Former great Boris Becker believes his native Germany is desperate for a return to the glory days of a few decades ago when he and Steffi Graff double-handedly sparked a national tennis boom.
The 51-year-old who stunned the world with a Wimbledon title at age 17 more than three decades ago, is keen for a blast from the past in terms of national tennis mania.
Though young gun Alexander Zverev stands third on the ATP – but yet to make a major Grand Slam breakthrough – the next German in the ranking queue is 35-year-old Philipp Kohlschreiber on 40th.
Women can boast reigning Wimbledon winner Angelique Kerber on WTA fifth, trailed by No. 17 Julia Goerges and Tatjana Maria on 60th.
Becker told Germany’s Tennis Magazin that more ATP and WTA events in Germany are the key to reviving interest – along with some winning performances from players.
London-based Becker would be especially keen to Germany regain a Masters 1000 date, which Hamburg lost in a 2008 ATP schedule shakeup and which has repercussions to this day.
“There are already a lot of tournaments in Germany: Hamburg, Stuttgart, Halle, Munich,” the federations director of men’s tennis said,
“But there’s not a Masters 1000 – which is difficult because there are just nine across the world.
“But bringing such an event in Germany needs to be a goal – hosting the ATP Finals in Germany would be great.”
Becker would be keen to see the current July Hamburg 250 clay tournament add on a WTA element, as is the case with Indian Wells, Miami, Beijing and Madrid.
“(Combined tournaments) are good for tennis, spectators, and endorsements.
:”You have two for one, but how long should it last: 10 days? a week for women and a week for men back to back?”
He added: “I’m worried about the date in Hamburg.
“Playing on clay in July is difficult (which is the start of North American hardcourt season).
“That does not get suited to the calendar.”
While he’s all about big ideas, Becker does not hold himself up as a hands-on tournament administrator.
“I’m trying to get a Masters 1000 tournament in Germany. It’s difficult, but not impossible because in the past we had them.”