DUBAI (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic has hailed the influence of his coach Boris Becker and believes he can go on to achieve much more success thanks to his flourishing partnership with the German legend.
“We still want to achieve a lot -- it’s only the beginning,” said Djokovic in Dubai, as he enthused about winning two grand slams and regaining his world number one spot since linking up with Becker last year.
“Especially in the second part of 2014, things really started to click together for us on and off the court.”
Talking to reporters before the Dubai Championships where he is top seed, Djokovic explained how Becker was helping him adjust to life as a tennis-playing father.
“We’ve had similar careers because I think he became a father when he was 26 or 27. We talked a lot about that part, how that is influencing your tennis and your career and how you can organize your life,” said Djokovic, whose first child was born last October.
When they joined forces in January 2014, many in the sport had wondered what six-time grand slam winner Becker, whose colorful off-court life had long since threatened to eclipse his immense tennis achievements, could offer Djokovic.
Yet the unlikely partnership, which came about after the 27-year-old had lost his number one ranking to Rafael Nadal, has already helped the Serb win last year’s Wimbledon and the recent Australian Open, his eighth grand slam title.
“I learn something new from him constantly,” said Djokovic. “He contributed a lot from a psychological point of view because he has been in these situations before. He understands the challenges I need to face, the obstacles I need to overcome to win big titles.”
A four-time Dubai champion, Djokovic could face Czech Tomas Berdych in the semi-finals, with Roger Federer and Andy Murray as potential final opponents.
Djokovic, citing father-of-four Federer as an example of how to combine on-court excellence with a happy family life, added: ”There are still a few more years in my legs and in my head. People emphasize winning, but for me it’s more about having this true passion towards the sport.
“If I‘m able to sustain that over a long period, I believe results will come as a consequence of that pure emotion, of playing the sport I fell in love with the first time I held a racket in my hands.”
Reporting by Matt Smith; Editing by Ian Chadband