By Randy Walker
In Monte Carlo, Marian Vajda accused Boris Becker of not using good tactics.
Before one jumps to conclusion that the co-coaches of Novak Djokovic are in a jealous fight over how to mentor and guide the world No. 2 from Serbia, the accusation came after a second-round match in Monte Carlo on April 19, 1988. It was on this date when Vajda registered one of the best victories of his playing career with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 victory over the then two-time Wimbledon champion.
From the April 19 chapter of my book “On This Day In Tennis History” – now updated and available as a mobile app at www.TennisHistoryApp.com and now also on Kindle here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JQDZ43U/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_MKhutb17548Z5 – Vajda’s upset of Becker in the second round of the Monte Carlo Open from 1988 is documented, as excerpted here:
1988 – Marian Vajda of Czechoslovakia, a journeyman professional who gains notoriety as the coach of future world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, registers a major upset of two-time Wimbledon champion and No. 4-ranked Boris Becker of West Germany 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 in the second round of the Monte Carlo Open. Says Vajda, ranked No. 42 in the world, “Boris didn’t (use) good tactics today. I was more patient in the rallies, so I felt better. I felt I could have played the ball 100 times over the net and not miss.” Says Becker, “Marian made my life difficult out there. He played very, very long balls, and I couldn’t get in. It’s much more difficult for me to get ready on clay. You have to be well prepared. You have to have a few matches under your belt. The longer the rallies were, the worse I played. I had bad groundstrokes out there.”
Vajda achieved a career-high ranking of No. 34 and won two singles titles in his career. He has been the coach of Djokovic since 2006, but in December of 2013, it was announced that Becker would be joining Djokovic’s coaching team. With Becker in his box, Djokovic was upset in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, falling to Stan Wawrinka in five sets. With Vajda in Djokovic’s corner, the Serb won back-to-back titles in Indian Wells and Key Biscayne, Becker not able to travel due to undergoing hip surgery. Becker has rejoined Djokovic this week in Monte Carlo.