The 30-year-old was beaten 7-5, 6-4 by the 27th-ranked Swede but there was some consolation for German fans when Tommy Haas upset Spain's 10th seed, Carlos Moya, 6-2, 7-5.
Becker played with fire and commitment against Gustafsson and the outcome hinged on a few points in the latter stages of each set. The three-times Wimbledon champion acknowledged later he might make another attempt next month to win the grass-court tournament which first made him famous. Becker retired from grand slam tennis after being beaten by Pete Sampras in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last year.
Becker's decision may come next week, when he will let the BBC know whether he will work as a commentator. "There is still a small chance I will play," he said. "But I don't wish to say more right now - I have been answering questions about this every month."
Becker was pleased with his play because he rallied with tenacity and aggression from the baseline against an opponent with one of the most dangerous forehands in the game.
It was not easy for him to time serve and volley forays effectively in cold, damp conditions which did not suit his attacking style. "The difference between Boris now and a couple of years ago is that before, at 4-4 and 5-5, he would play his best tennis, but now at these stages he played his worst," said Gustafsson, whose recent form has caused him to postpone a decision to retire at the end of the year.
Tim Henman, seeking extra clay-court practice at the German Open this week, is a surprise entry in the doubles with Chile's left-hander Marcelo Rios, world No 1 for two weeks recently.Reuse content