Boris Becker labels Andy Murray an ‘absolute role model’ to younger generation

Ewan West
Andy Murray in action
Andy Murray at the Australian Open

Former world No 1 Boris Becker has hailed Andy Murray as an “absolute role model” to the younger generation of players after his recent Challenger Tour title.

The six-time Grand Slam champion feels both Murray and Stan Wawrinka are still competing due to their love of tennis, rather than for money.

Murray defeated 17th-ranked Tommy Paul 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the final of the Aix-en-Provence Challenger event last week. The Challenger Tour 175 tournament was his first title at any level since winning the ATP 250 event in Antwerp in 2019.

The 35-year-old’s victory was his third on the Challenger Tour and saw him set a record for having the longest gap between Challenger titles at 17 years and eight months.

The Brit’s triumph helped him climb 10 places up to No 42 in the ATP Rankings this week – his highest position in five years and since undergoing hip resurfacing surgery in 2019.

Murray was defeated by Fabio Fognini in an entertaining three-set opening round contest at the Italian Open on Wednesday.

Becker expressed his admiration for the former world No 1’s attitude following his success at the event in southern France.

“The question is: Why does he play a Challenger tournament? Because he simply knows that even an Andy Murray needs match experience and the victories on the court,” Becker said.

“Now he comes to the unloved red clay – I know what he’s talking about – and doesn’t mind going to the Challenger. And what does he do? He wins it against Tommy Paul, who is also ranked in the top 20 in the world.

“He actually does everything you would advise a junior player to do – as a former world No. 1, two-time Wimbledon winner and decorated Scot – because he knows he has to stay in match mode. That’s an absolute role model for the younger generation.”

The tennis great then asserted that up-and-coming players could learn a lot from Murray and Wawrinka – both three-time major winner’s playing well into their thirties.

“The fact that these great stars still play is not the money, it’s there. It’s just the love of the game,” the German continued. “They know they need match experience to develop and get better. I don’t always see that with the younger players.

“I see many matches where I ask myself why they play at all. I don’t see the passion there, nor the ability to suffer – something you can’t say about Wawrinka or Murray. They always leave their soul on the court and play tennis for the right reasons.”

Like Murray, 38-year-old Wawrinka continues to compete after several injury setbacks in recent years.

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