London, June 9:
Six-time Major winner Boris Becker said tennis no longer has entertaining rivalries because players are too scared of being fined for swearing about their opponents.
The installation of on-court microphones at Wimbledon and other tournaments, capable of picking up every muttered expletive, has created a generation of players hamstrung by political correctness, thinks Becker.
The three-time Wimbledon champion said there is a “open secret” in the tennis world that Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic dislike each other, and that Federer “cannot possibly” be as nice as he appears.
“We have great characters but it’s true they don’t show it as much because they can’t. They get fined and there are microphones on the court that pick up every curse or utterance in frustration,” Becker was quoted as saying by telegraph.co.uk on Monday.
“As a result, it’s very difficult to verbalise your frustration nowadays because everyone hears it and you go back to the locker room to face a fine of $10,000 or $20,000 or even more.”
Becker, currently Djokovic’s coach, said tennis remains a “terrific” sport but it is now “a little too politically correct”. He argued that seeing more rivalry on court would improve ratings for the men’s game and called for more honesty from players.
Discussing the idea that Federer and Djokovic “don’t particularly like each other”, Becker said: “The reason Roger is one of the highest-paid athletes of all time is he’s liked by everybody. But think about this, you can’t possibly be liked by everybody. He makes good money out of his image, but would he make less if we saw a bit more of his true feelings?”
He also admitted that in his early Wimbledon days he felt uncomfortable with some of the traditions, such as bowing to the royal box or being restricted to wearing white. (IANS)