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Becker: Djokovic not the same without Federer, Nadal

Boris Becker believes Novak Djokovic will be re-energized for 2017 after losing the No. 1 ranking. Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were sorely missed throughout the game during their 2016 injury absences.

But perhaps none more so than by Novak Djokovic, his coach has suggested.

"Novak is a competitor at heart -- if I have one guy who has to play for my life, I would pick Djokovic. That's how much I trust him," Boris Becker said in an interview with CNN. "But he didn't have any opponents anymore. His time was with Nadal, with Federer."

The Serb swept all before him in the first six months of 2016; after winning the Australian Open and titles at Qatar, Indian Wells, Miami and Madrid, Djokovic completed a career Grand Slam by beating Andy Murray in the French Open final in June.

However, Murray managed to overturn a gap of more than 8,000 points to leapfrog Djokovic as No. 1 in the rankings by the end of the Paris Masters earlier this month.

"Andy was always the fourth guy, so [Djokovic] lost a little bit of his opponents," added six-time major winner Becker. "Murray is showing something he hasn't shown before."

The Scot claimed the year-end No. 1 ranking by crushing Djokovic for his first World Tour title Sunday in London. Djokovic and his camp were frustrated and disappointed, according to Becker, after the Serb committed 30 unforced errors in a straight-sets defeat.

"This could be possibly a turnaround for Novak Djokovic's 2017," said Becker. "As much as this loss is going to hurt him, it's probably going to inspire him to be remotivated, re-energized for next year. Maybe it was a good thing in the end."

Becker believes Djokovic was guilty of playing "a bit casually" in Shanghai and Paris but paid tribute to Murray, who won both tournaments during a personal-best win streak encompassing five titles and 24 matches.

"His pinnacle was winning the French Open and winning four majors in a row," Becker said. "Naturally, his motivation was a bit off afterwards. He really didn't know what the next big goal would be. And then a guy called Andy Murray didn't lose another match the whole indoor season.

"People only talk about Andy Murray's last six months but you've got to give him credit -- he was in the final of the Australian Open, the final of the French Open, he won Olympic gold. He really turned on the form when he had the sniff of the No. 1 ranking, and he was the better player."