Boris Becker recently talked about Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev in a Eurosport podcast titled “The Yellow from the Ball”.
During the course of the conversation, Becker pointed out that Djokovic's desire to be loved and respected is completely "normal". Later he also claimed that Zverev often stumbles in big matches because of his inability to learn from his mistakes.
Novak Djokovic has often seen crowds not giving him their full support, partly due to the underdog status of his opponents. That came to the fore once again at the recently concluded Wimbledon Championships, where fans threw their weight behind some of Djokovic's opponents - including Denis Kudla, Denis Shapovalov and at times even Matteo Berrettini in the final.
The World No. 1 seemed particularly worked up about the jeers he received from some spectators during the third round against Kudla. In the aftermath of that match, Djokovic poured his heart out on the topic and admitted that the lack of support sometimes bothers him.
Boris Becker, who has served as Novak Djokovic's head coach in the past, explained during the podcast why he thinks it is important for a world-class athlete to be given the right amount of respect. According to the German, there is nothing more Djokovic can do to earn the respect of spectators given how he has already achieved everything there is to achieve in tennis.
Becker also suggested that the Serb often perceives the lack of support as a sign of disrespect.
"I also find it normal somewhere that you not only want to be respected, but also to be loved when you've been world-class for so long," Becker said. "It's not really up to him (Novak Djokovic), he's number one, the best in the world and the outsider is supported.
"And Novak almost sees it as disrespectful, for (the crowd support) not being for him," the German added. "I've tried to explain to him a few times that it's now for the underdog and not so much against him."
"Alexander Zverev fails because of himself and not because of the opponent" - Boris Becker
Turning his attention to countryman Alexander Zverev, Boris Becker claimed that the World No. 5's loss to Felix Auger-Aliassime at Wimbledon was largely down to his own poor play.
Becker believes this is a pattern with Zverev, and that he keeps making the same mistakes over and over again.
"I commented on the match in the round of 16 between Zverev and Auger-Aliassime. It was a rollercoaster ride," Boris Becker said. "Partly world class, partly not at all good.
"He still makes the same mistakes, that's the annoying thing," Becker added. "He fails every time because of the same mistakes and weaknesses. What the opponent is called, that doesn't really matter. Zverev fails because of Zverev and not because of the opponent."
Boris Becker went on to call Alexander Zverev a "leader" of the Next Gen but in the same breath asserted that 24-year-old must work on fine-tuning his game. Becker also reckons Zverev is "too passive" during crunch moments, which ultimately proves to be costly against high-quality opponents.
"He is a leader among the younger generation and doesn't have to hide behind anyone," Becker went on. "But he has to fix the same mistakes and that's the annoying thing that it repeats from Grand Slam to Grand Slam. In critical phases he remains too passive, he stands behind the baseline and hopes that the opponent will make a mistake. That's enough against the worse-placed players, but the better ones don't make a mistake."