WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

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The Independent Online
Before Boris Becker and Steffi Graf, successful German tennis players were as rare as British ones, if not rarer. For the best part of two decades, the only German to be taken seriously at Wimbledon was Wilhelm Bungert. It was he who broke British hearts in 1967, beating Roger Taylor in a five-set semi-final. Twice himself a beaten semi-finalist, he was overwhelmed by John Newcombe in the final.

Bungert was ranked in the world's top 10 from 1963-67 and won 31 German domestic titles. He played in the Davis Cup between 1957 and 1971 and was captain for 10 years until 1987.

Nowadays, aged 56, he runs a sports goods business in Dusseldorf, specialising in tennis clothing and rackets, as well as an 18-court tennis centre, with a golf driving range and restaurant. "I started up in 1964 when I was 25," he said. "You couldn't make money from tennis then so it was something to fall back on. The company is 10 times bigger now than when I began."

His wife and 27-year-old daughter work in the business which occupies him "12 hours a day, seven days a week. But I always try to spend a few days at Wimbledon." He helped set up the "Last Eight Club", whose members reached the later stages but did not win the title.

He predicts wilderness years for German tennis: "Boris and Steffi started a boom, but with young people the novelty is wearing off."

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