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  1. #1

    Becker: Under 28 Players are Useless

    Young players lack the mentality to challenge ‘big three’ of men’s tennis – Boris Becker
    Stuart Fraser, Tennis Correspondent
    June 11 2019, 12:01am,
    The Times

    As remarkable an achievement as it is, Rafael Nadal’s 12th French Open triumph on Sunday also came with a sobering reminder. There remains a concerning lack of challenge to the ageing big three of Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic at the sport’s biggest tournaments.

    It has led Boris Becker to issue a call to arms to the younger generation. The former world No 1 from Germany wowed Wimbledon in 1985 by becoming the youngest men’s singles champion at the age of 17, but there appears to be little to no chance of any teenagers following in his footsteps in the present day. It is even proving difficult for the twenty-somethings — the most recent to win a grand-slam tournament was Andy Murray, then 29, at the All England Club in 2016. Since then, 11 consecutive major titles have been won by players over 30.

    Credit must be given to Dominic Thiem, 25, for reaching two consecutive finals at Roland Garros, and it should be acknowledged that facing Nadal in a best-of-five-sets match on clay is up there with the toughest tasks in sport. But it is a damning reflection of the overall strength of the competition to the big three that the Austrian is the only male player presently under 30 to have won a set in a grand-slam final.

    “No active player under 28, apart from Thiem, has been in a grand-slam final,” Becker, now a pundit for Eurosport, said. “That is not good. That is not a compliment for anybody under 28. Don’t give me that the others are too good. We should question the quality and the attitude of everybody under 28. It just doesn’t make sense.

    “As much as I respect Roger, Rafa and Novak, who else [is there]? Show up. Give me something I want to talk about. Eventually they will be too old. But you want to see the passing of the torch while they are still in their prime.”

    To have Nadal, Federer and Djokovic, three of the greatest players in history and with 53 grand-slam titles between them, competing at the same time has put up formidable barriers that others are finding it nigh on impossible to break down. But Becker believes that the young pretenders are still lacking in one area in particular.

    “There’s a certain mentality that they don’t have,” Becker said. “It’s not the forehand, it’s not the fitness. It’s a certain mentality, mindset and attitude that makes the difference between winning and losing.”

    From his privileged position in the commentary box, John McEnroe has spotted hope for the future in Felix Auger-Aliassime, the 18-year-old Canadian who reached the semi-finals of the Miami Open in March, and Stefanos Tsitsipas, the 20-year-old Greek who defeated Federer en route to the last four of the Australian Open in January. There is concern, though, for Alexander Zverev, the 22-year-old German, who repeatedly under- performs at grand-slam tournaments.

    “Auger-Aliassime has the attitude to be the best player in the world,” McEnroe, the three-times Wimbledon champion from the United States, said. “Stefanos has that attitude. He is the closest right now.

    “Zverev has been the frontrunner for a while, but it seems like he hasn’t rounded his game off enough. When the pressure ramps up at the big tournaments, he gets a little passive. In a way, he psyches himself out. The pressure so far has gotten to him. The way he plays, it seems that he has to be more pro-active. He is not comfortable enough at the net so far, to me.”

    There is a school of thought that Wimbledon is where one of the next generation will finally make a grand-slam breakthrough. On the quick grass, the rallies are not as punishing and the task of defeating Nadal, Federer and Djokovic is perhaps not as daunting as on other surfaces.

    “I have been waiting a long time for it [a breakthrough] to happen,” McEnroe said. “I think it’s as close as it’s ever been. I would think at Wimbledon it would be more likely. But that doesn’t mean that some of these guys [will].

    “[Denis] Shapovalov has struggled on the clay. Will that hurt his confidence at Wimbledon where it would seem to work better for him? Tsitsipas would seem to be a likely candidate to make that transition immediately. [Karen] Khachanov was someone I thought would make more inroads by now, but I don’t know what has happened to him. A guy like [Daniil] Medvedev, maybe all of a sudden the pressure is on.”

    Such is the phenomenal star power of Nadal and Federer, one of the most storied rivalries in sport, there are fears that the popularity of tennis will take a hit when they eventually retire.

    “There will be a dip,” Becker said. “People have to get used to the new players. There will be a ‘wow’ moment. ‘Wow, we are not talking about Roger and Rafa any more.’ But we said the same thing with McEnroe and [Jimmy] Connors, [Andre] Agassi and [Pete] Sampras, maybe myself with [Stefan] Edberg and [Mats] Wilander.

    “Tennis will continue with great new stars. But there will be a dip and then the spotlight will be on the young generation: now, show up. Who are you? Are you good enough? Can you carry the sport? Or was it all a bluff?”


    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/s...cker-0wfm0rcf9
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  2. #2

    Re: Becker: Under 28 Players are Useless

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post
    Young players lack the mentality to challenge ‘big three’ of men’s tennis – Boris Becker
    Stuart Fraser, Tennis Correspondent
    June 11 2019, 12:01am,
    The Times

    ...

    There is a school of thought that Wimbledon is where one of the next generation will finally make a grand-slam breakthrough. On the quick grass, the rallies are not as punishing and the task of defeating Nadal, Federer and Djokovic is perhaps not as daunting as on other surfaces.
    ...


    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/s...cker-0wfm0rcf9
    Fascinating line of thought. The younger generation will break through ON THE SURFACE THEY KNOW THE LEAST. On the surface that they train the least on, on the one place where the pressure is the most, against three players with almost inexhaustible mental fortitude.
    Ok. If you say so.
    Starry starry night

  3. #3

    Re: Becker: Under 28 Players are Useless

    The thing with Becker for me is that because of his precarious finances I always wonder if his comments are him angling for a coaching gig.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  4. #4

    Re: Becker: Under 28 Players are Useless

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post
    The thing with Becker for me is that because of his precarious finances I always wonder if his comments are him angling for a coaching gig.
    Or just air time
    Meet again we do, old foe...

  5. #5
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    Re: Becker: Under 28 Players are Useless

    Boris bores me. To tears.

  6. #6

    Re: Becker: Under 28 Players are Useless

    Quote Originally Posted by dryrunguy View Post
    Boris bores me. To tears.
    Even when he's making a big point of discussion on Tennis Twitter it's hard to take him seriously.

    The work ethic of younger players has been called into question many times, with some feeling that the work ethic and the mind set of the top three men in tennis and Serena Williams will not be matched anytime soon. I agree with whoever said FAA and Tsisipas look to be the exceptions at this point. I don't know if the players on the women's side will be able to get out of their own way emotionally to play high quality tennis all the time.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  7. #7

    Re: Becker: Under 28 Players are Useless

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post
    The thing with Becker for me is that because of his precarious finances I always wonder if his comments are him angling for a coaching gig.
    Didn't know about his finances. Good to know.

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