Tennis: No talk yet on retaining coach Becker, says Djokovic

Serb says Becker will stay till end of season but he remains coy on next year's plans

Tennis legend Boris Becker (right) has been a part of Novak Djokovic's coaching team since 2014, helping him to win six Grand Slam titles.
Tennis legend Boris Becker (right) has been a part of Novak Djokovic's coaching team since 2014, helping him to win six Grand Slam titles.PHOTO: REUTERS

SHANGHAI • Novak Djokovic said he has not made any plans to keep Boris Becker as his coach next year as they appeared headed for a split yesterday.

Tennis' world no. 1, speaking after cruising into the Shanghai Masters quarter-finals, said he had made arrangements with the German great only for the rest of the season.

"We are still working (together), yeah... for now the plan is the rest of the season, what's left, indoor tournaments," the Serb said.

Asked what would happen next year, he said: "We still haven't talked about it."

Becker joined Djokovic's coaching team at the start of 2014, helping him win six Grand Slam titles and putting together one of the all-time great seasons last year.

But speculation about their partnership has grown since the Serb suffered a crisis of motivation and a series of injuries since completing a career Grand Slam at the French Open.

Djokovic says he has now taken a fresh mental approach since he lost in Wimbledon's third round and in round one at the Olympics, while also enduring wrist and elbow problems.

"I don't think about any trophies or No. 1s in the world, or rankings, anything like that. It's completely different," he said earlier this week.

Djokovic skipped last week's China Open with a wrist injury but there were few doubts about his form as he dismantled Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 6-4 yesterday.

The defending champion weathered 12 aces and 28 winners from Pospisil before completing the 79-minute victory with a searing forehand to the corner.

"I was very pleased with the way I played from the first to last point. I don't think I dropped my level at all," Djokovic said.

Second-ranked Andy Murray, who is gunning for Djokovic's No. 1 crown, was even more impressive as he walloped Lucas Pouille 6-1, 6-3. Murray did not face any break points against the Frenchman as, like Djokovic, he raced into the last eight without dropping a set.

American Jack Sock recovered from losing the first set to love as he beat Milos Raonic 0-6, 6-4, 7-6 (10-8). Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ousted racket-smashing teenager Alexander Zverev 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 7-5, denying the young German a potential semi-final clash with his elder brother, Mischa. Mischa beat Marcel Granollers of Spain 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-1 to set up a quarter-final meeting with Djokovic.

Earlier, Nick Kyrgios was fined US$16,500 (S$22,830) by the Association of Tennis Professionals for breaching its code of conduct during his 6-3, 6-1 defeat by Mischa in a second-round match on Wednesday.

The Australian put in a series of half-hearted serves and appeared to be walking off court before Mischa had returned the ball to him.

Kyrgios also clashed with a spectator before being booed off the court after his defeat.

"Kyrgios received the onsite maximum fine of US$10,000 dollars for lack of best effort, as well as US$5,000 for verbal abuse of a spectator and US$1,500 for unsportsmanlike conduct," an ATP spokesman said.



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2016, with the headline 'No talk yet on retaining coach Becker: Bjokovic'. Print Edition | Subscribe