Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Don't make a village, stay in the village

Boris Becker has advised world tennis No.1 Roger Federer to live in the athletes' village at the Olympics in Beijing rather than seek more private quarters away from the Games.

Federer said this week he was unsure whether to stay with his fellow athletes after experiencing difficulties in Athens in 2004.

But Becker, a gold medallist in Barcelona in 1992, said he should only consider staying apart as a last resort.

"That was our trick in Barcelona, staying at the Olympic village," Becker, who won gold in the doubles with Michael Stich, said in an interview with Reuters.

"To get into the right frame of mind, to understand what the Olympics is all about, you should try to be as often as you can in the village, to mingle with the other athletes. I think that gives you a much bigger motivation.

"I'd absolutely recommend that Federer stays there."

"But let's say he should have a bed in the Swiss quarter and maybe if it's really terrible his girlfriend should have a bed ready in a five-star hotel next door. That would be the ideal choice."

Though Becker was no.1 in the world and has won 6 Grand Slams, he looks at his gold medal as one of his greatest achievements.

"The older I get the more important it becomes," Becker said. "I was in the team four times and I got hurt three times. The one time in Barcelona in 1992 it was in August, I lost singles early. My only chance was with Michael Stich."

"We were not best friends but we realised that if we could stick together we could go all the way. Now looking back it stands out as one of my great victories."


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