Won't rule out a potential future with Alexander Zverev: Boris Becker
Popularly known as 'Sascha', Zverev recently stunned Stan Wawrinka in 2016 to win the St. Petersburg Open.
What’s the story?
With wins against higher ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Marin Cilic in 2016, World number 20 Alexander Zverev is one of the hottest young properties in Men’s Singles tennis right now. At just 19 years of age, he also is the highest ranked teenager from a recent underachieving country in Men’s singles, Germany. During a media briefing last week, the three-time ATP title winner admitted that he would love to be coached under Boris Becker, but would not be able to meet his salary requirement. The former Wimbeldon winner has been on a self-imposed hiatus from tennis coaching, ever since parting ways with world number 1 Novak Djokovic on mutual terms.
During a press conference in Delhi on Wednesday, the 50-year old expressed that the possibility of a German Coach-Player duo cannot be ruled out. He told Sportskeeda, “I’m in close touch with his family, and coach, we talk about how to get better. He has a very good coaching staff, but now it’s time for him to transcend to the next level. The talent is certainly there, highest ranked 19-year old in the world, I believe he will reach top 15 early this year as well. Right now, I’m personally not looking out for something immediately, However, who knows in the near future what might happen.”
Earlier, Becker had vehemently denied taking up a coaching role purely based on nation-based inclinations. However, an increase in closeness to Zverev’s coaching staff, and not ruling it out as a potential option, does give an indicator of what’s to come. He further added, “Personally, I’m looking at potential now, if the player has the potential to be the best in the world, then what will I add as a coach? So, let’s see what the future holds, but I’m quite confident about Zverev’s future.”
In case you didn’t know
Zverev first raised eyebrows in 2016, when he defeated Stan Wawrinka to lift the St Petersburg title. Ironically, this was the ‘stanimal’s’ first finals loss since 2013, so it took a certain kind of special to defeat him. It didn't stop there, he went onto beat the Swiss Maestro and Wawrinka's compatriot Roger Federer at his old stomping ground, Halle. At 6’6 inches, his height is being considered an asset by coaches.
Becker added, “A lot of people say he will be slower on court, but from what I see, he is an athlete and has good reach. His serves are flatter and if coached to play to his strengths, he can only get better. I have been talking to his father (Alexander’s coach) about various things. We share a healthy relationship."
Heart of the Matter
Speaking at the Royal Stag Perfect Strokes event in New Delhi, Becker also extensively spoke about how different it is as a coach as compared to a player. He said, “Right now, our goal is to make the player better. It’s not just me, but there is an entire team working round the clock to do that. So that competition is not there anymore. If you ask me whether I’m as competitive with Ivan Lendl or Stefan Edberg then no, we aren’t. This is for the players right now, and since our paths hardly ever cross it really doesn’t matter who the better coach is. It was different as a player.”
Becker also stated he was surprised, but not shocked by Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open exit. He said, “I think Novak has the experience to become the best again, Yes. I was surprised at the early exit, but it happens to every player not just him. I’m sure he will bounce back.
As much as Alexander’s father has helped him to reach the world top 20, the 19-year old is at the stage where he can either become the best or fade away. This is the perfect time for a high performance coach to join his team and who better than his compatriot Boris Becker.