Benni Becker Does Clay

This is part of a regular series following Benjamin Becker’s progress on the ATP tour. This is not a Benjamin Becker fan site, we’ll trash anyone given the opportunity (constructively, of course). The idea is to follow the progress of one player on the tour as an ongoing serial biography.

Since the French Open was rained out for the second day in a row, let’s check in on Benni Becker’s clay court season.

Benni is probably happy right about now. Only one more tournament on clay and he can get back to faster courts. Like most players who depend on a big serve, the clay court season is not Benni’s favorite time of the year. Fast court players are happy if they can hang onto their ranking until Wimbledon rolls around.

The good news is that Benni started the clay court season ranked number 44 and he’s currently number 43. Not bad considering he spent last year’s season traipsing around Europe playing clay court challengers managing to win exactly one match, a victory over a player who was ranked 1259 at the time.

This year Benni got to the second round in three of the clay court tournaments he entered. Since he didn’t play those tournaments last year, you would think his ranking would have gone up more except that he had points to defend from doing well in hard court challengers last year. He had 50 points from winning a challenger in Salinas but got only 5 points after losing in the first round of Indian Wells in the same week this year. That was a net loss of 45 points and dropped him 5 places in the rankings.

The not so good news is that Benni was not picked for the German Davis Cup team’s second tie with Belgium after playing on the team earlier this year. He has also been passed in the rankings by his fellow German Philipp Kohlschreiber who thrilled Germany by winning the title at Munich. Benni did play for Germany in the World Team Championships in Dusseldorf last week but only played once in a meaningless doubles match. He should have played in Poertschach instead. Even if he’d lost early, he could have flown to Dusseldorf and practiced with his fellow Germans.

Off the court, things are rolling along. One victory over Andre Agassi can take you far. Benni ended Andre Agassi’s career by beating him in the U.S. Open last year in case you missed it. After he won that match, everyone and their mother wanted to interview him and it couldn’t have hurt his chances at getting a clothing contract with Boris Becker’s label. Benni and Boris announced the three year deal at the Masters Series event in Hamburg.

We’ll check back during the grass court season and see if Benni can keep making his way up the rankings.