Ask Boris Becker A Question, He’ll Tell You What’s On His Mind

Boris Becker (photo: e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Christian Hofer).

VIENNA/WASHINGTON, October 25, 2023 (by Michael Dickens)

It’s been said that Germany’s Hall of Fame great Boris Becker has forgotten more about tennis than any of us will ever know. Well, Becker put that to a good test as he was a guest of the Erste Bank Open on Tuesday. In addition to making an appearance at the “Fifteen Seconds Sports” business event and sharing an entertaining one-on-one conversation with fellow former World No. 1 Thomas Muster as part of “Tom’s Talks” inside Wiener Stadthalle, the 55-year-old Becker, winner of the 1996 Erste Bank Open, also addressed a variety of tennis topics at a press conference.

Among the highlights:

The Erste Bank Open: “It is a high-ranking tournament; I have good memories of it myself. After a serious injury I was able to win it in 1996. The date is ideal, many want a good end to the season, for the top players it’s still about qualifying for the ATP Finals.”

On Dominic Thiem: “Physically he is completely okay again. But he had a serious injury and a long comeback. If the attitude is right, if he knows what he has to change, he will be back to his old self. Alexander Zverev also had a serious injury and came back. Even though the return was an ordeal at the beginning. Now he has pretty much qualified for the ATP finals again. If the passion and attitude fit, Thiem can also return to the top.”

Whether a “super coach” can help the Lower Austrian: “You have to define what a super coach is. If it’s someone who has many years of experience, then it can’t be a disadvantage. There are many examples, like Juan Carlos Ferrero, who coaches Carlos Alcaraz.”

Whether the young players can also win 20 Grand Slams and more like the big three: “What Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have achieved is extraordinary. They were and are ambassadors of tennis, they created a tennis boom. Even in our time there was no such thing, the best players had 6 to 14 titles. That was already great. But the three of them beat everything.”

On Novak Djokovic and a possible continuation of his title collection at majors: “It just depends on whether the competition allows it. It’s clear that Djokovic at 36 is not quite as good as he was at 26. It’s up to the opponents — if they let him, Novak will win ten more Grand Slam tournaments.”

On Carlos Alcaraz, who hasn’t won a tournament since Wimbledon: “Everyone is looking for ways to beat him. The locker room never sleeps.”

On his new protégé Holger Rune: “It’s an exciting task because it’s also an exciting time. But many young players come to me just to get tips. If he can put his emotions into positive energy, there’s nothing standing in his way.”