Tennis: Becker is dropped by Germany: Pilic rules out former Wimbledon champion for Davis Cup selection

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THE three-times Wimbledon champion, Boris Becker, who has been embroiled in public rows about Germany's Davis Cup team, will play no part in helping his country defend their title this season.

The team captain, Niki Pilic, said yesterday the Becker would not be selected if Germany reached the final after this week's semi-final against Russia because he had not competed in the earlier rounds.

'Boris is very welcome in the team but not until next year,' Pilic said in the German magazine Stern. 'If we get into the final I can't pick him . . . I have a moral obligation. I can't pick someone who has not played all year and then throw out someone else who has been in the team all season.'

The experienced coach, who has been in charge of Germany's three Davis Cup triumphs, said Becker would need to play from the early rounds next year.

Becker, who led Germany to their first triumph in 1988 and helped them defend the title the following year, has not played for his country since September 1992 when he took part in a relegation playoff against Belgium. He was expected to play the quarter- final against Spain on his favourite grass surface last July but withdrew at the last minute.

Becker's decision to miss the prestigious team competition to concentrate on his ranking last year came under heavy fire from team mate Michael Stich.

Although the German tennis federation (DTB) chief, Claus Stauder, said recently that it was too early to rule out Becker for the year, Pilic seems to be following Stich's line.

Earlier this year, Stich signed a special contract which committed him to an increased role within the DTB. Federation officials said there were on-going talks about a similar contract with Becker.

Asked if he would be happy if there was a deal with Becker by 1995, Pilic said: 'I would be if Boris played from the first round . . . It is not acceptable for us for Boris to come to the team too late. Sometimes the first round is like a final.

'Either you want to play for Germany or you don't. It is a matter of feeling.'

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