Tennis: Becker terminates 10-year association with Tiriac

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BORIS BECKER has severed his links with his manager, Ion Tiriac, the father figure in an astonishing career which was launched in 1985, when the German became the youngest Wimbledon men's singles champion at 17 years and 7 months, writes John Roberts.

A statement issued from Becker's parents' home in Leimen, near Heidelberg, conveyed that one of the sport's most successful partnerships was over. Becker thanked Tiriac for his 10 years of work, but gave no reason for ending their association.

With Tiriac's guidance, Becker became the fourth highest prize-winner in the men's game, yet his dollars 12m ( pounds 8m) in official earnings was dwarfed by endorsements and sponsorships.

Becker was introduced to Tiriac in 1983 by his coach, Gunther Bosch, another Romanian, who was working with the German Tennis Federation. The trio swiftly achieved success, but after a second Wimbledon triumph Bosch parted from Becker in 1987.

Since then, Becker has worked with four other coaches: Bob Brett, Nikki Pilic, Tomas Smid and Gunther Bresnik. Bresnik, an Austrian, joined him after last year's US Open and helped him achieve his last major success at the ATP Tour Championship in Frankfurt on his 25th birthday in November. Bresnik was fired before the French Open in June, since when Becker has worked with Eric Jelen, a former Davis Cup team-mate.

Becker added a third Wimbledon title in 1989, the year in which he won the US Open. His last Grand Slam title was at the 1991 Australian Open.

Sergi Bruguera, the French Open champion, was accused of not trying at the end of a defeat by a fellow Spaniard, Alberto Berasategui,

4-6, 6-4, 6-1, at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart yesterday. Bruguera's display will be investigated by the ATP.