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Tributes flow for Doohan the ‘Becker wrecker’ | VIDEO, PICTURES Newcastle’s Peter Doohan after defeating Boris Becker at Wimbledon in 1987.
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Peter Doohan waves to a friend as he leaves the court with a happy Pat Cash after their doubles triumph on October 03, 1987.

Peter Doohan and Pat Cash in the Davis Cup, October 3, 1987.

Pat Cash leaps for a forehand smash as Peter Doohan looks on in the Davis Cup doubles encounter, March 15, 1987.

Peter Doohan (foreground) with Alton Bowen in 2012.

Peter Doohan and Rod Stubbs, at Nelson Bay Tennis Club.

Peter Doohan in November 2012.

Peter Doohan in 2011.

Peter Doohan at the Nelson Bay courts during upgrades in 2009.

Peter Doohan with Roger Federer in 2011.

Peter Doohan and Pat Cash at the Davis Cup Semi at White City VS India on October 3, 1987.

Peter Doohan in action in April, 2005.

Peter Doohan in 1987.

Peter Doohan in action against Leconte, January 14, 1988.

Peter Doohan in 2001.

Newcastle tennis player Peter Doohan was inducted into the Hunter Region sporting hall of fame in 2005.

Peter Doohan.

TweetFacebookOur tribute to Peter Doohan. #RIP#FightMNDpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/F9wAN2Lov6

— Tennis (@Tennis) July 22, 2017RIP mate! You were the better player …#PeterDoohanpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/97I3wKF7Uo

— Boris Becker (@TheBorisBecker) July 22, 2017My heartfelt condolences to the family of #PeterDoohan ! The tennis fraternity lost a great guy and wonderful player ! #tennisaustralia

— Boris Becker (@TheBorisBecker) July 22, 2017Newcastle Herald journalist Carrie Fellner spoke to Peter Doohanabout his devastating diagnosis. Here is her story from May 21, 2017.

Hunter sporting great Peter Doohan has spoken bravely about his battle with motor neurone disease, revealing he is about to begin a course of powerful, experimental drugs in a bid to prolong his life.

The 56-year-old admitted things have been “up and down” since hereceived the shock diagnosis last Tuesday, with his neurologistgiving him months to live.

There has since been an outpouring of support for Doohan, both from within the Hunter and the broader tennis community.Pat Cash, Wally Masur and John Fitzgerald have been among those to send messages of support from and abroad.

Doohan spoke to theNewcastle Heraldon Sunday from a pub near the Sydney hospital where he will begintreatment on Monday.

He was accompaniedby family members so he could watch his beloved Newcastle Knights take on the Panthers.

“They are very powerful drugs to try and settle down my immune system, which happens to be in overdrive,” he said.

“I’m just hopingto get some strength back, because at the moment my body is very weak. A little bit of quality time would be good. I won’t ask for too much”.

Doohan – better known as the “Becker Wrecker” –pulled off one of the most memorable upsets in tennis history with his defeat of two-time defending championBoris Becker at Wimbledon in 1987.

By doing so he helped clearthe way for Pat Cash to claim eventual victory in the tournament.

“I’ll have to remind him to send me the royalty cheque in the mail,” he joked.

Doohan counts his undefeatedDavis Cup record and his singles win over Andre Agassi among other career highlights.

Hereached a career-high world ranking of 43 in singles and 15in doubles, winning six ATP titles.

Will O’Neil, who runs the Cessnock Tennis Centre, has been close friends with Doohan for decades and said the news had left him “completely and utterly gutted”.

He said he was“clinging”to hope that the experimental drug treatment wouldbe a success.

“Peter is a friend and a mentor and someone I’ve looked up to since I was 10 years old,” he said.

“He’s an absolute gentleman and a real stalwart for Newcastle. A finer example of a gentleman you couldn’t find.”

Motor neurone disease is terminal disease wherepeople progressively lose use of their limbs and their ability to move, speak, breathe and swallow. The mind and senses usually remain intact.

There is no known cause or cure for the disease, which has an average life expectancy of two-and-a-half years.

More than 2000 people have the disease in , about 60 per cent male and 40 per cent female.

Mr O’Neilwas confident Doohanwould fight his battle with the same tenacity that earnedhim the nickname‘The Bear’ on the court.

“That’s why I’m still giving him a chance, I know how much of a fighter he is,” he said.

“You’d think you had the match and then you’d lose and go ‘I don’t know how the hell that happened, but it did.’”

Doohan spent his formative years atMerewether High School, playing tennis at District Park in Broadmeadow on weekends under the guidance of coach Frank Brent.

After turning professional, he spent 20 years playing and coaching in the United States. He was based inArkansas, where his sons John and Hunter still live.

Doohan returned to Nelson Bay in 2009 and coached up until June last year. Since becoming unwell, he has been spending much of his time with his mother, who lives in Hamilton South.

Reflecting on his career, he said one of the most rewarding aspects has been the close bonds forgedwith many of his former students and their parents.

“I get a lot of satisfaction from the way those students grow and learn life lessons through sport,” he said.

Tennis taught children integrity, he added, because unlike other sports they were forced to make line calls against themselves.

“Things like perseverance, persistence, commitment and hard work.We don’t expect them all to be Wimbledon champions. The reason we play sport is because of the things they learn for life.”

Doohan admitted he is passionate about his home town, to “the point of being overzealous”.

“I love the Knights,” he said. “I flew back from the US in 2001 to watch them win the premiership.”

He said his proudest moment as a Novocastrian was when his Wimbledon winwas ranked number four in the Herald’stop 101significant moments in Hunter history.

Mr O’Neil describedDoohan as a “true mate” and a very caring dad to his two boys.

“The amazing part about Pete is he will just always go out of his way to help you.”.

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