Becker: Novak Djokovic didn't spend enough time on practice court

by: Kamakshi Tandon | December 07, 2016

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"Our hands were tied a little bit because we couldn't do the work we wanted to do," Boris Becker said. (AP)

Boris Becker is calling for Novak Djokovic to recommit to training, following a recent announcement that the two will stop working together.

Becker joined Djokovic's team three years ago, with the Serb winning six Slams during their partnership and returning to No. 1 in the world. But Djokovic has now dropped to No. 2, winning just one title since the French Open, and in the final months of their partnership, Becker attended fewer of his player’s tournaments. Djokovic, who is also coached by Marian Vajda, would have multiple coaches in his box.

Though he described the split as “mutual,”—just as Djokovic did—Becker termed the second half of the season "challenging on many levels," and suggested that Djokovic had not been practicing as much as he previously did.

"Our hands were tied a little bit because we couldn't do the work we wanted to do," he told Sky Sports. "He didn't spend as much time on the practice court in the last six months as he should have, and he knows that ... Success like this doesn't happen by pushing a button. Success like this doesn't just happen by showing up at a tournament. You have to work your bottom off because the opposition does the same."

But Becker also spoke of their "unbelievable ride" together, and said the drop-off could motivate Djokovic again.

"I'm convinced ... that he will come back and regain that No. 1 position, and regain being the most dominant player in his sport," he said. “But he has got to go back to work. He has to go back to the office and practice these hours, and refocus on what made him strong in the first place."

The German former No. 1 spoke in general terms about what Djokovic has described as "private issues" that affected his performance.

"I don't know if he had any personal problems based on what I know," said Becker. "He is happily married. He has got a beautiful son. But the profession of a tennis player is probably the most selfish one in sports because it has to be about you, and he is the first to say he is a family man. So of course his wife and the rest of his family had to take back seats."

"That can't be forever, and I think that is what he meant. I don't think there were problems. I have met his wife—she is lovely and very, very supportive of her husband. But they don't spend enough time together. I had it too, 20 years ago. It is just the nature of the beast, being a tennis player."

Before coaching Djokovic, Becker worked as a television commentator.

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