Andy Murray will struggle to maintain his spot at the top of the world rankings once Novak Djokovic rediscovers his winning mentality, according to Boris Becker.
The Serbian was dethroned following a stunning run of form from Murray, who underlined the changing of the guard by beating his rival in the final of the ATP World Tour Finals last month.
But Becker, who has coached Djokovic for the past three years, would not be surprised to see the roles reversed again in 2017.
"I still think he [Murray] is going to be riding the wave coming to Australia, and in the American events in March, because that was the only time he played badly this year," he told the Daily Mail.
"I think he is going to start to feel it in May.
"It's one thing playing up with nothing to lose, but it's a whole new ball game when you've got something to lose, the consequences of being world number one.
"There are responsibilities and expectations so it becomes more strenuous. But I think he will be fine until the clay-court swing."
Becker helped Djokovic complete a career Grand Slam with victory over Murray at the French Open in June, a triumph which the German feels had an unintended downside for his man.
"The first half of the year was unbelievably successful, we finished it off with the lifelong dream winning the French Open," added Becker. "It was in Madrid and Rome [in May] that you could already sense there was a new player [Murray] in town.
"You could understand any sportsman, after consistently winning everything, he gets tired of it for whatever reason.
"That was the case with Novak after the French Open. He has the right to take time out, pursue other interests, spend more time with his family. People forget the only way you can achieve such success is by being single-minded and selfish and after a few years that becomes a lonely place.
"I'm not saying he is going to win everything again, but he is going to be a lot more focused on tennis next year than he was in the second half of this year, I'm convinced."
It has been suggested that Becker may stand down from his coaching role, but the 49-year-old refused to confirm his future.
"We are in the process, but I can't tell you anything more than that. I couldn't tell you yes and I couldn't tell you no," he said.
"I truly enjoyed the last three years, I had a blast.
"I was in my element and I will continue to be in my element in the future. No regrets, it was an unbelievable ride."