Andy Murray - Miami Open 2023

Andy Murray labelled ‘an absolute role model’ by rivals former coach

Andy Murray has been praised for dropping down to Challenger level by Novak Djokovic’s former coach, Boris Becker, who described the Brit as a ‘role model for the younger generation’.

Murray opted to play the event in Aix-en-Provence last week, after a first round exit in the Madrid Open, and went on to win his first title since 2019 when beating No.17 Tommy Paul in the final.

Boris Becker coached Djokovic between 2014 and 2016, winning six Grand Slams and 14 Masters 1000 titles together, and has waxed lyrical about a rival of the Serb’s.

“The question is: Why does he play a Challenger tournament?,” said Becker. “Because he simply knows that even an Andy Murray needs match experience and the victories on the court.”

The German continued, “Now he comes to the unloved red clay – I know what he’s talking about – and doesn’t mind going to the Challenger. And what does he do? He wins it against Tommy Paul, who is also ranked in the top 20 in the world.”

“He actually does everything you would advise a junior player to do – as a former world No.1, two-time Wimbledon winner and decorated Scot – because he knows he has to stay in match mode. That’s an absolute role model for the younger generation.”

Not only has Becker praised Murray who keeps playing for his ‘love of the game’, but also another three-time Grand Slam champion in Stan Wawrinka.

“The fact that these great stars still play is not the money, it’s there,” Becker said. “It’s just the love of the game. They know they need match experience to develop and get better. I don’t always see that with the younger players. I see many matches where I ask myself why they play at all.”

He added, “I don’t see the passion there, nor the ability to suffer – something you can’t say about Wawrinka or Murray. They always leave their soul on the court and play tennis for the right reasons.”

Murray is scheduled to take part in another ATP Challenger event next week in Bordeaux, which Wawrinka is also entered in, after another first round defeat in a Masters 1000 event.

Andy Murray vs Novak Djokovic with Boris Becker

Murray and Djokovic have had some huge battles over the years, including in seven Grand Slam finals, and Becker took over the Serb when Murray was perhaps coming to his peak ending 2016 as world No.1.

The pair have played each other 36 times, with their most recent contest coming six years ago in the final of Doha.

We at Tennishead wanted to compare the head-to-head between Murray and Djokovic when Becker was involved, compared to when he was not.

Andy Murray vs Novak Djokovic Overall: 11-25

Head-to-head with Becker as coach of Djokovic: 3-13

Head-to-head without Becker as coach of Djokovic: 8-12

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.