Novak Djokovic christened the Lion King by former coach
World No 1 Novak Djokovic has transcended tennis after his incredible 2023 season, according to former coach Boris Becker.
Becker believes that Djokovic should be talked about in the same breath as the likes of Lionel Messi, Tom Brady and LeBron James.
He feels that maintaining athletic dominance later into your thirties is a truly rare feat, and he gave Djokovic a new nickname.
Becker called him the Lion King as he waxed lyrical in his praise for the Serbian superstar.
The German said that he was in awe of the achievements Djokovic had stacked up just this season.
“For me, he is the lion king,” said Becker in Eurosport Germany’s tennis podcast Das Gelbe vom Ball.
“We do our best to teach tennis fans what is impossible to teach: What this player has won in his 16 or 17-year career and that he is perhaps playing his best tennis at the age of 36.
“He has won three Grand Slam tournaments this year and reached the final at Wimbledon – he was close to the calendar Grand Slam at the age of 36. This is out of this world.
“He plays two and a half hours in Paris on Thursday, three hours against [Holger] Rune on Friday, another three hours against [Andrey] Rublev – a normal person gets tired, Novak gets better and then beats a strong [Grigor] Dimitrov in straight sets in the final. He then does the same again at the ATP Finals.”
Becker believes a case can be made for Djokovic being the best sportsman in the world right now.
He hopes that Djokovic will maintain this level for a few more seasons as it will be fantastic for the sport for younger players to sharpen themselves against perhaps the greatest of all time.
“Maybe you have to look at it more generally and he’s not just the best tennis player at the moment, but the best sportsman,” Becker claimed.
“I want to compare him to a Lionel Messi, a LeBron James and a Tom Brady – for me, that’s the category Novak Djokovic is in because all these athletes are dominating or have dominated their sport even in their mid or late thirties.
“Djokovic does the same. I hope he continues to do so for a long time because nothing better can happen to young players than to compete on the same level as the most successful player of all time. That’s the best lesson in tennis.”
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