[tsf interview] how i spent my christmas vacay, by benni becker

German player Benjamin Becker starts his 2008 campaign Down Under with a loss to eventual champion Michael Llodra in the quarters of last week’s Next Generation Adelaide International.

Becker also starts off the year wearing a new line of clothes from sponsor Boris Becker — the company, not the legend. (Btw, he and Boris are not related.) For 2008, gone are the argyle patterns, but the orange and white colorway stays the same. Later today I’ll post photos of the the clothes, along with what “Benni” thinks about them and fashion in general.

We spoke to Benni via e-mail about the offseason, his goals for the coming year, and about his tennis shop in Merzig, Germany (it opened in the Spring of 2007).

How did you spend your off-season? I spent my off season mostly in Florida and was in Dallas over Christmas with my girlfriend. Unfortunately I didn’t get to spend Christmas at home in Germany but it was easier [for] my preseason schedule and my flight to Australia. But I stilled enjoyed the holidays in Dallas.

What are your goals for 2008? One of the goals are certainly to participate in the Olympics. Other than that i will try to get back to the Top 50 again and maybe even higher.

How is your relationship with Boris Becker? Does he give you advice? [Boris and I] haven’t really talked much about my game, but we’ll do that more in the fututre when we have some time. Usually we [have met] at places where it was tough to get a good conversation in because we were at a press conference or at an exibition.

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You have a store in your hometown of Merzig. How involved are you with its operation? I’m involved but not as much that it would distract me from focusing on tennis. Whenever i have a chance I go visit and try to help a smuch as I can during that time. [They have one store and don’t plan to open any more.]

Doping is all over the news these days. Has this changed the climate in the locker rooms? I don’t think that the climate has changed but obviously we are all trying to be careful what supplements we take and what medicine if we are sick. That was part of it before and hasn’t changed.

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