Boris Becker’s insight into coaching Holger Rune: ‘If your attitude isn’t right, you don’t need to play tennis’

Shahida Jacobs
Boris Becker coaching
Boris Becker looks on during a tennis match

Boris Becker has provided some exceptional analysis into his philosophy as a coach as he explained how he questioned whether or not Holger Rune lost matches “because of his attitude”.

Six-time Grand Slam winner Becker joined Rune’s coaching set-up in October with their first official tournament the Swiss Indoors in Basel.

The move came on the back of Rune’s nightmare post-Wimbledon slump that saw him lose six out of seven matches.

The Dane, though, still managed to qualify for the season-ending ATP Finals with his run to the semi-final in Basel and a quarter-final appearance at the Paris Masters pushing him over the line.

Speaking on Eurosport Germany’s ‘Das Gelbe vom Ball’ podcast, Becker explained why giving honest feedback to players is important to him as a coach as he lifted the lid on coaching Rune and meeting up with his former charge Novak Djokovic in Turin.

“The start was very intense because Holger’s participation at the ATP Finals in Turin was on the line. To put it clearly, he had a very bad summer in which he was eliminated eight times in the first round and once in the second round at nine tournaments.

“With a set and a break down in the first round in Basel, everyone thought it would be another difficult one. But he showed fighting qualities and was keen to win.

“We discussed in the preparation why he had lost the matches. Was it because of his forehand or backhand or was it because of his attitude? If your attitude isn’t right, you don’t really need to play tennis.

“It got better from match to match – his attitude anyway, but also his style of play. He lost the semi-final in Basel outright. That wasn’t a good match either.

“On the train journey from Basel to Paris, there was an internal manoeuvre critique in a crowded TGV. That has to be allowed and that’s why I asked to be able to tell my players the truth, even if it sometimes hurts.

“Things were much better again in Paris. The duel with Novak Djokovic was strange for me at the beginning – Holger on the right, Novak on the left.

“But we hugged straight away and I said to him: ‘Schatzi – we both call each other Schatzi – I want to beat you today with everything I’ve got, but I have a lot of respect for you.’ And Novak said he didn’t expect anything else from me.”

READ MORE: Holger Rune credits Boris Becker with arresting his slide this season