Published: 12:05, 19 Dec 2023Updated: 12:05, 19 Dec 2023
Boris Becker and Nick Kyrgios continue to trade blows in their ongoing debate over the past and present quality of tennis.
Becker won six Grand Slams during his career and is regarded as one of the most influential players of his generation.
Becker is one of tennis’ greatest ever playersCredit: Hulton Archive – Getty
The German shone in the 80s and 90s, and has had an impressive coaching career.
But 2022 Wimbledon finalist Kyrgios believes modern stars fare better on the court than those in the past did, and highlighted his own excellence away from the court at drawing in fans.
He recently told The Athletic: “The game was so slow back then. I’ve watched Boris Becker and I’m not saying they weren’t good in their time, but to say that they would be just as good now, it’s absurd.”
Becker responded on social media by saying he ‘makes a lot of noise’ and suggested he lacks credibility as hasn’t won a singles Grand Slam.
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The three-time Wimbledon champion has now addressed the debate and offered more support for his fellow legends of years gone by.
Speaking on Eurosport’s Das Gelbe vom Ball podcast, he said: “We live in a democracy.
“Everyone can think what he wants. You have to have respect for the past and simply say ‘thank you’ out loud that these old pros existed, because without them the tennis circus would no longer exist.
“Let me start with Australia. Rod Laver, Ken Roswall, John Newcombe, Ken Roach – the gladiators of the Australian tennis scene. Then I have to mention Patrick Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt. They were all number one, they won Grand Slam tournaments.
“I go further in the generational question and say: 70s, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, then Ivan Lendl came along.”
Kyrgios believes modern players perform better than legends of the pastCredit: Getty
Becker disagrees and has called for Kyrgios to show more respect to the greatsCredit: AFP
He added: “They popularised the sport, they drew viewers to the television. You can see the result today. There has never been so much prize money, there has never been so much publicity as there is today. And that’s because of the legends.
“I did play a bit in the 80s, but there was [Stefan] Edberg, [Mats] Wilander. The 90s were [Andre] Agassi, [Pete] Sampras. All these players make it possible for Nick Kyrgios not to play tennis at all this year and still be able to make a living from tennis.”
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Kyrgios had his own reply on social media to Becker’s comments as he said on X with laughing emojis: “Bro what. I’ve been one of the FEW PLAYERS that have brought million more fans to the sport and have made more money for everyone.
“NETFLIX [Break Point docuseries]…. Don’t remember seeing Boris on there. Guy is ridiculous. I’ve made my career off the court without the help of the others.”
Kyrgios is currently recovering from injury but will be keen to back up his point back on the court in 2024.
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