‘We should question the quality and attitude of everybody under 28’: Boris Becker insists young male tennis stars need to up their game after Rafael Nadal grabs his 12th French Open title
- Boris Becker has joined criticism of the next generation of stars in men’s tennis
- He joins other legends who are perplexed at the dominance of the Big Three
- Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have 53 Grand Slams combined
- Dominic Thiem is the only active under 28 to have reached a Grand Slam final
- Becker criticised not only the ability but the mentality of tennis’ youngsters
The continuing failure of the younger generation in men’s tennis to properly lay a glove on the dominant thirtysomethings is beginning to attract the wrath of past legends of the game.
Boris Becker and John McEnroe are among those perplexed that Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are still carving up the Grand Slam titles between them, holding 53 overall and having shared the last 10.
Their dominance has gone on longer than anyone expected, and it has got to the point where Dominic Thiem, beaten by Nadal in Sunday’s French Open, is the only active player under the age of 28 to have even reached a major final.
Rafael Nadal won his 12th French Open title as the dominance of the Big Three continued
Boris Becker criticised youngsters for not dislodging Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic
‘That is not good, not a compliment for anybody under 28,’ said Becker, who was working for Eurosport at Roland Garros. ‘And don’t give me that the others are too good. We should question the quality and attitude of everybody under 28.
‘It just doesn’t make sense. As much as I respect Roger, Rafa, Novak – who else? Show up. Give me something I want to talk about.
‘Eventually they will be too old. But you want to see the passing of the torch while they are in their prime. You want to see Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic beating them when they are still very good. That’s what I’d like to see.’
Dominic Thiem is the only active player under 28 to have reached a Grand Slam final
Becker believes it is down to more than just technical factors.
‘Mindset,’ he asserted. ‘There’s a certain mentality that they don’t have, that the three main men just have. It’s not the forehands. It’s not the fitness. It’s a mentality that makes the difference between winning and losing.’
The main contenders for Wimbledon are not in action this week, with Nadal not playing at all on grass until the start of the Championships, bar perhaps an exhibition match. Most will be in action next week, at the Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s or the ATP event in Halle, Germany.
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