Boris Becker has revealed he has long feared Novak Djokovic would find himself in trouble after the Serbian was defaulted from the US Open for hitting a tennis ball at a line judge.
In an extraordinary moment, after his serve was broken by opponent Pablo Carreno Busta Djokovic reacted in frustration and struck a ball towards the back of the court but it hit a lineswoman in the throat.
The rules of tennis state that contact made with an official is an automatic default of the match and despite his pleas, Djokovic was withdrawn from the match.
In the aftermath of the incident, Djokovic’s past indiscretions have come to light with footage from the French Open in 2016 showing him lose control of his racket after attempting to slam it to the ground and narrowly miss a linesperson.
Becker was Djokovic’s coach at the time and remains close to the world No 1.
And he revealed he spoke to the 33-year-old and warned him about being more careful.
“When I was working in his coaching team, I was in the player box during that incident with the racket-throwing at the 2016 French Open when, accidentally, he nearly connected with a line judge,” told the Daily Mail.
“We spoke afterwards about it, because that was a narrow escape. I know what the pressure is like in a big match and was not always Mr Nice Guy as a player.
“I said to him you can scream as much as you like, break your racket, but don’t throw things or hit the ball away.
“I was worried something like this might happen.”
Becker also believes Djokovic’s time and attention had been taken up by activity off the court which may have contributed to his lack of judgement.
He added: “To me, he is paying the price for taking too many things on before and during a Grand Slam, especially with his leadership of the new players’ organisation.
“Winning a tennis major is incredibly difficult, because it involves focusing on a goal for a whole fortnight and maintaining your form against the best in the world. That has not changed since I was playing.
“So I feared Novak may have taken on too much when I saw everything that was happening around the new organisation.
“For example, when Adrian Mannarino was being prevented last Friday by local health officials from taking to the court (due to his contacts with positively-tested Benoit Paire), it was the world No 1 who was trying to reach the State Governor on his behalf to help him.
“He was even playing his own match that night. Most top players would have got their agent involved or something, but instead Novak took it on himself.
“You cannot pile these extra pressures on during a Grand Slam.”
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