Daily Bagel: Novak Djokovic searching for that 'mental edge' with Boris Becker
The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
• Video: Eugenie Bouchard aced Bernard Tomic at Hopman Cup.
• Novak Djokovic tells Sport360 that he hired Boris Becker to help him find that "mental edge."
“We’re not going to make any major changes because I feel like I’m already a complete player.
“I’m not going to start serving and volleying because I’ve never done that. I’m going to put a mix here and there but my game is going to be the same with certain adjustments with the positioning on the court and that’s more or less what we’re going to do."
While he joked that the main reason he chose to add Becker to his team was to improve his German language skills, Djokovic went on to explain: “He’s a six-time Grand Slam champion, he won so many trophies in his life, he was a former No. 1, and speaking to Marian [Vajda] in the last few months of the year, we both came to the conclusion that I’m going to need another legendary player that can eventually help me understand better what I need to do in particular situations, especially in the Grand Slam final stages. To give me that mental edge."
• However, Rafael Nadal says he's not the type of player who needs a legendary player whispering in his ear.
Nadal, who has been coached by his uncle Toni all his life, says he doesn’t need a tennis legend to guide him on tour. “My feeling is that is depends on the player,” said Nadal. “I think coaching tennis is not a big deal. We are not doing something very very difficult -- tennis is a simple game at the end of the day.
“It’s more about the player believing in the work that his coach is doing. Some players need somebody who was a great champion in the past to believe in them. Someone for example like me, I don’t need to have a great champion in front of me coaching to believe that what that person is telling me is the right thing.
“So in my opinion it’s more about the player than the coach. In my case, I never needed a former champion to be my coach. What I’m saying is that there are different ways to have the right coach.”
• Maria Sharapova cruised though her first tour-level match since August, beating Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-0 at the Brisbane International.
• Caroline Wozniacki was forced to withdraw from Brisbane due to a shoulder injury, but she's still planning to play the Sydney International next week.
• Sloane Stephens and John Isner led the U.S. to a 3-0 victory over Spain at Hopman Cup.
• The Australian Open will use "livelier" balls this year, which Todd Woodbridge believes will favor Nadal.
• Speaking of Nadal, he says he's found a new form of treatment for his knees, which has allowed him to enjoy more activities outside of tennis, as opposed to spending his entire offseason resting.
• Serena Williams is well aware of her recent habit of getting injured in Australia, and she's doing her best to stay clear of any hazards this time.
• Victoria Azarenka wants to put the boo birds behind her in Melbourne. She also made some changes to her team, hiring a fitness trainer and two new physiotherapists -- an understandable reaction to her injury-riddled season.
• Sam Querrey tells USA Today that he wasn't in the right frame of mind late last season because he split from his fiancee.
• It was bound to happen: Bobby Bryan Jr. is on Twitter. His big sister Micaela has already thrown down the gauntlet.
• Knighthood will have to wait for Andy Murray: Despite getting recommended for the honor, he's being passed over this year because he was already recognized with his OBE...
• ...but he did get a plant named after him, which is pretty much the same thing.
• Ryan Harrison tells Tennis.com that the pressure got to him in 2013. Harrison successfully qualified for the main draw at the Brisbane International and plays Sam Groth in the first round.
“For the most part in my first years on tour when I was 18, 19, and 20, I did well, I was consistently going up from 200 to 150 until I cracked the Top 50 and obviously things turned around. I had a poor year last year. It’s up to me to go out there and through hard work and maturity prove that last year is not the standard that I will be known for.”• Non-tennis: Tweeting sharks? Only in Australia.