Becker slates younger generation’s inability to challenge ‘big three’

first_img(REUTERS) – Boris Becker says younger players on the men’s tour do not have the right mindset to challenge the “big three” of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the Grand Slams.The trio have won every Grand Slam since 2017, with 33-year-old Nadal claiming the latest title at Roland Garros on Sunday, dispatching 25-year-old Austrian Dominic Thiem in the final for a second straight year.Becker, who won Wimbledon aged 17 and went on to win six Slams, said it was the mental aspect of the game more than anything that set Nadal, Federer (37) and Djokovic (32) apart.“I was just reading a stat that no active player outside the big three under 28, apart from Thiem, has been in a Grand Slam final,” Becker, a pundit with Eurosport, said looking ahead to Wimbledon which begins on July 1.“That’s not good, that’s not a compliment for anybody under 28. And don’t give me that ‘the others are too good’. We should question the quality and the attitude of everybody under 28; it just doesn’t make sense.”Other players to reach men’s Grand Slam finals in the past three years were Juan Martin del Potro, Kevin Anderson, Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka – all aged 30 and above.“As much as I respect Roger, Rafael and Novak, young players should show up,” Becker added. “Eventually, they will be too old, but you want to see the passing of the torch while they are still in their prime.“There’s a certain mentality that they (younger players) don’t have, that the three others do have. It’s not the forehands, it’s not the fitness. It’s mindset – attitude – that makes the difference between winning and losing.”last_img read more

Softball: Badgers sweep double-header with two mercies

first_imgWisconsin softball hosted the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix for a double-header during a chilly afternoon Tuesday, but the weather did not seem to affect the Badgers.Wisconsin’s (26-19-1) bats came alive as the team dominated both games 8-0, thanks to a strong performance at the mound from pitcher Taylor-Paige Stewart and situational hitting.The Badgers were held in check for the majority of the first game, only leading 2-0 going into the bottom half of the fifth inning. But the team would go on to score six in the final two innings, invoking the mercy rule for an early end to the game.Wisconsin expanded on their two-run lead thanks to an RBI single by Ashley Van Zeeland in the fifth and a sacrifice fly by Melanie Cross increased their lead to 4-0.Sara Novak sunk the dagger in the sixth when an RBI single and an error allowed another score, putting the Badgers up by six. Wisconsin would add two more in the frame to get the final score of 8-0.Stewart, who received the win in both contests and improved to 15-10 on the year, was on cruise control for both games. The senior allowed only one hit in each game while striking out nine in the first of the twin bill, tying her season high. Stewart added another five punch-outs in game two and again allowed only one unearned run in her three innings pitched.With an ample amount of run support in both games, Stewart said games like these ease the pressure when pitching.“The atmosphere of our dugout changes and the stress on the mound definitely decreases when you know your offense is lighting it up,” Stewart said.The Badgers picked up right where they left off in game two by getting to Phoenix pitcher Katie Rossman early in the bottom of the first. Both Kelsey Jenkins and Van Zeeland reached base, and were followed by Chloe Miller’s three-run blast to right — all before Green Bay recorded an out.“[Hitting a home run] always feels good,” Miller said. “It happens in practice, but until you get it in the game, there’s nothing like seeing your team when you cross home plate.”Wisconsin continued to pile on hits and runs in the following two innings.In the second, Jenkins ripped an RBI-double down the left field line and followed with a third inning that saw Katie Christner hit a line-drive home run down the left field line, which got out in a hurry to give the Badgers a 5-0 lead. Wisconsin chased Rossman in the same inning while tacking on three more runs and would hold their eight-run lead to the end of the fifth to again force the mercy rule.Coming into the day’s double-header, Wisconsin owned a 4-6-1 record at home, but head coach Yvette Healy said wins like these are what her team needed as they try to qualify for the Big Ten Tournament in two weeks.“Just to play well on our field is a big deal,” Healy said. “This weekend is another huge weekend and I think these mid-week games give us a little momentum going into it.”The Badgers will welcome the Northwestern Wildcats this weekend for a three-game set and the team’s final home series of the season. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m Friday.last_img read more