Becker be­lieves Djokovic ‘must put in hours’ to re­turn to top

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By AGEN­CIES

No­vak Djokovic failed to train hard enough and will not re­gain the No 1 world rank­ing “un­less he puts in the hours”, for­mer coach Boris Becker said on Wed­nes­day, a day af­ter the pair ended their work­ing re­la­tion­ship.

Djokovic has won 12 Grand Slam ti­tles — six un­der Becker — but on Tues­day the Serb con­firmed ru­mors that he and the Ger­man leg­end had parted ways af­ter three years to­gether.

Becker said Djokovic’s need to spend more time with his fam­ily had de­railed him on the court.

“He has not spent as much time on the prac­tice court as he should have in the last six months and he knows that,” Becker, 49, told Sky Sports News.

“Suc­cess like this doesn’t hap­pen by push­ing a but­ton. Suc­cess like this doesn’t just hap­pen by show­ing up at a tour­na­ment.

“You have to work your bot­tom off, be­cause the op­po­si­tion does the same,” he told Sky News.

“The pro­fes­sion of a tennis player is prob­a­bly the most self­ish one in sports be­cause it has to be all about you.

“No­vak is the first to say he is a fam­ily man, so of course his wife and the rest of his fam­ily had to take back seats.

“They don’t spend enough time to­gether. I had it too, 20 years ago. It is just the na­ture of the beast, be­ing a tennis player.”

Af­ter win­ning the French Open in June, Djokovic had a poor sec­ond half of the sea­son, los­ing the No 1 rank­ing he had held for 122 weeks to Bri­tain’s Andy Mur­ray in Novem­ber.

Djokovic also lost his Wim­ble­don and US Open ti­tles and was elim­i­nated in the first round of the Rio Olympics.

“I know the US Open loss in the fi­nal against Stan (Wawrinka) hurt,” Becker said.

“I think what he needed, maybe in a funny way, was to lose a lit­tle bit, to re­al­ize what it is like to lose, be­cause he hadn’t been los­ing for more than two years.

“I am sure the fact that he lost the No 1 rank­ing to Andy is go­ing to hurt, but he has got to go back to work. He has to go back to the of­fice and prac­tice for hours and re­fo­cus on what made him strong in the first place.”

Djokovic made a change to his coach­ing team to­ward the end of the sea­son when Spa­niard Pepe Imaz joined him for the Paris Masters, where the four-time cham­pion fell in the quar­ter­fi­nals, and the World Tour Fi­nals in Lon­don — where he lost to Mur­ray.

“Such a de­ci­sion does not hap­pen overnight, it was a process,” said Becker, call­ing their sep­a­ra­tion “con­sen­sual”.

Becker, a three-time Wim­ble­don win­ner, said he will now be Djokovic’s “great­est fan” and be­lieves the 29-year-old will re­gain his No 1 sta­tus.

“I am also con­vinced that he will be­come the most dom­i­nant player again, but he has to get back on the prac­tice court and put in the nec­es­sary hours,” said Becker.

event at Tiburon Golf Club.

“It’s go­ing to be fun paired up with Bryson,” Thomp­son, 21, told the Naples Daily News.

“I love team events and to get an in­vite from Greg Nor­man was very spe­cial. I’m go­ing to have a good time and see how I do.”

Aus­tralian Nor­man, who has hosted the un­of­fi­cial PGA Tour event since 1989, has pre­vi­ously played with Thomp­son and was im­pressed by her long hit­ting.

“I have to do ev­ery­thing in my power to out-drive her,” Nor­man said. “She gets it out there to a point where I don’t think it’s a prob­lem no mat­ter where the PGA Tour puts the tee mark­ers.” Suc­cess like this doesn’t just hap­pen by show­ing up at a tour­na­ment. You have to work your bot­tom off, be­cause the op­po­si­tion does the same.” Boris Becker, on Djokovic fail­ing to train hard enough

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