“My career has taken a toll on my body, but it’s a price I’d be willing to pay again,” says Boris Becker at the Discovery Vitality Summit.
When Boris Becker took to the stage as the headline speaker at the Discovery Vitality Summit he shed some light on what it’s like to be a tennis superstar at 17. Celebrating 30 years this year since that first momentous grand slam win at Wimbledon in 1985, he also reflected on the journey from player to coach of current world number one and 2015 Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic.
Answering questions from the audience, he spoke at length about the challenges of global fame at a young age, including the pressure of a Winner’s Ball dance with Martina Navratilova.
Flowing through his narrative of lessons learnt and lessons taught over the length of his career were several special nuggets, relevant both on and off field. In offering his advice for any aspiring pro-athlete, he emphasized that one has to be prepared to lose in order to win. “If you want to play at the top of the game, you have to make sacrifices, whether it’s a food choice or a behavior choice,” he said.
“Tennis is a game of instinct and high risk, it’s the ultimate challenge of man against man. There’s no clock, there’s no team. You have to play until you beat the other guy,” he said. “You’re alone on the court, and you’ve got to play until you win or lose – there are no time limits to look forward to.”
Highlighting the emotions of the game, Becker pointed out that Djokovic is at his most effective on the tennis court when he’s in street fighter mode – but that one of his secrets to success is to channel that aggression into positive energy on court.
Equally important competing at the highest level is not to dwell on the past.
“I wear my heart on my sleeve, I say what I think and feel, and sometimes these are taken out of context,” he said. “I have only one life to live, I don’t have regrets, I do what feels right at the time. It’s my life and I’m proud to live it.”
Former world number one professional tennis player and previously the youngest player in history to win The Championship at Wimbledon, Boris Becker is now a successful businessman, sports commentator, and coach and mentor to nine-time Grand Slam title winner, Novak Djokovic.
About Discovery Limited
Discovery Limited is a South African-founded financial services organisation that operates in the healthcare, life assurance, short-term insurance, savings and investment products and wellness markets. Founded in 1992, Discovery was guided by a clear core purpose – to make people healthier and to enhance and protect their lives. Underpinning this core purpose is the belief that through innovation, Discovery can be a powerful market disruptor.
The company, with headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, has expanded its operations globally and currently serves over 4.4 million clients across South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, China, Singapore and Australia. Discovery recently announced an intent to partner with Generali, a leading insurer in Europe, and has partnered John Hancock in the US. These new partnerships will bring Discovery’s shared-value business model to protection industries in Europe and the US.
Vitality, Discovery’s wellness programme, is the world’s largest scientific, incentive-based wellness solution for individuals and corporates. The global Vitality membership base now exceeds three million lives in five markets.
Discovery is an authorised financial services provider and trades under the code “DSY” on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange.
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