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Rediff.com  » Sports » Becker appointed head of German men's tennis

Becker appointed head of German men's tennis

Last updated on: August 23, 2017 17:03 IST

'Tennis is a matter of the heart for me. It is what I can do best. I don't need to talk about my achievements as a player and I am proud of my accomplishments as coach.'

Boris Becker

IMAGE: Boris Becker during a news conference in Frankfurt. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker was appointed on Wednesday as head of men's tennis in his home country as the German federation (DTB) looks to revive the once hugely popular sport.

"Boris Becker will be head of men's tennis effective immediately and in this position he will be in charge of the entire men's game," Ulrich Klaus, the president of the DTB, told a news conference.

Klaus said Becker would also have a consulting role in the Davis Cup team.

 

A former world number one who won six Grand Slams as a player, Becker was also a former Davis Cup coach for Germany from 1997 to 1999 but had an uneasy relationship with the federation.

He won 49 singles titles overall, two Davis Cup crowns and also clinched Olympic doubles gold with Michael Stich at the Barcelona Games in 1992.

But German men have not won a Grand Slam singles title since Becker's 1996 Australian Open victory and the last German man to win Wimbledon was Stich back in 1991.

For years, Germans were captivated by the victories of Becker and Steffi Graf on the tour and would sit through hours of daily tennis on television.

But tennis-mania in the country gradually ebbed as success became rarer and sponsor money dried up in the early 2000s with the sport dropping down the popularity pecking order.

Becker had a hugely successful spell coaching former world number one Novak Djokovic from 2013 to 2016, a period in which the Serb won six of his 12 Grand Slam titles.

However, the 49-year-old was declared bankrupt by a court in London in June after failing to pay a long-standing debt to UK-based private bankers since 2015.

"Tennis is a matter of the heart for me. It is what I can do best. I don't need to talk about my achievements as a player and I am proud of my accomplishments as coach," Becker told reporters.

"I love this sport. I love this country and I am happy again to play an important role in German tennis."

Becker, who underwent ankle surgery recently and was on crutches, said the deal would be until at least the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

"This is the new DTB. I had my problems with the old DTB but that is in the past now. The timing seems to fit now. We will do it until the Olympics in Japan and then we will see," he said.

Source:
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