Berlin - Former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker, who took over as coach of world number two Novak Djokovic last month, needs to change his lifestyle and step out of the media spotlight, his former Davis Cup coach Niki Pilic said on Monday.
Becker, a six-times grand slam champion, has seen his public image suffer since his retirement in 1999 with personal stories replacing sporting success on the front pages and an autobiography causing another stir last year with revelations about his numerous affairs.
Becker joined Djokovic as his new head coach in December in a surprise move aimed at giving the Serbian a mental edge and on Monday saw him ease into the Australian Open second round with a straight sets victory over Lukas Lacko.
"This coaching job is his last chance to become a serious and established tennis coach," Pilic, who coached Becker to back-to-back Davis Cup victories with Germany in 1988 and 1989 and has also worked with a young Djokovic, told Focus magazine.
"If the project is successful then he can wipe away all the scratches to his image," said the 74-year-old Pilic.
Pilic said the German's vast experience was an advantage but his long absence from the game meant he would have to become more disciplined and avoid the media more than he does now.
"There is no doubt that Boris must change his lifestyle completely," he said of Becker, more likely to be seen on the red carpet than on the court these days.
"He needs strict discipline and a certain modesty. It won't be easy for him but he has no choice."
"He should not give too many interviews, must be restrained and do his work quietly. Above all he must understand that he is not more important than the player. It will be an interesting experiment."