Tennis - Becker: Federer can still win a big one

Boris Becker believes that Roger Federer still has "the fire and motivation" to return to the top of the sport.

Tennis - Becker: Federer can still win a big one

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Roger Federer

The German star - a six-times Grand Slam champion - is convinced that Federer can still win major trophies, despite firing his coach Paul Annacone after enduring his worst season in a decade.

"He could have walked off into the sunset with Paul but this move tells me that Roger still has the fire and the motivation," said Becker, explaining that the Swiss maestro is still capable of tournament-winning weeks even if he is unlikely to enjoy consistent top-level performance.

"He will know better than anyone that he was a better tennis player at 25 than now," Becker said. "I don’t see him as a contender for No 1 but he is still very good on faster surfaces."

The German added that Federer will have a great chance of winning the ATP World Tour Finals in London, so long as he qualifies.

Federer currently stands in the seventh effective qualifying spot (thanks to the absence of Andy Murray), and will hope that results over the next few weeks - at the Swiss Indoors and the Paris Masters - go his way.

[Blog; Why Roger Federer should stay coachless and just enjoy his tennis]

His next tournament is the Swiss Indoors in Basel next week, which Federer has won five times in his career - and which presents similar playing conditions to those that players will face in London.

A victory - or a run to the final - on home turf would all-but-guarantee a place in the season finale, and if that happens then Becker believes anything is possible: "I would not rule out him winning at the O2," he said.

Annacone himself feels similarly, telling USA Today this week that, "Greatness doesn't stop It doesn't just go away. He's not all of a sudden now not that good anymore. The problem is that the expectations and the bar are so high.

"Whenever you start to doubt people like this you kind of set yourself up to get your own foot stuck in your mouth.

"They're atypical. They're phenoms. As much as Roger still loves to play, the exuberance he still shows in every practice, his desire to continue to enjoy the game — I can't imagine anything other than success coming his way.

"For me, it's not a matter of if. It's a matter of when."

Becker admitted that he has not enjoyed watching Federer's struggles this season, but also thinks the 32-year-old should keep going as long as he wants.

"I am one of Roger’s biggest fans and I don’t like seeing him lose in the second or third round of the Slams," he said.

"But as long as he wants to play it is up to him, he deserves that respect. He still has fun playing and travelling and let’s not forget, he is still a great asset to tennis."

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