Djokovic even hungrier to win Australian Open now: Becker

Now back after his three-year visa ban was waived, Djokovic has won over the fans who cheered him on to win the Adelaide title last week

By Reuters

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

 

Serbia's Novak Djokovic gestures during an exhibition match against Australia's Nick Kyrgios on Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on Friday. — AP
Serbia's Novak Djokovic gestures during an exhibition match against Australia's Nick Kyrgios on Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on Friday. — AP

Published: Fri 13 Jan 2023, 9:35 PM

Novak Djokovic is even hungrier to win a 10th Australian Open title this year following his deportation from Australia 12 months ago due to his unvaccinated Covid-19 status, former world number one Boris Becker said on Friday.

Becker, 55, who was himself deported from Britain last month after being released from prison, told broadcaster Eurosport, for whom he will be a commentator during the Australian Open, Djokovic's top priority was matching Rafa Nadal's haul of 22 Grand Slam titles. He has 21 to his name.


"When you have tasted gold then you are not satisfied with silver," Becker, who also coached Djokovic between 2013-16, said. "Deep inside his soul Novak wants to become the most successful tennis player of all time.

"At the moment this is clearly Nadal and this Nadal record is the highest priority for Djokovic."


Having arrived in Australia unvaccinated 12 months ago, the nine-times Melbourne champion was deported amid a backlash from angry Australians who had endured some of the world's toughest lockdown measures.

Now back after his three-year visa ban was waived, Djokovic has won over the fans who cheered him on to win the Adelaide title last week -- his 11th trophy in the country.

"I am certain this wave (of euphoria) will spill over to Melbourne," Becker said. "I also don't think that the fans there will have any problems.

"It (deportation last year) makes him hotter and more aggressive because he realises he cannot play tennis forever and time is up at some point," Becker said.

"His disappointment a year ago was huge and that will make him even better this season at the Australian Open."

Becker had a far more turbulent 2022 than Djokovic, with the six-times Grand Slam winner jailed for two years and six months by a London court in April for hiding hundreds of thousands of pounds of assets after he was declared bankrupt.

He is now living in Germany following his release from prison and deportation last month.

"Over the New Year holidays I managed to pull back. I only came back a short time ago but in the past four weeks I managed to acclimatise myself," Becker said.

He managed to watch tennis while in prison.

"I missed the proximity to the sport because tennis after all is my greatest passion," Becker said. "I could not watch every tournament but I got (broadcasters) BBC and ITV."

"I watched every match of Wimbledon and saw the highlights of the US Open."


More news from Sports