Boris Becker laments German tennis decline, calls for DTB overhaul

Other News Materials 25 January 2009 14:28 (UTC +04:00)

German tennis has hit rock-bottom, national icon Boris Becker said in the wake of a first-week exit of the nation's 20 players at the Australian Open, dpa reported.

Becker, in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag Sunday paper, called for a complete overhaul at the German tennis federation DTB to produce promising talents again in the sport.

"Our tennis has probably never seen worse times. We are in a drought," Becker said.

Becker won six Grand Slams - three Wimbledons, two Australian Opens and one US Open - during his career in the 1980s and 1990s and was the world number one player.

But the nation's tennis has seen no major success since he retired along with Michael Stich and Steffi Graf.

Tommy Haas and Nicolas Kiefer have been plagued by injuries and poor results, never fully living up to their talent. Others have also not met the expectations.

Haas was the last player to go out at the Melbourne Grand Slam, losing in straight sets to top-ranked Rafael Nadal of Spain on Saturday.

"There is no 19- or 20-year-old whom I have recently seen on centre court at Wimbledon, the US Open or Australian Open. And there is no young German player who has managed to take a set of (Roger) Federer or Nadal," said Becker.

"Where are the teenagers who do crazy things on the court?"

Germany has also lost most of its tournaments over the past years and no longer hosts a top-tier event on the men's or women's tour. Becker said that the DTB should have done better in this area as well.

"The times have changed but instead of solving problems there was careless action ... I see no clear position of the DTB in the sporting and the political area. Other successful tennis nations like Spain or France show us how it is done," said Becker.