x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Novak Djokovic hopes having Boris Becker on board results in more grand slam titles

Novak Djokovic believes he has missed out on winning a couple of grand slams over the past two years due to a lack of “mental edge” and the world No 2 is hoping German legend Boris Becker will help change that.

Novak Djokovic hits a forehand in his men's singles final match against Rafael Nadal at the ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena on November 11, 2013. Clive Brunskill / Getty Images
Novak Djokovic hits a forehand in his men's singles final match against Rafael Nadal at the ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena on November 11, 2013. Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

DUBAI // Novak Djokovic believes he has missed out on winning a couple of grand slams over the past two years due to a lack of “mental edge” and the world No 2 is hoping German legend Boris Becker will help change that.

Since his memorable 2011 season, when Djokovic won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open titles, the defending Dubai champion has reached six finals in the last nine grand slams, but has won only two – the 2012 and 2013 Australian Opens.

To help turn those finals into titles and add to his six slam crowns, Djokovic announced the appointment of Becker – also a six-time grand slam winner – as his head coach in December.

“That’s one of the reasons why Boris is here – because of the big matches and grand slams,” Djokovic said.

“I have felt like I have dropped two or three titles in the last two years that I could have won.

“In the big matches, I have felt that there was that mental edge that was lacking a little bit. So hopefully, he can contribute in this way also.”

Becker replaced Marian Vajda, who had been working with Djokovic since 2006, but with his own tennis-playing daughters needing him, the Slovakian wanted to spend more time at home.

“Marian was actually the one who suggested it, since he has been travelling for so many years as a player, as a coach as a part of the tennis world for over 30 years, he’s a little bit tired and he wanted a bit more time with his family,” Djokovic said. “He has two daughters who are also playing tennis. So we considered many different names and Boris was the one that kind of fitted in our vision.

“So we talked with Boris and he accepted it. I was very excited, as I am today for having such a tennis legend as Boris in my team.”

arizvi@thenational.ae