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London | Becker defends Zverev’s decision

London | Becker defends Zverev’s decision

Boris Becker has jumped to the defence of German compatriot Alexander Zverev for playing an exhibition tour while the newly-formatted Davis Cup finals take place next week.

What he does in his off time, he's his own man. We were all our own boss. What he chooses to do or not to do between the end of the ATP Finals and the beginning of 2020 is his choice Boris Becker

Zverev has come under fire for signing up to play Roger Federer rather than help his country in the 18-nations finals in Madrid.

But Becker, 51, who twice helped his nation to glory, said: “He’s old enough to make his own decision. He decided amongst a few other players when the decision was made to change the Davis Cup format and to have it in one week next year not to participate.

“He’s done the decision already a while ago amongst many other players. We accept it. On the other hand, he’s always played for Germany whenever I ask him. He played in the first round against Hungary in Frankfurt the beginning of the year, and he did his bit and he’s won his points.

“He was very excited to play at the ATP Cup, as well. What he does in his off time, he’s his own man. We were all our own boss. What he chooses to do or not to do between the end of the ATP Finals and the beginning of 2020 is his choice.”

Becker was promoting the new ATP Cup being played for the first time in the New Year.

But he declined to be drawn on his views on playing two global team competitions six weeks apart.

Becker, named by Zverev as German ATP Cup captain said: “Look, you can also mention the Laver Cup in September. That’s also a team competition. The good news is there are strong interests in tennis. A lot of people want to participate. A lot of people want to organise.

“There is a lot of money at stake, a lot of points. That’s the good news. Now, is that the perfect scenario? No. But I don’t want to talk about the politics in tennis. I think we are here today to speak about a new competition, a new venture, a new event, which is great. I’m not responsible for the Davis Cup format, and I’m not responsible for the Laver Cup, either.”

Thomas Muster and Marat Safin, named as Austrian and Russian captains, attended a press conference with Becker and ATP supremo Chris Kermode at the Nitto ATP Finals to start a 50-day countdown to the competition to be held in Australia.

About The Author

Mike Donovan

Mike Donovan is a journalist and author who has covered tennis for 30 years. He was tennis correspondent on Today, the first all-electronic, all-colour newspaper, and contributed to the official Wimbledon website. He has scribed for most national dailies and magazines on the sport of the fuzzy green ball, as the late Bud Collins used to describe tennis. Mike has twice won British Sports Writer of the Year awards. He is the author of a variety of football books and has one out on Pitch Publishing called The King of White Hart Lane: The Authorised Biography of Alan Gilzean, a Tottenham Hotspur, Dundee and Scotland footballing icon. It is a follow up to Glory, Glory Lane related to the 118-year history of Spurs at White Hart Lane.

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