Monday, June 24, 2024

Federer could have competed successfully in our era: Becker


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New Delhi: Legendary tennis player Boris Becker rates Roger Federer very highly and said, due to his sound technique, the Swiss probably could have been the only player to have competed successfully in the “serve and volley” era.

“The reason why Federer is still successful at the age of 31 is because he has got a good technique. He can play from the baseline and when he has to, he can also come to the net more often than other players,” Becker said here on Saturday.

“I don’t think (Rafael) Nadal or (Novak) Djokovic would have been so successful in the era of serve and volley but Federer could have played,” the German added.

Stating that the competition used to be different during his time when there were more top players as compared to the modern era, Becker said, “Today there is just Federer, Nadal, Djokovic.

“(Juan Martin) Del Potro and Murray might have won once or twice. Otherwise it is these three. The competition used to be different at my time.”

The 44-year-old Becker, however, said that the biggest change that the game of tennis has witnessed over the years is the kind of “racquets the players use today”.

Becker said he had respect for each and every individual he had played against on the ATP Tour.

“There were lots who were tough to face. The likes of (John) McEnroe, (Jimmy) Connors, Stefan Edberg, and later Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and Michael Chang. I played against three-four generations of world class players but if you have to get to the final you have to win the first round and then the next.

“So you have to respect every individual you are playing. On a bad day, you can lose to anyone,” insisted Becker.

“In the late stage of my career, I would say playing against Sampras or Agassi was very rewarding because they were the new kids on the block and doing well against them would give you me a chance to play for another year. Had they not been there I would have stopped earlier,” he said.

Becker, however, said that he would always regret missing out on a French Open title.

“My game wasn’t suited for clay. And obviously I would have liked to have 12-13 Grand Slam titles but when you are playing against the big players, it is very difficult,” said the legendary German, who has won six Grand Slam titles.

Asked if there were no fascinating characters on the tennis circuit as it used to be during his days, Becker said, “I won’t say [that]. All these top players like Federer, Nadal or Djokovic are great ambassadors of the game.

“The only thing that has changed is the fact that the players do not behave badly on courts these day but I am not saying that it is bad.”

Becker also said it was a difficult decision to call it quits after having played professionally since the age of 16. “I didn’t want anybody to tell me ‘why you are still around?’ I was too proud and if I wasn’t good enough anymore I would do something else.

“But it is easier said than done. With this decision you enter an unknown territory. But I felt I had too much respect for the game and for my own career,” he said about his retirement at the age 32. (PTI)


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