Tennis star Boris Becker said his former ward Novak Djokovic has two personalities and the on-court one can get ‘ugly’ at time because he is so deeply competitive.
“In a funny way, I would always call him ‘schatzi’, which means sweetheart, and so when people were in the elevator and he started picking up German, everybody was surprised,” Becker was quoted saying by BBC.
“He’s got two personalities,” the six-time major champion added.
“There’s the one on the court – the machine-like, Zen-like, businesslike competitor that wants to win no matter what.
“And then you’ve got the Novak off the court, who is a sweetheart – loves his family, loves his charity, loves his country – and he would give you his last shirt if you needed one.
“So you have these two sides that fight with one another sometimes on the court and I think that’s why people sometimes don’t understand or criticise him because they see this fierce competitor that can be ugly at times. But it all comes from a good place.”
The Serb is chasing Grand Slam No 19 at the French Open, which begins on Sunday.
He is currently two short of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s record tally of 20 majors each. His former coach Becker, though, believes that Nadal is the best of the lot.
“Nadal is ahead, in my book, because of the way he plays the game,” said Becker.
“I would rate Federer as the most talented I have ever seen, I would rate Djokovic as the most fierce I have ever seen, but Nadal, boy, when he gets going and picks his shorts and the eyebrows, I wouldn’t want to play him on any surface.”
Nadal has already won 13 titles at French Open and is an overwhelming favourite going into Roland Garros this year too.