Boris Becker just sticks out in my mind.

Last Book Read: Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett. It was in German.

Current Car: I have no car right now. My wife has a Mazda.

Greatest Sports Moment: To be honest, greatest moment of my career was winning the NCAA title with my team (Baylor).

Most Painful Moment: Was losing my Davis Cup ties, which I'm 0-5. They hurt the most.

Strangest Match: One of the strangest matches I played was this year. I played Jesse Huta Galung in Zagreb. It was such an up and down match, I wasn't feeling well, he wasn't playing well for certain times. Then I was down in the second 5-2, 15-40...I saved like seven match points. I was up 5-3, 40-love, somehow he came up with some shots. Then he was up 5-1 in the breaker. And I came out 8-6. To me, obviously, I got lucky. But it was the strangest match I ever played.

Funny Tennis Memory: If I make a bad mistake I try to laugh. But usually I'm very serious on the court so I don't even know a funny tennis moment. There's some pranks in the locker room and we did some in college - you put something in somebody's locker when he comes in in the morning. Especially in Cincinnati you see some pranks between some players. But usually it stays inside, so we don't tell exactly what it is [smiles]. But there's some funny moments. But it's getting more and more serious which is kind of sad.

Favourite Sport Outside Tennis: Basketball.

Funniest Players Encountered: (Gael) Monfils [smiles].

Three Athletes You Like To Watch & Follow: Dirk Nowitzki. Bastian Schweinsteiger. Federer.

Why Do You Love Playing Tennis: I started competing early and it's just such an interesting sport. So many aspects of the game. It's so interesting, not just the physical, it's the mental part. Anything that belongs to be a tennis player, it just makes it very interesting to watch and to play. And sometimes it's painful, sometimes you obviously enjoy it even more. It's just one of the best sports to watch I think.

Best Match You Played: (Sebastian) Grosjean, 2006, second round, US Open. I played exactly how I wanted to play and very aggressive, didn't miss much and just really took it to him.

People Qualities Most Admired: Honesty. Loyalty. Kindness. Those are three things I look for in a person and I try to impress on myself as well.  

Courtesy of Scoop Malinowski, tennis-prose.com

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