Becker: I'm better as a coach than a player

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Becker: I'm better as a coach than a player

Post by barrystar on Tue Jun 07, 2016 1:04 pm

According to a recent interview, Boris thinks that,

his coaching prowess came to the fore in his ability to "analyse opponents and matches" and also put himself in the position of a player to help broach different scenarios.

He joined Djoko for 2014, and after the third OK year in a row measured by Djoko's post 2011 standards, he has taken off as we have all seen.  Watching Boris commentating at Wimbledon I thought that the occasional insight was diluted by too much hyperbole, cliche, and statements of the blindingly obvious.  I guess as a coach there isn't the same pressure to say something, anything, when a microphone is shoved in front of your nose, and you can be much more focused in a way that might lose a general TV audience.

Djoko is a very smart guy who is unlikely to suffer fools, and his results since 2014 have been fantastic (as many slams in 2 years as Boris won in his career), so Boris may well be right.

What do more knowledgeable posters think about Boris's contribution to the Djoko success story?
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Re: Becker: I'm better as a coach than a player

Post by HM Murdock on Tue Jun 07, 2016 1:45 pm

I think he's added exactly what Novak wanted him to add: the extra couple of percent that is the difference between occasional winner and serial winner.

As far as I can gather, Boris has played the role of a 'consultant' - analysing opponents and also giving encouragement in pressure situations - but he's also brought some important technical improvements:

Serve - especially 2nd serve. The improvement here cannot be overstated. I think this improvement alone has probably added two slams to Novak's total. In fact, in 2015, Novak won a greater percentage of 2nd serve points than any other player (1. Djokovic 60%, 2. Isner 58%, 3. Raonic 58%).

It's difficult to say how much of this is due to Becker, but when someone with one of the great serves is added to the team and Novak's serve improves, it's tough not to see a correlation.

Court position - I've seen Becker say directly that court position is one of the things he changed in Novak's game. He moved him further forward into a more aggressive position.

Volleying - Novak will never be a natural at the net but what was a liability is now a reliable part of his game. It's a chink in the armour that has been repaired.

I had my doubts when Becker was appointed but I think it has turned out to be an unqualified success.

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Re: Becker: I'm better as a coach than a player

Post by paulcz on Tue Jun 07, 2016 1:53 pm

It took a while between Nole and Boris to be on the same note, but I see this combination as best possible for Nole. Boris is a strong character, highly competitive and can act as a real mentor to Nole. I have also no doubt that he has a good eye like a merlin on him and his opponents. I see many improvements in Nole's game and he is much more comfortable on the courts with BB.
There are not much such succesful couples, but Stan with Norman are another one. Bad luck for Murray as he separated with Ivan. Ivan was a different league versus his post coaches and his positive influence on Murray was huge.

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Re: Becker: I'm better as a coach than a player

Post by sirfredperry on Tue Jun 07, 2016 3:21 pm

Boris has brought to Novak what Lendl brought to Murray - that invaluable been-there-done-that experience.
There's only so much a coach can do to improve players of Murray's and Djoko's ability. But what they can pass on is their own thoughts and feelings when they were playing at the top and competing with the best for grand slams.
Yes, you don't necessarily have to have been a top player to be a good coach. And, yes, some of the top players would make lousy coaches.
But only those who played at the highest level can pass on HOW IT FELT to a player striving to emulate them. Couldn't understand, for example, why Henman stuck with David Felgate and didn't try to get a top-notch former champion to take him that bit further.

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