Shanghai: World number one Novak Djokovic said yesterday he hadn’t made any plans to keep Boris Becker as a coach next year as they appeared headed for a split. Djokovic, speaking after cruising into the Shanghai Masters quarter-finals, said he had only made arrangements with the German great for the rest of the season.
“We are still working (together), yeah for now the plan is the rest of the season, what’s left, indoor tournaments,” he said. Asked what would happen next year, Djokovic said: “We still haven’t talked about it.”
Becker joined Djokovic’s coaching team at the start of 2014, helping him win six Grand Slam titles and put together one of the all-time great seasons last year. But speculation about their partnership has grown since the Serb suffered a crisis of motivation and a series of injuries since completing a career Grand Slam at the French Open.
Djokovic says he has now taken a fresh mental approach since he lost in Wimbledon’s third round and in round one at the Olympics, while also enduring wrist and elbow problems. “I don’t think about any trophies or number ones in the world, rankings, anything like that. It’s completely different,” he said earlier this week.
Djokovic skipped last week’s China Open with a wrist injury but there were few doubts about his form as he dismantled Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 6-4 yesterday.
Meanwhile, Djokovic called for tennis to “improve and evolve” after the women’s tour signalled a move towards new scoring formats. Djokovic said different scoring methods were worth considering to make tennis, whose matches vary wildly in duration, easier to follow on TV.
“All sports are doing everything they can in order to get their sport to the highest possible level and fulfil their potential,” Djokovic said. “I think tennis has yet to fulfil its full potential. I think we are at a good state at the moment, for sure but we still have a lot of room to get better.”
Women’s Tennis Association chief executive Steve Simon has said he’s considering using super tie-breaks and no-ad scoring, already used in doubles, in singles matches. Djokovic’s cautious welcome contrasts with the reaction from Rafael Nadal, who said tennis thrived on long and “dramatic matches that become emotional”.
“Tennis has values that we need to follow, in my opinion,” the Spanish 14-time Grand Slam-winner said this month in Beijing. Some exhibition matches play sets up to four games, rather than six, while the International Premier Tennis League has experimental rules including no ‘let’ serves and a timer between points.
“Some of the rules are worthy of consideration... some are not,” Djokovic said. “So I guess we all have to come together and figure out the way we want to improve and evolve, because everything else is going in that direction.”