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Becker:Young Players Must Step Up

The Big 3—Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic—have combined to claim 10 consecutive Grand Slam titles because they're mentally stronger than the young players chasing them, says Boris Becker.

The Hall of Famer, who won the 1985 Wimbledon championship at the age of 17, believes younger players are not nearly as mentally strong as the iconic champions, who have combined to win 53 major championships.

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"As much as I respect Roger, Rafa and Novak, young players should show up," Becker told Eurosport. "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 (and) attitude that makes the difference between winning and losing."

The six-time Grand Slam champion said he questions the attitude and desire of players under 28 these days.

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 said. "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."

Wimbledon starts on July 1st. Reigning Wimbledon champion Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Andy Murray have combined to capture 16 consecutive Wimbledon titles.

The last non Big 4 player to win The Championships was 2002 title winner Lleyton Hewitt.

Becker's comments echo remarks Toni Nadal, Rafa Nadal's uncle and coach, made prior to Roland Garros. Toni Nadal said he respects the skills of today's younger players, but does not see the dedication or passion that Djokovic, Federer and his nephew have displayed.

Becker said the time is now for young players to step up in Slams. 

"Already the 20-year-old Novak was very, very good," said the German. "Rafa won here at 19. Yes, in order to stay at the very top you have to improve. But they were always good.

"Novak at 20, you could see it was a question of time. And then he did win his major at 20. Don't give me you're too young for that. You're either good or not good."

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