All week, the eyes of the tennis world have been switching their attention to Wimbledon, so much so that now everybody is focused on the events at SW19. With so many scrutinising eyes on the Championships, some people will need to watch what they do and say – Team Djokovic have found out the hard way.
After snatching defeat from the jaws of a Career Slam at the French Open, the perfect tonic for Djokovic at the moment would be another domineering Wimbledon title; a defence of the crown he won for a second time in last year’s final.
Last minute preparations, however, have taken a turn for the worse after the world number one’s coach inadvertently sparked a cheating debate.
Boris Becker, a man who is no stranger to triumphing on the London grass having done so three times during an illustrious playing career, has formed something of a coaching dream-team with the Serbian star, however their methods are being questioned in the wake of a radio interview by the German.
When asked to discuss the duo’s relationship, Becker spoke of how they can communicate on-court: “I think there is a bond, a relationship, an understanding of the player and coach,” he told the BBC. “Obviously I’ve got my job and it’s a very intimate relationship because it’s one on one.
“There are moments when he looks up and he needs assurance that what he is doing is right. And then we have our ways about it to tell him it’s good or tell him it’s bad. And then it’s up to him to change it.”
According to the official rule book, on-court coaching is not allowed under any circumstances and now Djokovic and Becker may be left to sweat on whether their signals are deemed to be illegal by the powers that be.
It must be difficult for Djokovic in particular, he strikes you as somebody who prefers to go about his work in the shadows. It seems to have worked very well for him in an era where Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have been the real superstars.
At the very least, this will come as unwanted attention and it seems a little harsh. Anything, absolutely anything, could be adjudged to be an illegal signal; a particular swig of water, the wiping away of sweat from the weaker hand or even eye contact. All players will have their own special kind of contact with their coach on-court. This really is a storm in a teacup.
I really do hope, for common sense’s sake, that nobody believes that a signal between Djokovic and Becker is the reason behind a truly unbelievable run of form in 2015, it’s rather ludicrous. Let’s give this fantastic player a break, he’s earned his glory – there’s nothing shady about it.
Nonetheless, this issue does show one thing. It shows that you that at the top level of sport that you cannot let your guard down for one moment.
Djokovic can brush this aside, he’s too good to let it affect him for too long, but this is not how he’d like his defence to begin.