Ahead of the Laureus Awards night in Monte Carlo, Boris Becker spoke about the Australian Open final won by Roger Federer over Rafael Nadal in five sets.
'Before the start of the Australian Open, everyone had been asking where do they go? After the tournament they have shown that they go to the very top,' Becker said. 'They showed some real drive and sent a message to Djokovic and Murray saying they are coming back. The way Federer played in Melbourne, it goes on to show that there is more to come and that is true for Nadal also. He is the favourite to win Roland Garros, it's clear that he can aspire to everything. It's good for tennis that Rafa cameback'. About the end of the cooperation between Nadal and Toni at the end of the year, Becker said: 'I don't think that they will split, I can't see it.'
Commenting on Federer's historical achievement, Becker added, 'Winning 18 Grand Slams is huge. Who does that? But Federer made it look so easy and effortless. His elegance and classy way of achieving it is something that not many sportspersons will be able to replicate in future. A few months back the question was when will Novak equal and cross Federer's Grand Slam record but now suddenly the question has changed to whether he can do it. I feel both Rafael and Novak may catch Federer but even he is going on. The more he wins, the more he will want to play. Tennis at top level is about mentality and not so much about form. The maturity of a player is important.'
He also spoke about Juan Martin Del Potro, who won the silver medal at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and won the Davis Cup title in November. He was among the nominees for the 'Comeback of the Year' Laureus Award. 'The way he has made a comeback is remarkable', Becker said. 'Tennis is a tough sport. There is a lot of pressure as it is an individual sport. You do not have teammates to rely on. The endurance and quality to fight it throughout the year is tough. There are no off seasons.'
Becker also added he could comeback on the ATP Tour as a coach after that he split with Novak Djokovic in December. Alexander Zverev recently said that he would love to hire Boris, but can't afford it. 'Coaching comes naturally to me. I would surely like to come back to it. Also I would like to be involved with TV commentating or something on tennis. This is my world and one way or the other I want to be associated with it. But it also has to be the right moment to make a comeback as coach because it has to benefit the player I would be associated with and not me. Whenever a player requires me, I would go back to coaching, so it has to be the right time.'
He finally spoke about Maria Sharapova, who will comeback to compete on 26 April in Stuttgart for the first time in 15 months after the doping ban. 'Principally, I am all for a second chance. She paid her dues, she was suspended for quite a long time. I don't know about the reaction of the other players, it's up to them. Everyone has their own choice. Hopefully the atmosphere (inside the locker room) will be good. We can move on and have good women's champions.'
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