Boris Becker is no Andre Agassi, according to his critics. Or at least the great German tennis champion isn’t as open in his new book — Boris Becker’s Wimbledon: My life and career at the All England Club — as the American was in the revelatory Open, Agassi’s memoir. But any book, even a paean to Wimbledon, which is what Becker’s book mostly is, must make news. Becker’s news isn’t so much about his playing days as his coaching days, which saw him guide World No. 1 Novak Djokovic. That gives Becker some firsthand insight into the Federer-Djokovic rivalry.
In his book, Becker writes Federer and Djokovic don’t “particularly like each other.” But you’ll never hear it from Federer, who’s too concerned about his zillion dollar image to speak his mind — according to Becker. Becker wonders would Federer really “make less if we saw more of his true feelings?” It’s a good question. Agassi, after revealing — among other surprising, controversial things — that he used to do crystal meth while on breaks from pro tennis, hasn’t ended up in the poorhouse. It’s supposedly an age of transparency, but the price pro athletes pay for breaking their carefully crafted images is like the price they pay when their form breaks down on a ground stroke. They lose the point. In marketing, it might be a decimal point — on a check.