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SBD Global/December 19, 2013/People and Pop Culture

World No. 2 Novak Djokovic Appoints Former Champ Boris Becker As New Head Coach

NOVAK DJOKOVIC has appointed BORIS BECKER "as his new head coach," according to the PA. The former three-time Wimbledon champion and six-time Grand-Slam winner "will begin working with Djokovic before the Australian Open," which begins on Jan. 13. Becker will join Djokovic's current coaching team of MARIAN VAJDA, MILJAN AMANOVIC and GEBHARD PHIL-GRITSCH "and accompany him to all four majors." Vajda, who has worked with Djokovic since '06, will take on a reduced role in '14, "attending events in Indian Wells, Madrid, Toronto and Beijing" (PA, 12/18). REUTERS' Martyn Herman wrote Becker once "shared a bitter rivalry" with IVAN LENDL across the net and now the two former world number ones "will try to outwit each other from courtside after the German's shock appointment." After Djokovic was named ITF World Champion for '13 despite being overshadowed by Spain's RAFAEL NADAL, "Serbia's world number two announced the first shake-up of his team" since a short and unsuccessful spell with TODD MARTIN in '09. Djokovic's decision to work with 46-year-old Becker means two of the current "Big Four" are now coached by former greats, with Lendl helping Britain's ANDY MURRAY to the 2012 U.S. Open title and this year's Wimbledon crown. The last time Djokovic tinkered with his close-knit entourage, "he brought in former American player Martin but the relationship was terminated in 2010 after a less than fruitful year together" (REUTERS, 12/18). DER TAGESSPIEGEL's Petra Philippsen reported Becker "will mentor the 26-year-old at the 12 most important tournaments in '14, which represent 20 weeks out of the 11-month season" (DER TAGESSPIEGEL, 12/18).
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