Novak Djokovic news: Boris Becker on his relationship with the Serb and why his Dad went too far
Boris Becker was one of Novak Djokovic’s big tennis heroes and he was his coach during some of his greatest triumphs, but now the German has admitted his former charge has made mistakes in his ongoing visa wrangle in Australia.
Speaking to Eurosport Germany’s Das Gelbe vom Ball podcast, the Germany tennis legend gave his views on the Djokovic drama that has dominated the build-up to this year’s Australian Open.
On how he feels for Djokovic amid his vaccination row with the Australian authorities….
I feel sorry for the poor guy at first. I know him very well and we are still close friends. A lot of things went wrong. The question is: ‘Who was the bad guy?’ The public thinks it’s Novak Djokovic. He makes a double fault sometimes, but he has had the right documents. You have to set the record straight: 26 players from the main draw asked the tournament director of the Australian Open and the state of Victoria for special permission. Of the 26 players, five have received it – including Novak.
On Djokovic withholding information over his Covid positive test…
It’s a personal decision to release your medical file. It must not become a law that you tell strangers: ‘I suffered from this two years ago and this three years ago and this last week.’ A little privacy must be allowed. Now it’s up to each person: You can say that he, as the number one in the world, has a special role, a role model function, that’s right. But despite everything, it is his life, his right and his decision. And you have to respect that as well.
On the behavior of the Djokovic family….
The father certainly overreached the goal. He will certainly regret some of the statements he made four or five days ago. The fact that statements were made by his family didn’t exactly help him. His parents are very emotional – and his brother too, that’s not always understandable.
On his relationship with Djokovic…
I was also invited to the wedding – I’ll say I’m welcome in the Djokovic clan. But that doesn’t mean that I think everything is good. Novak hopefully also appreciates me because I tell him my opinion. That doesn’t mean he always follows that opinion. I also wonder what will happen in the future? Does he want to have this sort of drama at every Grand Slam? Roland Garros has certainly been watching, Wimbledon and the other tournaments too. The regulations are getting stricter rather than looser. That’s why my opinion would be: Boy, now play the Australian Open as well as you can, but then try to realise that it will be easier for you if you’re vaccinated. Whether he does that, I don’t know.
On Djokovic’s mental strength to deal with adversity….
It’s street fighter mentality! He was in the bunker at the age of ten when the bombers flew over his city, you have to imagine that. A quarantine hotel is harmless. Nevertheless, his preparation is worse than ever before a Grand Slam. Not only has he not been on the tennis court for six days, he hasn’t been able to eat what he needs and his whole psyche was in court. After all, he didn’t know until Monday night: ‘Is it possible, isn’t it possible? Do I have to fly back?’ It’s the worst possible preparation. If he is vulnerable, it will be in the first week of the tournament. If he gets through that, then he’s the favourite for the tournament.
The Australian Open will be live on discovery+ and Eurosport from January 17th.
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