Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Djokovic appoints Boris Becker as new coach

Major man: Novak Djokovic has won six career slams to date
Major man: Novak Djokovic has won six career slams to date

Boris Becker and Ivan Lendl will renew rivalries at the Australian Open in a month's time – 23 years after Melbourne Park played host to their last ever meeting in a grand slam final.

Becker was yesterday named as the new head coach of world number two Novak Djokovic in a move that mirrors Andy Murray's appointment of Lendl.

Lendl is credited with helping the current world number four break his grand slam duck, with his first major title coming at the 2012 US Open before he became the first British men's champion at Wimbledon in 77 years.

While Djokovic, already a six-time major winner, is in a very different place in his career compared with Murray two years ago, the 26-year-old Serbian is seemingly in need of fresh impetus after a 2013 campaign that saw him win just one grand slam title and concede the world number one ranking to Rafael Nadal.

And perhaps mindful of the stunning success Murray has enjoyed under Lendl's guidance, it maybe should not come as a surprise that he has made a similar appointment.

Certainly comparisons between Becker and Lendl are there.

Both men shot to prominence in the 1980s as leading lights of a new breed of hard-hitting 'power' players and went on to become multiple grand slam champions –Becker winning six titles from 10 major final appearances and Lendl eight from 19.

They also crossed swords in three grand slam finals, starting at Wimbledon in 1986 – when Becker retained the title he had won a year earlier at the age of 17 – then again at the 1989 US Open –when Becker again prevailed –and finally at the 1991 Australian Open.

That last meeting – won again by Becker – was the last grand slam final between the two, but come January 26 they could again find themselves facing off in the showpiece match on Rod Laver Arena – albeit this time guiding their charges from the stands.

Djovokic is the three-time defending champion at Melbourne Park and will be bidding for his fifth Australian Open crown.

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