Boris Becker has never been the shy and retiring type, and the former world number 1 can always be counted upon to offer his, occasionally unflattering, opinions and commentary on the players who make up the best in the world today. He’s not always so blunt, however, as his recent labelling of the Swiss tennis ace Roger Federer as the “guy who changed tennis” goes to show.
Yes, it seems that fan favourite Federer is also impressing his fellow tennis players, even a player with as successful a career as Boris Becker. Crediting the current third best player in the world as the man who’s done more than anyone to change the game of tennis with his “beauty, technique, coordination and footwork”, it seems that Becker agrees with the common-held belief that Federer (along with long-term rival Nadal) has truly defined men’s professional tennis throughout his career.
Although Federer and Nadal share a total of 26 Grand Slam singles titles between them, it is the Swiss maestro who has really made the biggest impression on the man with 49 singles career titles to his name, despite Nadal’s greater athleticism and clay-court dominance. Having carefully watched the two players grow over the past decade, Becker was initially less impressed with the raw Spaniard when he first started out as a young teenager stating that “his serve was rubbish. It was defensive, not a weapon. His technique was bad.”
Becker was just 17 when he won his first Wimbledon tournament in 1985, and is the first to admit his biggest flaws – namely his inability to contain his emotional outbursts when on-court. The six-time Grand Slam winner is keen that today’s younger players look at the top players to learn lessons from both their technique and the way that they contain and control themselves during those all important championship matches.