Djokovic has not worked hard enough, says Becker

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

BELGRADE: No­vak Djokovic lost his mo­men­tum in the sec­ond half of last sea­son and was top­pled as the world num­ber one by Andy Mur­ray be­cause his work-rate dropped, the Ser­bian’s for­mer coach Boris Becker said yes­ter­day.

Speak­ing a day af­ter the two ter­mi­nated their co­op­er­a­tion by mu­tual con­sent, Ger­man Becker said Djokovic’s need to spend more time with his fam­ily had de­railed him on the court.

“He didn’t spend as much time on the prac­tice court in the last six months as he should have and he knows that,” said Becker, who helped Djokovic to six grand slam ti­tles af­ter they teamed up in De­cem­ber 2013.

“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 about you and he 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.”

Hav­ing com­pleted a ca­reer slam when he won his maiden French Open ti­tle in June, Djokovic suf­fered an as­ton­ish­ing loss of form. He crashed out of Wim­ble­don in the third round to Amer­i­can Sam Quer­rey and made a firstround exit at the Rio Olympics at the hands of Ar­gen­tine Juan Martin Del Potro. Djokovic then lost the U.S. Open fi­nal to Swiss Stan Wawrinka, a de­feat six­times ma­jor cham­pion Becker said was a mas­sive psy­cho­log­i­cal blow to the Serb.

“I know the U.S. Open loss in the fi­nal against Stan hurt,” he said.

“I think that is what he needed maybe in a funny way was to lose a lit­tle bit, to re­alise what it is like to lose, be­cause he hasn’t been los­ing for two and a half years. “I am sure the fact that he lost the num­ber one rank­ing to Andy Mur­ray is go­ing to hurt.

“But he has got to go back to work. He has to go back to the of­fice and prac­tice these hours and re­fo­cus on what made him strong in the first place.”

— AP

MEL­BOURNE: In this Jan. 14, 2016, file photo, Ser­bia’s No­vak Djokovic, right, walks with his coach Boris Becker dur­ing a train­ing ses­sion on Rod Laver Arena ahead of the Aus­tralian Open ten­nis cham­pi­onships in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia. Djokovic says he and coach Boris Becker are split­ting up af­ter three sea­sons to­gether. Djokovic posted a state­ment on Face­book on Tues­day, say­ing the duo “jointly de­cided to end our co­op­er­a­tion.”

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