Novak Djokovic faces ‘uncomfortable’ Paris Masters reunion that could haunt him

Novak Djokovic will face a tough reunion with Boris Becker at the Paris Masters when the World No 1 meets Holger Rune in the quarter-final. Djokovic conceded at the start of the tournament that facing former coach Becker, who now oversees Rune’s development, would be ‘uncomfortable’.

That clash has now materialised, with Djokovic reaching the last-eight alongside Rune. The Dane might have an advantage over Djokovic thanks to Becker, who will know how to beat the 24-time Grand Slam champion.

Becker coached Djokovic between 2013 and 2016, with the pair enjoying an incredibly successful professional relationship. The Serb won six Grand Slams under the guidance of Becker, in addition to ATP Masters 1000 tournaments.

Djokovic admitted that it would be ‘uncomfortable’ coming up against the German. “Boris is a dear friend, someone who has been through a lot in the last several years of his life. I’m really glad to see him back on the tour as a coach,” Djokovic said of Becker, who recently served eight months in prison.

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“It’s probably not going to be that nice and comfortable for me seeing him, if I face Holger, seeing him in the opposite box, because that hasn’t happened yet. If it does, obviously that’s not a great feeling.

“But at the same time, I have maintained a friendly relation with Boris and he knows I really love him a lot and his family. I’m really glad that they came together.”

Djokovic may be wary that Becker has excellent knowledge of his weaknesses. There are few better placed that the three-time Wimbledon champion to devise a game plan to defeat the reigning US Open champion.

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The 20-year-old Rune will therefore be capable of pulling off a major upset in Friday’s clash in Paris. Djokovic praised the youngster’s appointment of Becker.

“I think it’s a very good decision from Holger to invite Boris to join his team,” Djokovic said. “Boris is legend of our sport, someone that understands the game so well from a player’s perspective, coaching perspective.

“He’s been around the game for so many years. He’s seen and played against different players in different generations. Incredibly intelligent, smart man, very confident, obviously composed. He was famous for his mental strength and ability to come up with his best game when he was facing the biggest pressure.”

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