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Djokovic: Becker has shown me how to be true champion

By Paul Newman

Novak Djokovic dismissed Richard Gasquet to set up the chance to match Boris Becker's three Wimbledon titles 30 years on from his German coach's breakthrough triumph.

Top seed Djokovic stormed past Frenchman Gasquet 7-6 (7/2) 6-4 6-4 to book his 17th grand slam final appearance, and the opportunity to defend his 2014 title.

Djokovic will now meet Roger Federer in his fourth Wimbledon final, arriving largely unruffled in his third successive major tournament showdown. The 28-year-old Serbian admitted he was "living the dream".

"If you look at the names of the legends and elite group of players who are playing the finals of this great event, it's a great honour and privilege to be out there, but I need to keep on going," said Djokovic.

"I'm definitely living the dream, here at Wimbledon on the most renowned tennis court in the world.

"I try to take the best of myself and I have a responsibility to play well - and I'm just glad to reach another final."

Djokovic revealed his mentor lives every point while spurring him on, ahead of a re-run of last year's final.

Djokovic can also emulate Becker's feat of retaining the Wimbledon crown this weekend, and hailed the German's pivotal influence in his backroom staff.

"Boris, for sure he's got a different motivation now than he had when he was playing," said Djokovic after dispatching Gasquet.

"But he's going through the emotions with me like when he was playing, at least that's what we talk about and that's what he tells me.

"I can see that. There are times when he doesn't sleep well before the big match, stuff like this.

"It's just the connection, the link that you make between the two. There has to be that kind of chemistry in order to really deliver, you know, team wise, something that you want."

A teenage Becker wowed the Wimbledon crowds en route to his first title in 1985, before returning to defend that crown a year later.

Now the 47-year-old has forged a formidable off-court coaching career with Djokovic, propelling him to five of the seven grand slam finals during their partnership.

Eight-time major champion Djokovic insisted Becker shows as few weaknesses as a coach as he did as a player - and is keen for that to rub off on him.

"He's extremely tough mentally, always was - as a player, now as a coach. We only talk about that after the match is over or tournament is over.

"We talk about it a little bit. He never shows his weakness, I think that's one of the characteristics and virtues that helped him to be a champion.

"We are a team, we do this together even though I'm an individual athlete on the court and by myself, trying to win.

"Regardless of who is on the court, in my box, supporting me or not, I need to do my job.

"We put ourselves in a position to fight for another grand slam trophy.

"The continuity is giving us a lot of hope, belief and a reason to believe that everything we're doing is for the right cause."

Belfast Telegraph


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