by Mauro Cappiello
Ops, Boris Becker did it again... Like his first autobiography, published in 2003 and internationally known with the title "The Player", also his new book has raised a lot of reactions.
In the blosson of the newly extended grasscourt season, with only a few days left to the start of the Championships, Becker launched the volume "Wimbledon: My Life and Career at the All England Club." But more than the German's narration of his three trophies and four finals at SW19, what caught the media attention were the book contents anticipated by English daily "The Telegraph", especially his comparisons between today's and yesterday's tennis worlds and some "behind the scenes" connected to his new role as coach of Novak Djokovic.
If one may agree that today's players are limited by too many rules preventing them from being themselves on court, fans and commentators were left wondering about the need of the German's comments on the relationship between the current world number one and Roger Federer.
"They [Federer and Djokovic] don't particularly like each other. The reason Roger is one of the highest-paid athletes of all time is because he's liked by everybody," Becker writes in his book. "But think about this-you can't possibly be liked by everybody... He makes good money out of his image, but would he make less if we saw a bit more of his true feelings?"
Writing these sentences maybe Becker didn't realize that he is no longer only a BBC expert, but he also speaks as Djokovic's head coach. Such comments obviously create unnecessary embarassment and tension between Nole and his main rival for the Wimbledon title, besides being extremely unpleasant towards a man who considers Boris as his childhood tennis inspiration, along with Stefan Edberg.
"Unnecessary" is also the word Federer used to reply to Becker's opinions. "He should know me well enough to know that I'm a relaxed guy. It's always dangerous when you are talking a lot. Sometimes you say things you should not," said the Swiss from Halle, where, minutes ago, he won the fourth ATP title of his season and his 15th on grass, beating Andreas Seppi in the final.
"It is well known that I initially had problems with Novak's manner on court but now he behaves wonderfully and fairly. I have no problem with Novak. Of course I don't like what he said - after all he was once my idol."
This story reminds of Becker's revelations in 2003, when, in his first autobiography, he wrote about his hard time between 1987 and 1992: the pressure of the expectations he had to live with drove him to abuse of sleeping tablets that, in his words, affected some of his performances like his 1990 Wimbledon final against Stefan Edberg (also read Edberg's reaction back then.)
Politically correct is maybe killing tennis, but there must be a way of going beyond it without being inappropriate. Becker showed once more he wasn't able to find it.
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