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Boris Becker fears for calendar if 2020 French & U.S. Opens are cancelled

Video credit: Reuters - Sports
Published on May 5, 2020 - Duration: 06:56s

Boris Becker fears for calendar if 2020 French & U.S. Opens are cancelled

Becker also believes the current coronavirus crisis presents the sport with a unique opportunity to restructure, drop tournaments and bring the men's and women's game closer together.

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Boris Becker fears for calendar if 2020 French & U.S. Opens are cancelled

RESENDING WITH FULL SCRIPT AND SHOTLIST LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (FILE - NOVEMBER 5, 2010) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.

FORMER SIX-TIME GRAND SLAM CHAMPION BORIS BECKER PRACTICING DORTMUND, GERMANY (FILE - FEBRUARY 1, 1991) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS - SCHEDULED NEWS ONLY) 2.

BECKER BEATING ITALY'S OMAR CAMPORESE IN THE DAVIS CUP FOR GERMANY LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (MAY 5, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 3.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER SIX-TIME GRAND SLAM CHAMPION, BORIS BECKER, ON TENNIS RETURNING, SAYING: "I think a lot depends on the decision regarding the U.S. Open and the French Open.

I think if that is positive then we'll have a tournament or two before the Open in America.

I know there won't be any tennis tournament in Canada, I mean, the Prime Minister (Justin) Trudeau already said there wouldn't be any sports game for the rest of the year.

Which, I think is a wrong decision.

I think it's too early to say that.

With some of the other decisions, government have done in March about the rest of the year, I think you know, the situation was so new to everybody.

I think it would be wiser for all respective parties, you know, just wait and check it out a little bit to see what type of illness, how long does it affect, when are the curves coming down but politicians are politicians.

And I think it was good for the (US) Open to say 'listen let's wait and see and not make a rushed decision'.

But, if it's positive then I think that we going to have tennis the rest of the year.

If we don't have the Open, or the French Open, I don't think we will have tennis the rest of the year." LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (FILE - NOVEMBER 5, 2010) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 4.

VARIOUS OF BECKER PRACTICING LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (MAY 5, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 5.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER SIX-TIME GRAND SLAM CHAMPION, BORIS BECKER, ON CHANGING TENNIS SCHEDULE, SAYING: "How can we balance the schedule?

You know, in my perfect world I'd like to see much more combined events for example.

Men and women over 10 days I think would be the ideal scenario moving forward.

In my take we have too many tennis tournaments week in week out.

Sometimes we have two or three in the same week in different countries which I don't think is right.

And obviously those smaller tournaments will have a hard time to survive in the current crisis.

And who knows where they're going to be put back next year.

So, I would really hope that the governing bodies, the big tournaments, the Masters Series on both sides, that they really come together and find a formula that's good for the game." LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (FILE - JUNE 30, 2018) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 6.

VARIOUS OF BECKER SITTING IN STANDS AS ALEXANDER ZVEREV PRACTICED LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (MAY 5, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 7.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER SIX-TIME GRAND SLAME CHAMPION, BORIS BECKER, ON PLAYERS RANKED BELOW 150, SAYING: "Is there enough tennis for that many players?

You know, we have, I don't know, a thousand players, is that right?

We can't see at the moment a thousand players.

So, looking forward to the future, if you are not in the top 150, you know, tennis is a very difficult profession and I think all players beyond 150 feel that right now." LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (FILE - NOVEMBER 8, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 8.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC PRACTICING 9.

ROGER FEDERER PRACTICING 10.

RAFAEL NADAL PRACTICING LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (FILE - JUNE 28, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 11.

SERENA WILLIAMS PRACTICING LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (MAY 5, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 12.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER SIX-TIME GRAND SLAM CHAMPION, BORIS BECKER, ON WHO WILL BENEFIT THE MOST FROM THIS PROLONGED BREAK, SAYING: "We'll see.

I think if the year is lost, then I don't think it's bad for (Roger) Federer or it's bad for Serena (Williams) because they haven't really abused their bodies for another year, so, in a way they've gained a year.

I think it's good for players like Andy Murray, you know, it gives him more time to come back and get physically ready then for 2021.

I don't think the young players benefit actually, because they lose a year, gaining experience in matches.

I think of any group they are affected the most, because they've never taken that much time off.

I think it benefits more (Novak) Djokovic, (Rafael) Nadal, Federer because they know how good they are, they know what to do, and I don't think we are going to see a change of form from them.

But I think the younger players will take more time to come back.

This is my feeling." LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (FILE - JUNE 26, 2015) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 13.

BECKER WITH DJOKOVIC'S COACHING TEAM DURING HIS TIME AS DJOKOVIC'S HEAD COACH LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (MAY 5, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 14.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER SIX-TIME GRAND SLAM CHAMPION, BORIS BECKER, ON HIS LIKING FOR POKER, SAYING: "Competition, you know, it's a very competitive.

You know, poker's a game of skills.

It's not a question of luck.

Yes, if you do hit the ace on the river, okay, surely that's luck, but I'd say most of the game is won by the better player if you see the long run.

I like the fact that I don't have to run around playing poker and I can sit down, just enjoy my evening.

I'm more of a live player, I like to face the other guy.

I like to talk to the other players on the table.

But, I've gotten, you know, this world right now, everything, it's online in anyway.

So, I've gotten used to the online poker games.

In fact, I opened the charity game on Sunday night at the World Series of Poker and I did get into the money.

You know, apart from 1500 players, I finished 130, 140, I thought that was good.

It keeps my mind clear, you know it really, it keeps my mind focused and it's a lovely game." LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (FILE - JUNE 26, 2015) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 15.

BECKER WITH DJOKOVIC AND REST OF DJOKOVIC'S COACHING TEAM STORY: Boris Becker fears there could be no meaningful tennis played this year if the French Open and the U.S. Open don't go ahead.

But the three-time Wimbledon champion added that the current coronavirus crisis presents the sport with a unique opportunity to restructure, drop tournaments and bring the men's and women's game closer together.

Speaking to Reuters TV on Tuesday (May 5), Becker - who was announced as an ambassador for poker website GG Poker and live venue King's Resort last month - added that an enforced absence from tennis would suit the 'big three' of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, as well as Serena Williams, best, and give Andy Murray more time to recover from hip surgery.

The ATP and WTA tours have been suspended since mid-March, and there is no firm date for when tennis will return.

Wimbledon, the year's third Grand Slam, has been cancelled while the French Open has been postponed until October.

As it stands, the US Open, played in late August and early September, will go ahead as scheduled.

Becker said it was crucial that those Grand Slams took place if the professional circuit was going to return before 2021.

Becker, 52, has won more than $100,000 playing poker - including success at a charity tournament last weekend - and says he particularly loves playing because, unlike tennis, he doesn't need to run around.

(Production: Iain Axon / Stefan Haskins)

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