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Boris Becker joins Novak Djokovic’s team in Abu Dhabi

Tennis legend begins stint as coach of world No 2 by hogging the limelight

Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News
Novak Djokovic with new coach Boris Becker, during the Mubadala World Tennis Championship Abu Dhabi
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Tennis legend Boris Becker hogged all the limelight on day two of the Mubadala Tennis Championship as he walked on to the side court for his first stint as coach of World No. 2 Novak Djokovic.

Stepping out on court in a T-shirt, shorts, shades and pink shoes, Becker watched every move of his charge closely during a training session that lasted for over an hour.

A large crowd gathered to catch a glimpse of the six-time Grand Slam champion who, in 1985, became the youngest player ever to win Wimbledon at the age of 17.

Though Becker entertained autograph hunters, he chose to keep away from the media; something that has never happened before. Becker has always obliged the press and been vocal about his views until his latest association.

The sudden change should have a lot to do with Djokovic’s demeanour. The Serb is known to be a private person and his support staff have also stayed away from the media glare.

It will be interesting to see how things shape up for the World No. 2 in this season ahead. Becker’s role as a coach will definitely be under close scrutiny and the German, well known for his immense fighting spirit, will be well aware of that.

The 46-year-old revealed earlier this week that Djokovic approached him to become his head coach the day the Serb lost the world No. 1 ranking to Spaniard Rafael Nadal in October this year.

“I was approached by Novak and his manager while he was playing in Beijing. He decided he needed somebody in his corner that had been there and done it. I was surprised — I didn’t expect the phone call. I was very honoured,” Becker told BBC Sport.

On Thursday, Djokovic revealed that he had roped in Becker as coach to give him the “mental edge” while playing major tournaments, especially the Grand Slam events.

Djokovic said it was only after consultation with his longtime coach Marian Vajda that he decided he should have the German legend on board. “One of the main reasons, of course, he is a six-time Grand Slam champion and has won so many trophies in his life and he was a former No. 1.

“Speaking to Marian in the last few months of the year, we came to the conclusion that I needed another legendary player who can eventually help me understand what I would like to do in situations like the Grand Slam final stages.”