Australian Open defending champion Novak Djokovic predicts new coach Boris Becker will make him a more aggressive player.
Becker’s serve-and-volley tactics helped the German to three Wimbledon titles in the late 1980s, among six grand slam trophies overall.
While Djokovic rarely ventures from the baseline and acknowledged more powerful racquets meant that had become the mainstay of the current game, he believes he can still adopt aspects of Becker’s style.
“Now the game is based on the baseline, longer rallies and so forth,” Djokovic said.
“Well, I believe with his great volleys, that aggressive kind of mindset also, from that point of view he can help me.”
It comes as Roger Federer has started working with another great serve-volleyer of the 1980s-90s, Stefan Edberg.
While Becker has suggested that the success of Ivan Lendl with Andy Murray influenced Djokovic and Federer to also employ past champions, the Serb disagreed.
He said Becker’s appointment was sparked by his long-time coach Marian Vijda wanting help so he no longer has to travel fulltime.
“He actually had also the initiative of recommending somebody that has been in similar situations and has a similar mindset, knows what I’m going through,” Djokovic said.
While Djokovic, who will meet Slovak Lukas Lacko in the first round on Monday night, is seeded second behind Rafael Nadal, he is the hot favourite to win the tournament for a fifth time and fourth straight.
That status is enhanced by world No.4 Andy Murray, a finalist in three of the past four years, having only recently returned from back surgery.
But Djokovic said he had practised with the Scot since his return and he shouldn’t be written off.
“He’s striking the ball really well. Obviously it’s going to take a little bit of time to get into that match play mode. I’m sure that he’s going to be just fine,” he said.
Djokovic tipped Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt, who like Federer, Murray and world No.1 Nadal is on the opposite side of the draw to him, could also go deep into the tournament.
“Whenever he’s fit and ready he still can beat anyone,” Djokovic said.