GOAT race is an obsession for Novak Djokovic
Boris Becker believes that Novak Djokovic will not be able to rest until he can claim to be the most successful player in the history of the game.
Becker, who worked as a coach for Djokovic and has a close friendship with the World No 1, believes that it will take some doing to eclipse his rivals even if he has drawn level with Rafael Nadal for Grand Slam wins.
Djokovic was unstoppable in Melbourne as he swept to a record-extending tenth Australian Open title.
Becker believes that the race is no longer against Nadal and Roger Federer but rather against time and his own body.
The German says that even as a young player, Djokovic always set out to be the best there ever has been in a material way.
“Novak is 35 years old and he knows at 40 he won’t manage this performance,” he said.
“I think it will be a hell of a ride after the Australian Open. It will be a completely different act and a completely different burden in Paris and Wimbledon.
“Success is his life’s dream, he wants to become the most successful player in history.
“Even as a child he said: I’m going to be the best – and he was right. And now he is at the limit.”
Becker believes that what Federer has mean to both tennis and the world of sport will be something that no player can match.
“The world hasn’t seen anything like that yet.
“You can take footballers and basketball players and track and field athletes. This total package Roger Federer – and then he also grew up in neutral Switzerland.
“With Roger, everything is so perfect, almost too good to be true. That will never happen again in tennis and that is also why tennis has become such a global sport. Good luck to the guys who want to take over.”
Becker believes that the sport is preparing for a seismic shift and feels that the game’s top players will struggle to fill the big four void.
“We are seeing the generational change at the moment,” he added. “Roger Federer is already gone, Rafael Nadal is one step away for me. He will play Paris, after that I see a question mark.
“Novak Djokovic will definitely go through this season, but if he makes 23 [Grand Slams] and turns 36 next year, then it’s a question of time. The generational change is happening now.
“I mean, that’s a hell of a hurdle. One is to win Grand Slams, the other is to represent the sport. With Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, we have had three idols who have attracted not only tennis fans but sports fans in general. This has made our sport more global and richer. That’s why there is this prize money and advertising investment.
“That becomes the big challenge for the boys: Not only to win, but also to represent something – and that’s a whole other construction site”.
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