Boris Becker said Novak Djokovic approached him to become his head coach the day the Serb lost the world No 1 ranking to Spaniard Rafa Nadal in October this year.
Djokovic’s announcement this week that the German six-times grand slam champion was to become his coach was greeted with surprise and Becker himself said it had been unexpected.
“I was approached by Novak and his manager while he was playing in Beijing,” London-based Becker told BBC Sport yesterday. “He decided he needed somebody in his corner that had been there and done it.
“I was surprised – I didn’t expect the phone call. I was very honoured.
“He had a couple of bad losses this year in the finals of the Grand Slams. He’s such a winner and wants to win so badly and wants to go into the history books of tennis,” said Becker.
“The fact Nadal has taken over and [Andy] Murray has moved up a gear, he was left behind a little bit – I’m talking on a really high level, the last five or ten per cent that maybe has been missing for whatever reason. He decided he needed somebody in his corner that had been there and done it, and that’s why I’m coming in.”
Marian Vajda, who has been 26-year-old Djokovic’s coach for each of his six grand slam titles, will continue as part of the team but Becker is set to assume head coach responsibilities at the forthcoming Australian Open which starts on 13 January.
It will be Becker’s first foray into coaching a top-level player and he said he would put 100 per cent into it.
“This isn’t a half-hearted job, it wouldn’t be right for him or for me,” Becker said. “You’re in it to win it. You either go at it fully or you don’t – either I commit myself or I don’t commit myself.”
Becker joins another former world No 1 and multiple grand slam winner Ivan Lendl in the coaching circle after the Czech-born American teamed up with Murray at the start of 2012 and has since guided the Scot to two major titles.
“When Ivan was appointed, I thought about what took some of these guys so long to talk about some of these all-time greats [as coaches],” said Becker.