Boris Becker criticizes previous relationship with Rudi Molleker: “Maybe it was a mistake”

Rudi Molleker was publicly touted early on as the next big hope in German tennis. At 14, he became European junior champion, at 16, he participated for the first time in the main draw of an ATP circuit tournament in Hamburg. He received funding from the DTB for this.

From then on, he travels the world of tennis in the hope of making a big breakthrough.

But that hasn’t happened (yet). His career-high ranking to date was world number 146 in the 2019 season. In recent years, it has dropped significantly. The 21-year-old now only ranks 445th.

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Eurosport expertBoris Becker now takes a hard look at how the youngster was treated back then. “You can’t really tear a 14-year-old boy or girl out of the home environment. We tried that with our beloved Rudi Molleker. Maybe it was a mistake at the time,” Becker said. in the current episode of Eurosport Tennis Podcasts“The yellow of the ball”.

“Maybe he was still too young for all the trips, even away from home,” explained the six-time Grand Slam champion. From August 2017 to the end of 2020, Becker was “Head of Men’s Tennis” at the German Tennis Association and in this function also accompanied Molleker’s journey.

Molleker defeats Alcaraz and Mayer

Meanwhile, things initially went downhill for the young talent. In 2019, Molleker made the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament at both the Australian Open and the French Open, but lost in the first round of each. He also beat then-wildcard starter Carlos Alcaraz, now world number 11, at the Murcia Open.

However, he also had a rare accident: Molleker failed to register for the grass-court classic at Wimbledon, which is why he was not allowed to play there. Shortly afterwards, however, he wrote positive headlines again: At the Hamburg tournament, the teenager pulled off the next blow by defeating last year’s runner-up Leonardo Mayer in straight sets in the first round.

“Absolutely amazing!” Becker marvels at the Alcaraz phenomenon

But since then there have been no other significant successes, instead the Ukrainian-born tennis professional has slipped to the sporting side.

Becker also blames the changing environment at a young age and therefore encourages a different approach to young tennis talent in the future. “You have to give the boys time and also their oasis of well-being, which of course is home,” Becker said.

Becker criticizes: “Change should not be made by violence”

You should leave young athletes there until they see for themselves: “Maybe I need to travel more, have better training opportunities, have more competition in training to improve myself,” Becker said. However, this change must “not be done by force”.

Molleker himself confirmed the importance of this wellness oasis for an athlete. In an interview with ‘Tennisnet.com’ he said of his current surroundings: “I’m back in Berlin and I have my very first team with Dad and Benjamin. Thiele around me. “I feel more comfortable here. Berlin is my hometown. Friends and family are there. Life on the circuit, with all the travel, can be very difficult, especially for us tennis players.”

Molleker sees himself back on track

The conversation also talked about his difficult period since the end of 2019. “After a good year 2019, I was struggling with injuries. There were also mental problems and I lost my senses a bit. I don’t I didn’t really know what to do and what I want to do. To be honest, I also lost the pleasure of tennis,” explained Molleker.

Now things are going “in the right direction” again. This time, however, completely out of the spotlight.

While Alexander Zverev is currently third in the world rankings in the semi-finals of the Monte-Carlo Masters, Molleker played a Challenger tournament in Madrid this week. He was, however, expected to get there in the second qualifying round after a loss to world number 294. The Swiss Johan Nikles bows out.
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