Boris Becker has claimed that Novak Djokovic took his foot off the pedal during the latter part of the 2016 season when he lost his World No. 1 spot to Andy Murray. The German added that the Serb's desire to spend more time with his family than on the tennis court resulted in the "downfall".
"He didn't spend as much time on the practice court in the last six months as he should have and he knows that," Becker told Sky News.
Djokovic, who has won six grand slam titles since December 2013 with Becker on his coaching team, parted ways with the German yesterday. Becker, who won six grand slam titles as a professional player, said that he knew what it took to become a successful tennis player and that one has to work hard and sacrifice family time to achieve greatness.
"The profession of a tennis player is probably the most selfish one in sports because it has to be about you and he is the first to say he is a family man, so of course, his wife and the rest of his family had to take back seats," Becker added.
"They don't spend enough time together. I had it too, 20 years ago. It is just the nature of the beast, being a tennis player."
"Success like this doesn't happen by pushing a button. Success like this doesn't just happen by showing up at a tournament. You have to work your bottom off because the opposition does the same," he told Sky News.
Djokovic started the season with a flourish winning the first two majors of the season en route to completing a Career-slam. Since then, however, it has all been downhill. He was ousted from the Wimbledon by American Sam Querrey and at the Rio Olympics, he lost in the very first round to Argentine Juan Martin del Potro. At the US Open, Djokovic appeared to be back to full fitness but lost the final to Stan Wawrinka. According to Becker, the final defeat was an enormous psychological blow to the then World No. 1.
"I know the U.S. Open loss in the final against Stan hurt. I think that is what he needed maybe in a funny way was to lose a little bit, to realise what it is like to lose, because he hasn't been losing for two and a half years," Becker said.
"I am sure the fact that he lost the number one ranking to Andy Murray is going to hurt. But he has got to go back to work. He has to go back to the office and practice these hours and refocus on what made him strong in the first place."