Boris Becker insists this year’s US Open winner will not have an asterisk against their name
Eurosport tennis expert and six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker looks at some of the key talking points ahead of this year’s US Open from Flushing Meadows.
What are your expectations for the tournament?
BB: “It is exciting that tennis is back on the map. And it is exciting that after a lot of question marks that a Grand Slam is actually happening. If you had asked me in May and June, I would have been worried. I am excited that the big one is starting.”
Does the US Open have the same value with so many players not playing?
BB: “You have to respect the players that are playing. It is nobody’s fault if players are not playing – it doesn’t mean the tournament has less value. It just means some of the big names on the men’s and women’s side are not there – it’s their tournament to miss. You can’t criticise the players, or diminish the players that have gone over and travelled to America to play tennis. To win seven five-set matches is tough over two weeks. It is physically and mentally very tough, so whoever wins should have the greatest respect.”
Do you think there will be an asterisk next to the name of the winner of the US Open with so many players missing?
BB: “It will mean as much as ever to whoever wins the tournament. It’s as important ever. It’s a great effort by everyone who has travelled to New York, making themselves available to play in a Grand Slam. Seven matches, five-set matches, it’s tough, very tough. So whoever holds that trophy in a couple of Sunday’s time will be a deserved winner. We should give them the respect they deserve.”
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Do you think anyone can stop Novak Djokovic in this US Open and who do you see as his biggest rival for the trophy?
BB: “Of course, Novak is the top favourite, he is the number one player in the world. But for him, it is going to be very odd to be playing in front of an empty stadium. He thrives on the people in the stands, he loves to play in front of 25,000 crazy New Yorkers. For him not to have that is a disadvantage, it’s an advantage for the lesser players to not have fans in the stadium. The better players are used to having people in the stadium, they have it on the regular tour whereas in the smaller tournaments you don’t have full stadiums. I’m interested to see how the top guys handle that in the first couple of rounds especially.”
No Nadal, no Federer. Is Djokovic a certainty to win?
No, no. It’s not like that. We shouldn’t forget that everyone, including Djokovic was off. Nobody could play in any matches. Even if you are Novak Djokovic with 17 Grand Slams under your belt, you still need tournaments, you need your rhythm. Playing one tournament just before is good, but it’s not your ideal preparation, especially for Novak.
Boris Becker is part of Eurosport’s US Open tennis coverage, which starts on Monday 31 August LIVE on Eurosport and the Eurosport App across Europe (exc UK&Ire) – https://www.eurosport.com/tennis/
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