Andy Murray has insisted Boris Becker deserved no “special treatment” after his fellow Wimbledon champion was sent to jail last week. The former BBC commentator was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison on Friday for a bankruptcy scam.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic has said he is “heartbroken” that his former coach has been sent to prison – and said he will “pray for him” to get through his sentence. But speaking before his return to action at the Madrid Masters on Monday, Murray said: “I didn’t really feel particularly emotional about it. He broke the law and if you do that, I don’t think you should get special treatment because of who you are or what you’ve achieved.
“Again, I feel sorry that he’s in that situation, but I also feel sorry for the people that he’s affected with his decisions as well and what’s happened to them. I hope he’s okay and that he learns from his mistakes. But I didn’t have a particular emotion about it.” Djokovic was coached by the German for three seasons from 2014-16 as the Serb won six Grand Slams – including his first French Open – and 14 Masters titles.
And the 20-time Grand Slam champion said: “I am just heartbroken for him. He’s a friend, long-time friend, a coach for three, four years, someone I consider close in my life and has contributed a lot to my success in my career.
Novak Djokovic stands with Russian stars as he doubles down on Wimbledon ban view
“I was just heartbroken. I don’t know what to say more than that. I’m not going to get into details of the verdict, because I’m not in a position to do that, but as his friend, I’m super sad for him. It’s not much that you can say. I just hope he will go through this period that he has to be in jail and that when he comes out he’s, you know, being able to live his life as, I don’t know if we’ll use the word “normal,” because the life is definitely changing, I mean, for anybody going to prison, especially for that long of a time.
“So I don’t know how things will turn out for him. I just pray for him. I hope things will be well in terms of his health, his mental health, because that’s going to be the most challenging part.” World No.81 is playing here for the first time since 2017 after originally deciding to skip the entire claycourt season to get ready for grass before re-employing Ivan Lendl. Murray faces fellow Grand Slam winner Dominic Thiem in the first round on Monday.
“I was planning on playing on the hard courts,” explained Murray. “There were two challengers in Korea and there was also potentially going to be a challenger or two in the states on the hard. The Korean challengers got cancelled. The tournaments in the states never ended up going ahead. So my only option to really compete was one challenger at altitude in Mexico which my team weren’t that keen on me doing, didn’t think it’d be particularly beneficial.
Emma Raducanu keeps Madrid Masters hopes alive by defeating fellow teen Marta Kostyuk
Tennis star Ksenia Palkina hit with 16-YEAR ban after match-fixing scandal
Kremlin fire back at Wimbledon with ‘proposal to ban all bar six nations’ from tournament
“The only way to get high-quality practice and potentially matches was to play on the clay. We decided to do a training block for three or four weeks on the clay, see how my body responded and if it felt good, then try and play some tournaments and some matches on the clay.
“Obviously by doing that, it allows me to be around the top players. Here I got to practice with (Denis) Shapovalov, (Alex) De Minaur, hit a bit with Evo (Dan Evans). I get a match against Thiem tomorrow so I get high-quality practice, which is good. That was the main reason for doing it. The last couple of years my team were a bit nervous about me playing on clay because when I played after the US Open in 2020 when I played Nishioka and Felix Auger-Aliassime, I’d hurt my groin a bit and playing on the clay made it a bit worse. The same last year as well when I tried to play on the clay but the reality is I didn’t get injured playing on the clay, I got injured playing on the hard courts so I don’t think it was necessarily clay that was the issue, so hoping my body should be alright.”