A newly engaged Boris Becker offers some free coaching to Roger Federer: drop Davis Cup and quit being so nice to Rafael Nadal.
He also diagnoses Federer with a Nadal-Komplex (is that a disease or a tennis player?) and gets a good dig in at Lleyton Hewitt. Becker also finds parallels with his own career – really fascinating stuff.
Wait, is Boris Becker just offering friendly advice or is he angling to be Roger Federer’s next coach? Get in line, buddy. . .
Becker’s article appeared last week in the Swiss newspaper, Blick. I’ve done my best with google translate and the help of a Fed fan. Click here for the original article. (And click here for more on Boom Boom’s engagement)
“Roger, drop Davis Cup!”
By Boris Becker | 15:38 | 22.02.2009
Roger Federer is in the most difficult phase of his career. Here’s what “Ex-Tennis-Crack” Boris Becker advises to the multiple Laureus World Sportsman winner.
This phase that Roger Federer is in is not easy. I can feel what is happening. But I’m convinced that it’s not a crisis. It’s much more a pure Nadal complex.
Federer is motivated, he radiates joy when playing. This was seen in Melbourne. He was superior to his opponents, played freely. And then came Nadal. I can see it, he visibly cramps up. This is due to Roger’s lack of experience playing against players who can meet him eye-to-eye.
Federer was untouchable for many years. He didn’t know this situation of having a real opponent. Suddenly, Nadal appeared in Paris. And this was probably an ‘Aha!’ experience for both. Someone came from zero to a hundred into his kingdom and now this person has even defeated Roger on a hard court. Such defeats sit deep.
For me one of the worst defeats was in the semifinals at Roland Garros, when I clearly led against Stefan Edberg before he took me in the fifth set. That stayed with me. It took a while for me to process it. Young challengers are tough to overcome mentally. When I saw Sampras rising at Wimbledon, I brooded over the situation for a long time. It was almost like a midlife crisis for me, you start thinking that he is younger, faster, unspent. You focus everything on that one player and how to play him, no longer playing instinctively, thinking too much.
Like Federer in Melbourne. He broke immediately, but lost his service again. That was an exclamation point of nervousness. But I am convinced that Nadal is not shortening Roger’s career, but will extend it. For Federer it must have been boring to play against players of the caliber of Hewitt and to win every time. He is an intelligent player who can learn, train even harder.
Borg lost Wimbledon to McEnroe once and then stopped. But Federer sees it as a challenge. What he needs to change is his attitude towards Nadal. I’m always surprised at how nice he is. He can like him off the court but only there. On court he needs to be aware and needs to think: “He cost me the last three or four Grand Slams. Without him I would have long been the greatest in history. He wants to take something away from me. Today he is my worst enemy. And I am his.”
I am convinced that Federer remains motivated. If he eventually starts being eliminated in the semis on a regular basis then he will not be motivated any longer. But as he has been in the last four major finals and has won one of these, this is far from a crisis.
He needs to set priorities. This means that he should leave the Davis Cup. I also did the same, and in Germany they nearly crucified me. But that same year, I became number 1 in the world – and everyone was satisfied.
What do you think? Should Roger Federer take Boris Becker under advisement?
Who should be Roger's new Super-Coach? Total Voters: 362
Who should be Roger's new Super-Coach?
Total Voters: 362
Photo: Andrew Brownbill/AP