Boris Becker and Roger Federer are clashing once again.
Becker, who is the coach for world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, commented on one of Federer’s new tactics and called it almost disrespectful to the other player’s serve. The tactic involves Federer coming to the net after returning serve. It has been nicknamed “SABR,” which is an acronym for “Sneak Attack By Federer.”
“It’s almost disrespecting the other guy’s serve. Everybody talks about that’s his new strategy – he comes in. It’s within the rules,” Becker told Sky.
“If he would have played a [John] McEnroe, [Jimmy] Connors, [Ivan] Lendl or even me, we would have said: ‘Roger, in all honesty I like you very much [but] I’ll go straight at you.’ In my generation guys would not have accepted as it is now.”
It seems clear that Becker and Federer are not the best of friends. In his book, Becker said Djokovic and Federer do not like each other. That led to a reaction from Federer, who was not too happy. No doubt Becker is somewhat in Federer’s head about the matter and strategy.
Boris Becker may have revealed too much inside information about his in-match coaching relationship with pupil Novak Djokovic.
During a radio interview with BBC’s “Radio 5 Live,” the German former world No. 1 player was asked about communicating with Djokovic during matches. That’s when he may have crossed the line by revealing he has coaching signals for Djokovic during matches.
“I think there is a bond, a relationship, an understanding of the player and coach. Obviously I’ve got my job and it’s a very intimate relationship because it’s one on one. There are moments when he looks up and he needs assurance that what he is doing is right,” Becker said via The Mirror. “And then we have our ways about it to tell him it’s good or tell him it’s bad. And then it’s up to him to change it.”
You can debate how much actual coaching that would construe, but if they have signals telling Djokovic to make changes, I would argue that that violates the rules. Djokovic disagrees.
“I don’t think that we’re cheating,” Djokovic said ahead of Wimbledon. I don’t think that’s how you can call it. There are special ways of, I would say, communication. As he [Becker] mentioned, the way you look at each other, the way you feel your [player] box, and [your] box feels what you’re going through on the court – I think that’s something that just gives you that reassurance, gives you that confidence.
“It’s not necessary that he tells me where to serve or to which side of the opponent’s court I have to play, because that doesn’t happen. But it’s more of an encouragement, and more of a support and reassurance.”
The ATP and ITF do not allow players to receive any type of coaching during matches. The rule states:
“Players shall not receive coaching during a match (including the warm-up). Communications of any kind, audible or visible, between a player and a coach may be construed as coaching.”
What Becker is doing would qualify as visible coaching.
It’s no surprise Djokovic has been fined twice in his career for receiving coaching after reading these remarks from Becker. This is also the second time recently that Becker has caused an issue for Djokovic. He better start watching his mouth.
Photo: Novak Djokovic/Twitter
Roger Federer grew up idolizing former world No. 1 tennis player Boris Becker, but some recent comments that Becker made may have changed Federer’s opinion of the six-time Grand Slam winner.
Becker recently released an autobiography, and in it he claims that it is an “open secret” that Federer and Novak Djokovic “don’t particularly like each other.” Earlier this week, Federer basically told Becker to mind his own business.
“Becker really has no idea. He should know me well enough to know that I am a relaxed guy,” Federer said, according to Mirror UK. “It is always dangerous when you are talking a lot. Sometimes you say things you should not. Of course I didn’t like what he said. After all, he was once my idol.”
Federer admitted that he used to take issue with the way Djokovic acted on the court, but he said that is no longer a problem. Perhaps it had something to do with Djokovic mocking Federer with his classic impressions.
“It is well known that I initially had problems with Novak’s manner on court but now he behaves wonderfully and fairly,” he added. “I have no problem with Novak.”
Becker also said that Federer avoids controversy publicly because he “makes good money” off of his clean-cut image. You can read the full quote here.
It’s probably safe to say Federer and his idol won’t be having dinner anytime soon.
In his new book “Wimbledon: My Life and Career at the All England Club,” Boris Becker writes that Novak Djokovic and Federer don’t particularly like each other.
“[They] don’t particularly like each other,” Becker writes. “The reason Roger is one of the highest-paid athletes of all time is because he’s liked by everybody. But think about this – you can’t possibly be liked by everybody… He makes good money out of his image, but would he make less if we saw a bit more of his true feelings?”
That’s an interesting point by Becker, who has been Djokovic’s coach since late 2013. Federer has a pristine image, but we have seen times in the past where there have been hints of what Becker is talking about. Remember when Federer yelled at fans at the French Open a few years ago and told them to “shut up!“? That was a shock to see. And then he complained about Rafael Nadal taking too much time and how he should be called for violations. Those were times when we saw Federer’s natural, competitive side come out, and not a politically correct side.
And if you’re wondering why Djokovic and Federer might not completely get along, it could have a little to do with Djokovic mocking Federer with his classic impressions.
Boris Becker was in India doing some press last week and shared many great stories, as well as some analysis of today’s game. One of the most amusing stories he told was about the first time he ever faced John McEnroe.
The subject of McEnroe came up when Becker was asked about his on-court behavior.
“My teacher in gamesmanship was a man from New York called John McEnroe,” Becker said at the Hindustan Times Leadership summit. “My English at 17, 18 was pretty limited. When I played [McEnroe] the first time in America, he won the first serve. At the changeover, he came to my chair. He said some words and I didn’t understand all the words, but I knew it wasn’t nice.
“After our tough battle, in the locker room, I asked him what was the meaning of what he said,” Becker continued.
Becker was interrupted by the moderator, who asked what McEnroe said. Becker provided an uncensored version.
“I’m going to beat the s— out of you.”
Becker happily noted that he fought off four match points to top McEnroe that match. He says being able to take the punches and overcome them helped him gain acceptance from some of the top players.
Becker, who won six grand slams and now serves as a tennis commentator for BBC, also shared many interesting thoughts about today’s game.