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Can Becker lob Mercedes back into a winner's circle?

Boris Becker has had his share of comebacks during his 15-year tennis career. Now Mercedes-Benz hopes some of his rebound magic will rub off on its revamped "Baby Benz."

The luxury automaker, embarrassed last fall when the much-heralded new compact was shown to be potentially unsafe, is using Becker in full-page ads to announce the return of A-Class models to showrooms on Saturday."Strong is he who makes no mistakes. Stronger, he who learns from his mistakes," Becker is quoted as saying in one.

"I've often learned more from my setbacks than my successes," says another.

Mercedes stopped delivery of the egg-shaped A-Class in November after it was shown to be prone to tipping during a "moose test," or high-speed swerve. The retooled version has an electronic stabilizing system and improved suspension.

Daimler-Benz, the parent company of Mercedes, has put the cost of fixing the "Baby Benz" at $167 million. However, analysts note the losses could be greater if Mercedes fails to restore consumer confidence in the car.

Hence the newspaper ads with inspirational quotes from Becker. The campaign starts Thursday, two days before sales of the model resume.

The A-Class first went on sale in Europe last October. There are no plans yet to sell it in North America.

The semi-retired Becker signed a 10-year, multimillion-dollar sponsorship contract with Mercedes-Benz in 1996 to help find and develop new tennis talent in Germany.