After 18 months of coaching Novak Djokovic, Boris Becker has come to understand the essence of what makes the Wimbledon champion increasingly look like one of the greatest players ever.
‘He’s a tough cookie, I’d call him a street fighter. When the going gets tough, he gets better, when he bleeds a little bit he goes forward,’ said Becker, reflecting on his charge’s latest triumph at the All England Club.
The 47-year-old German was left having to ‘pinch myself’ at being in the champion’s corner 30 years after he first took Wimbledon by storm. He was purring at Djokovic’s ability to lift his game at the crucial juncture of Sunday’s 7-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 defeat of Roger Federer.
‘The beginning of the third set, that was the moment when both had break points,’ Becker told Wimbledon Live.
‘That’s when matches are decided and Novak feels it, he smells it, understands it, when you have to go all in. It can’t always work but at least you have no regrets afterwards. That’s when he took the match away from Roger.’
Bad ankle or not, Becker was up and down like he had parked himself on an ejector seat, especially during the second tiebreak when the match caught fire.
‘I’ve never seen a tiebreak like this live. I was on top of my seat, my emotions were raw, I was up and down, I couldn’t believe it. The way the set points were played, both guys not holding back, the way they were hitting the ball.’
He also had some interesting observations about what had gone before Sunday’s climax to the tournament, which involved Andy Murray.
‘Wimbledon finals are not won in the semi-final. Roger peaked in the semi, he couldn’t have played better, but I felt that if Novak could hold off the return and get Roger involved with baseline rallies, I thought eventually he’d wear him down.’
Djokovic is now one part of a duo with Serena Williams that has a lock on the game probably not seen since the late Sixties when great Australians Rod Laver and Margaret Court dominated.
Yet the fact is that no other top player would have had the flair or extrovert personality to suggest doing a routine to Night Fever with Williams and re-enact something last seen from Chris Evert and Bjorn Borg in 1976. Djokovic is very much a three- dimensional character.

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