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Edberg, Becker to ‘renew’ rivalry

London: Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg will renew their rivalry in June to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Stella Artois Championships.

The charismatic German and the genial Swede, who contested three consecutive Wimbledon finals with Edberg coming out on top in 1988 and 1990, will face each other across the net for the first time since their 1996 title match at the Queen’s Club.

Four-times Stella Artois champion Becker will contest a first-to-eight-game pro set match on June 15 with Edberg, who won the event in 1991.

“It will be an honour to play Stefan at the 25th anniversary of the Stella Artois Championships,” said the 35-year-old Becker, who defeated Edberg in the 1996 final.

“Having won the tournament four times, the Queen’s Club holds many special memories for me. My career really took off when I won the Stella Artois title in 1985 and then Wimbledon three weeks later as a 17-year-old.

“Stefan and I enjoyed a great rivalry, playing many big matches over the years including my victory in that 1996 final at Queen’s. I am planning a similar outcome this time.”

At 17, Becker was the tournament’s youngest ever winner in 1985 and claimed three more titles in 1987, 1988 and 1996.

As well as winning six Grand Slam titles, the 37-year-old Edberg was known for his good grace on the tennis court.

He won the ATP Sportsmanship Award five times and it was renamed the Edberg Sportsmanship Award in 1996.

The pair met 35 times during their careers, with Becker leading the head-to-head 25-10.

In an age where power reigns supreme in the game, the contest should give today’s breed of players a master class in sublime serve and volley tennis.

“Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg have typified the very best of grasscourt tennis as the sport was in transition from wooden rackets to the modern power-play game,” said Stella Artois tournament director Ian Wight on Monday.

“These two have been great ambassadors for tennis, for sport and for the Stella Artois and we were absolutely delighted when they both jumped at the chance ‘for one more go at each other’ to mark our 25th anniversary.”

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