Who knew when Boris Becker won Wimbledon at 17 years old that he would one day become one of the better coaches in tennis? He played with intelligence some, of course, but his game was built on a physicality that was brutish on the grass courts of the English major. He did not seem to outthink opponents, in the way Novak Djokovic does, but Becker simply refused to give up.
Djokovic has a well-known will and determination to win and doesn’t normally fall too far behind in matches. Plus, once he gets close to finishing a match, he somehow increases his level of play. He is like a shark smelling blood in the water. Or, as Boris Becker calls him, the “lion king.”
Becker was recently on Eurosport Germany’s ‘Das Gelbe vom Ball‘ tennis podcast and said the question about Djokovic being the greatest tennis player ever is rather moot based on all the Serb has accomplished. But Becker says the greater question might be whether Djokovic is the best sportsman. And Becker compared Djoko to greats in other sports, such as LeBron James, Tom Brady, and Lionel Messi.
Boris Becker talks about Novak Djokovic’s greatness
Beck said, “For me, (Djokovic) is the lion king…Maybe you have to look at it more generally and he’s not just the best tennis player at the moment, but the best sportsman.”
That is likely an apt description as well. While James, Brady, and Messi are great, they have not set as many individual records as Djokovic has and set those records at such a high level that no one else might ever reach them. 24 Grand Slams, 400 weeks ranked No. 1, and $180 million in prize money all may be impossible for others to reach.
Boris Becker, of course, recently spent time in an English prison for hiding assets from creditors, but after being released he eventually got back into coaching and is currently doing so for 20-year-old Holger Rune. Thankfully, Becker said the tennis community made re-establishing him in the sport “very easy.” Becker is good for tennis and tennis is good for him, so having him back in the sport is a great thing.