Becker backs in-game tennis coaching

Murray Wenzel
Ahead of the ATP Cup in January, Boris Becker thinks tennis's 'Big Three' could soon be undone

Boris Becker has renewed the push for in-match coaching, believing it would further shrink a gap between tennis's 'Big Three' and the rest.

The former world No.1 will be courtside as captain of Germany's inaugural ATP Cup team in Brisbane in January, describing it as "the present and the future of the tennis" under one roof ahead of the Australian Open.

The WTA has allowed coaching cameos on tour events since 2008, while the recent Next Gen ATP Finals featured the likes of Australian Alex De Minaur chatting to their mentors between games through headphones.

A Wimbledon champion at 17, Becker thinks that kind of hands-on advice is overdue in the men's game, even if Roger Federer disagrees.

"I think it would benefit the game to sit on the court (and coach), but opinions are divided," he told AAP.

"I'm all for it; tennis is the only sport where a coach isn't on the court.

"Why that is is a long story, but it's why I like the ATP Cup format - the (coaching role) has to be hands on."

Speaking on Friday ahead of January's inaugural ATP Cup to be contested in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney, Becker had just watched Federer's clinical defeat of Novak Djokovic to ensure his pursuit of a seventh ATP Finals crown remained alive.

Becker isn't writing off the 38-year-old, who will skip the ATP Cup and freshen up for the Australian Open, next year but he does think he, Djokovic and current No.1 Rafael Nadal are slowly losing ground to the next wave of talent.

"We've been talking about it for two years, but this week for the first time there's a couple of players beating the top three," he said in reference to Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev's ATP Finals efforts.

"As long as Roger is healthy and plays tennis you can't write him off but (his mental edge on younger opponents) is more challenged every year and they're getting closer and closer."

Federer is among those to oppose a shift to in-match coaching and Becker can see why.

"I think for sure it would help the younger guys beat them; the top three don't like that so much and maybe that's why," he said.

Alexander Zverev will lead Germany's charge in Brisbane against an Australian team set to feature world No.18 De Minaur and Nick Kyrgios and Greek and Canadian outfits loaded with Stefanos Tsitsipas and Denis Shapovalov respectively.

"That's probably the toughest group (of all six in the 24-nation tournament)," Becker said.

"Australia on home soil is the ultimate challenge, but Canada and Greece are tough and back-to-back is something to look forward to."