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Has money made Roger Federer emotionless? Boris Becker thinks so

The German ace implied the Swiss ace put on a facade of calm due to his endorsement obligations. We analyse.

22 Dec 2015, 18:40 IST
boris becker 2015 wimbledon
Former World No.1 Boris Becker described Roger Federer as ‘dishonest’ in an interview earlier this year

Tennis legend Boris Becker hit out at World No. 3 Roger Federer earlier this year following the release of the German former No. 1’s newest book. In an interview and statements over social media, Becker made several allegations against the Swiss, who is known for being staid and calm through most of his matches.

In contrast to most other players on court, who are both loud and emotional in the moment – several World No. 1s among them.

Becker himself was widely known for his hot temper, which was mainly directed at himself, rather than other players on court. Current women’s number one Serena Williams is quite similar temperamentally; although she gets agitated on court, she has recently mostly been spotted berating herself for bad shots or misses.

Meanwhile, Becker’s American contemporary John McEnroe has gone down in history as having possibly the worst temper in the history of the game, although it appears in the modern day that Nick Kyrgios is en route to giving him some serious competition.

Several of tennis’ ‘greatest of all time’ title holders across the years appear to be notoriously hot-tempered; Bjorn Borg and his contemporary Jimmy Connors, Ilie Nastase, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi were all, at various stages of their careers, known for their on-court rages.

Many other players may not have a temper, but play loud games, screaming and grunting their way through shots – most of Federer and Williams’ contemporaries fall into this category, as do Williams and one of her longtime rivals, Maria Sharapova.

In the midst of a sea of shouters, grunters, screamers and angry ragers lies a silent assassin who attacks his opponents with unmerciful force, with only the occasional frown crossing an otherwise sagely peaceful face.

GOAT Roger Federer has always expressed minimal stress on-court, and Becker appears to have hit out at this, repeatedly. Describing it as a facade, Becker said he felt Federer’s demeanour was put on, and part of an “image” the ace was cultivating, an image that was “impossible to keep, so why keep having it?”

According to the German ace, Federer’s serene face and on-court behaviour were only kept up due to the immense value of his endorsements. Over the course of his career so far, Federer has been the face of some of the world’s biggest brands, several of them for luxury products. Among the brands that Federer associates with? Rolex, Mercedes-Benz and champagne makers Moet et Chandon, in addition to his sportswear sponsors Nike and several others.

Unlike other athletes who have had incidents in their personal lives mar their professional images, Federer has kept his private life both private and squeaky clean. It is likely this all-round image that has led both fans and brands to admire the Swiss.

On tour to promote his book, Becker also implied Federer was ‘dishonest’, saying in an interview that “in five years there'll be more personalities and different characters and they'll be more honest.”

Federer, for his part, publicly expressed disappointment at Becker’s statements, and said he had been especially hurt considering they had come from a man he described as “one of (my) idols.”

Becker immediately took to social media in clarification of his statements, saying he ‘meant no harm’ and held Federer in the highest of respect. It does not appear that the pair will mend bridges anytime soon, however, especially considering Becker coaches Federer’s biggest rival, world no. 1 Novak Djokovic.

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