Murray 'out of order' for his cynicism: Becker

LONDON • Boris Becker, the six-time Major champion and coach of top-ranked Novak Djokovic, has hit out at Andy Murray for airing his suspicions that some of his opponents may have used performance-enhancing drugs.

Murray, the world No. 2 behind Djokovic, made those comments in an interview with the Daily Mail in which he insisted that Maria Sharapova's provisional suspension for testing positive for meldonium shows that tennis is combating doping.

"I have played against players and thought, 'They won't go away', or 'They don't seem to be getting tired'," he said. "Have I ever been suspicious of someone? Yeah. You hear things. It's harder to tell in our sport as people can make big improvements to a stroke or start serving better because they have made technical changes.

"If it's purely physical and you're watching someone playing six-hour matches over and over and showing no signs of being tired, you'd look at that."

The Scot did not name names.

There have been a handful of matches that have lasted 15 minutes either side of the six-hour mark. The most prolific of them is the 2012 Australian Open final between Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic prevailed in the longest Grand Slam final in history, winning after 5 hours 53 minutes.

The longest-ever tennis match is the 11 hour and 5 minute marathon between American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010. That first-round clash, won by Isner, was played over three days.

Becker believes the top players are all clean, and accused Murray of being "out of order" for suggesting otherwise. Speaking at the Laureus World Sport Awards, he told the Daily Mail: "We have random drug testing and unless it's proven, they are 100 per cent innocent.

"So to assume something because somebody has won a Grand Slam or is fitter is totally out of order. Andy often outlasts players and nobody is questioning his ethics.

"I believe 100 per cent Andy is clean. Roger (Federer) is clean, Rafa is clean, all these guys are clean. Novak gets tested a lot. That can mean twice in a Grand Slam."

Murray has emerged victorious in his two longest matches - both four hours and 54 minutes long - against Djokovic in the 2012 US Open final and Kei Nishikori in a Davis Cup tie.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2016, with the headline 'Murray 'out of order' for his cynicism: Becker'. Print Edition | Subscribe