Tennis legend Boris Becker, the coach of Novak Djokovic, has claimed that the absence of superstars Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal from the ATP circuit due to injuries was one of the reasons for the Serb's failure to maintain his number one ranking.
Djokovic, who was the world number one for the majority of the 2016 season, lost his crown to Great Britain's Andy Murray who beat him at the season ending ATP World Tour Finals to end the year as the best player in the world.
Murray, who clinched the Wimbledon Championship and Olympic Gold medal this year, has won 24 matches in succession to claim the number one ranking and has become the first Brit to hold the spot since computerized rankings were introduced in 1973. He is also the second oldest player to claim the number one spot since John Newcombe did it at the age of 30 in 1974.
"He didn't have any opponents anymore. His time was with Nadal, with Federer. Andy was always the fourth guy. So he lost a little bit of his opponents. Murray is showing something he hasn't shown before", said Becker as quoted by CNN.
The six-time Grand Slam winner who has been coach of the Serb since 2014, hailed the performance of his pupil calling him outstanding while also revealing that the Serb lost a bit of motivation post the French Open which made it difficult for the team management.
"The first six months were outstanding. His pinnacle was winning the French Open and winning four majors in a row. It hasn't been done since 1969 by a player called Rod Laver. Naturally, his motivation was a bit off afterwards. He really didn't know what the next big goal would be. Our hands were a little bit tied. He was focusing on off-court priorities, he wanted to spend more time with his family, he has other business interests", the German legend added.
The German believes that Djokovic will emerge from his poor form and bounce back next year. With both Federer and Nadal too set to return soon, 2017 is sure going to be a power-packed season.