• Tennis

Becker 'surprised and honoured' by Djokovic approach

ESPN staff
December 20, 2013
Djokovic ended 2013 on a high in London © PA Photos

Boris Becker admits Novak Djokovic's approach to become his new coach took him by surprise, and that the Serb's determination to get back to the top of the world rankings in 2014 made the decision a no-brainer.

After winning his fourth Australian Open at the start of 2013, Djokovic was pipped to the top of the rankings by Rafael Nadal in October and also lost two Grand Slam finals - to Andy Murray at Wimbledon and the Spaniard at the US Open.

Becker, who won six Grand Slam titles in his career, will start working with Djokovic on January 13, just before the Australian Open.

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The German told the BBC he was approached by Djokovic the day he lost the number one spot to Nadal, demonstrating how much the Serb is determined to return to the top of the rankings in 2014.

"I was surprised, I didn't expect the phone call - I was very honoured," Becker said.

"This isn't a half-hearted job, it wouldn't be right for him or for me. You're in it to win it, you either go at it fully or you don't - either I commit myself or I don't commit myself.

"I said 'I want to meet you and see how much you want it, how much that fire is burning inside you, how much is left, and what I can bring to the table'."

Becker believes it is a crucial time in the career of Djokovic as he looks to add to his six Grand Slam titles and see off the resurgence of Nadal and Murray in 2014.

"He had a couple of bad losses this year in the finals of the Grand Slams, he's such a winner and wants to win so badly and wants to go into the history books of tennis," added Becker.

"The fact Nadal has taken over and Murray has moved up a gear, he was left behind a little bit - I'm talking on a really high level, the last five or 10% that maybe has been missing for whatever reason.

"He decided he needed somebody in his corner that had been there and done it, and that's why I'm coming in."

Djokovic's current coach Marian Vajda will continue as part of his team, with Becker stepping in to the main role on a full-time basis.

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