Boris Becker finished a tennis match last night with a spotless shirt, clean shorts and no scrapes on his knees.
Clearly, he knew he was playing an exhibition.
Becker, the youngest man to win a Wimbledon singles title, followed a powerful serve and consistent volleys to a 6-4, 7-5 victory over 33-year-old Guillermo Vilas before approximately 4,500 at George Washington University's Smith Center.
Becker, 18, took only one dive all evening -- in a preliminary, soft-touch doubles match with Vilas and two Special Olympians.
"This basically was for fun," Becker said later. "I have a tough tournament in Dallas this week. I have to keep my strength and body in shape for that."
Not that he and Vilas weren't trying last night in the exhibition that benefits Special Olympics.
"He was serving big," Vilas said of Becker. "He was not holding up, and neither was I."
Becker and Vilas, both managed by Ian Tiriac, did not receive any money for playing here, according to Tiriac and exhibition organizers. That's considered very unusual these days.
"The reason for this evening was not to play great tennis," Becker said as he was crushed by autograph seekers, mostly teen-aged girls. "The reason was to make money for charity."
Vilas and Becker first played a doubles match with two Special Olympians, Denis Hagios, 20, and Chris Byrne, 29, that ended in a 2-2 draw. When it ended, Becker carried his partner, Hagios, off in his arms.
In the singles, they were not holding anything back, but they certainly were not at the top of their games. Mistakes cost Vilas the first set after they played to a 3-3 tie, and unforced errors again hurt him in the 11th game of the second set, with the set tied at 5.
Vilas -- who put up some money two years ago so Becker could travel to several tournaments -- was serving at 5-5 in the second set when his match fell apart.
After fighting off one break point, he netted a forehand at deuce to give Becker the advantage, then drove a backhand into the net off Becker's weak return of service.
"That was a big shot for me to miss," Vilas said.
Becker, fifth-ranked in the world, says experience is the only thing standing between him and the top players of the game. He plays exhibitions to learn.
Take it from Vilas, one of Becker's idols growing up: He is learning quickly.
"How good will he be?" Vilas said, echoing a question. "People keep asking me these things. He is very strong physically. He's not bad, for his age."
And how about Vilas, whose glory days were nine years ago, in 1977, when he won 15 singles titles, including the French and U.S. opens?
"For my age, I'm happy. I expect to lose some more."
The singles match turned in the seventh game of the first set, with the score 3-3, when Vilas' mistakes began to catch up to him. At 15-15, he hit a backhand wide, then a forehand wide, and was down, 15-40.
Vilas recovered with an ace to save one break point, but couldn't save the other when Becker, charging hard toward the net, drove a backhand volley deep down the line for the service break.
Becker held his serve to go up, 5-3. Vilas held serve, too, but Becker overpowered him in the 10th game, winning the set on a forehard smash.
It had been a busy day for Becker and Vilas, racing from news conferences to White House tennis matches to cocktail parties.
"Of course you will make errors at the end of a 12-hour day," Becker said.
One of their high-powered tennis partners watched last night from the stands. Secretary of State George Shultz played Becker earlier in the day. The results of that match were not disclosed.
"That's confidential," said a spokesperson, smiling.
Several other spectators seated in Shultz's section created some neck-turning before the match began: Sandra Day O'Connor, Sargent and Eunice Shriver, Alexander Haig and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), among others. The competition between Becker and Vilas is real. After Becker won Wimbledon, Vilas created a small uproar in the tennis world when he announced that he "owned half" of Becker. It turns out that Vilas is involved financially in Tiriac's management company.
But Becker says no one "owns" him.
"If a person can say that, it's my mother or my father," he said.