Boris Becker warns Novak Djokovic to refocus

Boris Becker has not ruled out a coaching reunion with Novak Djokovic but says the Serb must first rediscover his love of the game.
Boris Becker warns Novak Djokovic to refocus

Becker also explained how Djokovic lost motivation after winning last year’s French Open, which was his first triumph at Roland Garros and meant he held all four grand slam titles.

Since then, the 29-year-old has endured early exits at Wimbledon and the Olympics before crashing out in the Australian Open second round to wildcard Denis Istomin last week.

He also surrendered the world number one ranking to Andy Murray in November.

Djokovic split with Becker at the end of last season and has said he is not looking to replace the six-time major champion.

Becker, however, who is commentating on the Australian Open for Eurosport, did not close off the possibility of a return.

“I have high hopes for Novak. He just has to re-focus,” Becker said.

“Would I go back and coach him? I’ll always be a friend and I’ll always be in his corner. We are on very good terms. I don’t know, let’s see what happens.

“I learnt a lot from my time coaching Novak. I used to think I know how tennis was played today. I didn’t know before I worked with Novak.

“I think it’s a whole different experience and I’m very grateful for it. Let’s see what the future brings.”

Djokovic’s shock defeat in Melbourne means he is now unlikely to claim back the world number one spot until after Wimbledon at the earliest.

Becker admits his former charge’s success at the French Open seven months ago altered his perspective.

“You have to prioritise tennis again and I hope he does,” Becker said.

“People don’t realise what it takes to win one grand slam. Imagine he won four in a row, he was the holder of the real grand slam.

“A lifelong dream was fulfilled. Of course the bubble burst. Of course your mind goes off course. Of course his family wants him back. He’s a human being with a big heart.

“He’s a strong player and of course the motivation goes a little bit. To get it back you have to go back to the practice court.

Meanwhile Venus Williams posted another triumph for the old guard by beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to reach her 21st grand slam semi-final.

Williams, at 36, is the oldest singles player in the women’s draw but she rolled back the years on Rod Laver Arena to beat 24th seed Pavlyuchenkova 6-4 7-6 (7/3).

The victory puts Williams into the last four here for the first time in 14 years and continues a late resurgence for the American, who has now made the semis twice in her last three grand slams.

She is the oldest woman to get to this far at the Australian Open since the start of the Open era.

Williams’ progress also adds another chapter to something of a fairytale tournament for the game’s senior stars, after Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, 35 and 30 respectively, both made the quarter-finals of the men’s draw.

The lesser-known Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, 34, is also into the last eight at a grand slam for the time since Wimbledon in 1999.

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