Becker: Djokovic ‘felt he had been left behind a little’

by: Matt Cronin December 20, 2013

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Boris Becker, who was just appointed as Novak Djokovic’s head coach, says that Serbian wasn’t totally satisfied with his season and that he aims to gain ground on rivals Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.

“He had a couple of bad losses this year, in finals and semifinals,” Becker told the BBC’s Radio 5 Live. “He is such a winner, he wants to win so badly. The fact that Nadal has taken over [the No. 1 ranking] and Murray has moved up a gear, he felt he had been left behind a little bit. I am talking at a really high level here, we’re talking about those five or ten percent that had maybe been missing for whatever reason. He was very impressed with the level of Murray’s relationship [with Lendl] and the comeback of Nadal. He felt he needed someone in his corner who had been there and done it, what he’s trying to do.”

Becker revealed that Djokovic first contacted him during the Beijing tournament in October. Djokovic went undefeated during the fall season including scoring two wins over Nadal, who had beaten him at Roland Garros and the U.S. Open.

“I was surprised,” said former No. 1 Becker, who has never been a full-time coach, but has consulted with Tommy Haas, Nicolas Kiefer and Florian Mayer. “I didn’t expect that phone call, but I was honored for such a good player to call me and ask for my services. I said: ‘I want to meet you in Monte Carlo [where he has a residence], let’s talk this through and see how much you want it, how much that fire is burning inside you, how much is left and what I can bring to the table.’

“We had a great day and a half in Monte Carlo, we chatted about everything and then we kept in touch over the next couple of weeks. Whenever he played a tournament I was speaking to his agent about some of the things I wanted him to change, some of the strategies I wanted him to change. But we kept it on the down-low because it was pretty big news.”

Becker and Djokovic have begun to work together at a training camp in Spain. He is committed to being at 12 tournaments next season, and will head to an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi on December 27 with Djokovic.

“I’ve been commentating now a long time on TV … I still feel like I know the game better than most. [Djokovic] must have heard me commentating, he must have liked my opinion,” Becker said.

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