Boris Becker on the future of tennis and Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic’s possible successors
Speaking exclusively to Eurosport Germany’s Vocal Athletes podcast, six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker gave his thoughts on the current crisis gripping tennis and possible successors to the Big Three at the majors.
Boris Becker… on the current situation in global tennis
“I’m concerned about the profession of the ‘tennis player’. Not about the first hundred players in the world, who hopefully have enough money in their accounts and don’t need next week’s prize money. But the thousand players, who also call themselves tennis pros, they have nothing to work for at the moment. And if this break lasts any longer, they will have to look for another job. They have to feed themselves and pay the rent.
“On the other hand, I see this as an opportunity for the three big federations ATP, WTA and ITF. They all face the same situation: there is no tennis. So, you have to think: Can there be so many tournaments in the future? Or should every major tournament be held as a so-called combined event for men and women over ten days? But that means fewer jobs for the thousands who are involved.
“What happens to the smaller tournaments like the Future and Challenger tournaments? You need these tournaments too, otherwise a young player can’t play his way up and collect points. That’s a complicated matter. But the three associations have never been on the same page, maybe it would be a chance to decide now: that’s the plan from autumn or from 2021. I’d like that.”
Boris Becker… on the possible successors of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic at the Grand Slams
“This is the one-million dollar question, we have discussed this at every Grand Slam since 2017. Dominic Thiem has already been to a Grand Slam final three times, Alexander Zverev has reached the semi-finals and Tsitsipas has reached the semi-finals, too. But none of them has reached the great success yet. Why? This is a full evening topic.
“Of course, because the three great ones [Federer, Nadal and Djokovic] are incredibly strong and have been doing so consistently for almost 15 years. On the other hand, the young players might not be good enough. In my generation, there were 20- and 21-year-olds who won Grand Slam tournaments.
“I’d like to see this change happening while the big three are still strong, not when they’re old and fragile and have retired from tennis. If the US Open or Roland-Garros still take place this year, I would like to see another final Nadal against Thiem. Maybe then the Austrian will win. I would like to see that.”
Boris Becker… on his professional dreams
“I hope that I can remain in the tennis business, my favourite sport, for a long time. Either as a coach or as a TV expert. I still enjoy it very much; I really love this sport. I really enjoy dealing with the young players and chatting with them about tennis. I also enjoy discussing tennis with Roger, Rafa and Novak. I hope it will stay that way for a long time.”
Boris Becker was a guest on Eurosport Germany’s Vocal Athletes podcast.
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