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Classic Match: Pete Sampras vs. Boris Becker 1996 ATP Championships 5

Posted on November 17, 2010 by JA Allen

Pete Sampras Vs. Boris Becker in 1996 ATP finals.

In 1990 the ATP World Tour Championships moved from Madison Square Garden in New York City to Germany, home of native tennis phenoms Boris Becker and Steffi Graf.

New York City was vacated, bowing to the wishes of the German tennis hierarchy to move the year-end tournament to Frankfurt––offering more convenience to Europeans on tour. Madison Square Garden had served as home of the “Masters Grand Prix,” as it was then known, from 1977 through 1989.

After six years, the tournament moved from Frankfort to Hanover where it was played on carpet.  Pete Sampras entered the 1996 year-end finals as the top seed while the German Boris Becker was seeded No. 6.

No one suspected the level of drama that would unfold in the final match for the championship. The German contingent, of course, hoped that Becker would do well and make the ATP final so the stands would be packed.

So far in 1996, Sampras had lost once in nine finals, ironically to Becker in Stuttgart one month prior to this tournament. Also  of note––during the year Sampras had captured one major––the 1996 U.S. Open.

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