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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Boris Becker speaks to Front Row Group about working with Wimbledon 2014 Champion Novak Djokovic

 
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Front Row Group caught up with former World No. 1 Tennis Legend Boris Becker to talk about is involvement in Novak Djokovic's Wimbledon win, and the transition from player to coach.

FRG: Congratulations on your success with Djokovic. How did you feel when he won the Wimbledon Championships?

I'm very proud of Novak and his achievements. He is a real go getter and we worked well as a team. He did very well again and I'm glad I could loan him my court for the afternoon.

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FRG: When coaching Djokovic, is the focus more on the physical aspects of his game, or the mental aspects?

He is in an amazing physical shape, and technically he is a complete tennis player. Most of our work was based on consolidating his assets within the mental arena. There is always a huge part of one's success attributed to mental fitness and one's state of mind can determine the success of each match.

FRG: Did you feel a competitive coaching rivalry with Stefan Edberg during the Wimbledon Final, to compare with your mutual rivalry when you were both contesting the tournament as players? And also, how does the role of coach at the Wimbledon Final compare with playing the final?

Yes of course Stefan and I were great rivals in our playing careers, and it's all too natural to revive that now. But actually it's harder watching from the box than playing because although all your emotions are invested in the game, you are essentially powerless to change the outcome.

FRG: Do you think the phenomenal careers of yourself and Steffi Graf had a permanent lasting effect on the quality of German tennis?

I would hope that mine and Steffi's careers have inspired a generation of players to see that with hard work, perseverance and talent nothing is impossible.

 
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FRG: Do you think, from a coaching point of view, if a player has a strong shot (such as your serve) it is more advisable to practice the rest of his game more, to bring it up to a level, or to concentrate more on the strong shots to develop them into world beating weapons?

The level of consistency in today's game is so unbelievably high that without a mature technique on every shot it would be hard to compete at top level.

FRG: Do you think the advances in racquet technology have somewhat stifled the artistic elements of the game as displayed by players such as Bjorn Borg and Roger Federer, in favour of the power aspects, or is the game ultimately more exciting because of these developments?

The game is definitely more power based than it ever was. But a truly artistic player like Federer or Borg will always find a way to transcend the medium.

FRG: Did you find the transition from player to coach a natural one, or did you have to adjust the analytical and technical way you think about the game?

Naturally as a coach you have more time to analyse aspects of the game which as a player you would address with instantaneous reflex. The transition becomes natural when you immerse yourself in the coaching role.

 

FRG: Do you think it's possible for the same top four players (Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, Federer) to go on dominating for much longer, or do you sense an imminent changing of the guard?

There are so many outstanding players coming up, such as Grigor Dimitrov, Milos Raonic and Nick Kyrgios, that it's hard not to envisage strong competition for the dominance of the big four in the very near future.

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FRG: What's next in store for you?

I am excited to continue my work with Novak. I have also joined a new management agency, Kruger Cowne, and am looking forward to some fun opportunities with them, including more public speaking and a new book. Also hope to work more with Front Row Group on various business opportunities in the emerging markets.

Above all, I very much enjoy spending time with my beautiful wife and family!

 
 
 

www.frontrowgroup.co.uk

25th September 2014