Boris Becker: How German went from tennis heartthrob to facing prison

Date:


Boris Becker arrives at Southwark Crown Court

The three-time Wimbledon winner will be sentenced today for hiding hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of assets upon being declared bankrupt. Becker, 54, was found guilty of four charges under the Insolvency Act in a trial last month. He was released on conditional bail ahead of sentencing today, and faces a prison sentence carrying a maximum of seven years on each count. Among the assets he is reported to have hidden include his 1985 and 1989 Wimbledon men’s singles titles, his Australian Open trophies from 1991 and 1996, and his Olympic gold medal from 1992.

Today’s sentencing marks a possible new low for the man who stole tennis fans’ hearts in the Eighties with his all-action playing style.

The British public has had a special bond with Becker ever since 1985, when he went from an unseeded 17-year-old to the youngest ever player to Wimbledon final.

He successfully defended his Wimbledon title the next year, beating world No1 Ivan Lendl in straight sets.

The German later admitted that “the plan from my parents for me was to finish school, go to university, get a proper degree and learn something respectful.

“The last thing on everyone’s mind was me becoming a tennis professional.”

READ MORE: Nadal fired Djokovic French Open warning as Serb tipped to be ‘beast’

Boris Becker

Boris Becker could face up to seven years in prison. (Image: GETTY)

Boris Becker

The tennis legend was found guilty of four charges under the Insolvency Act. (Image: Reuters)

Though he crashed out of Wimbledon in the second round in 1987, he reached his third final at the All England Club in four years the next year.

He lost in four sets to Stefan Edberg in a match that kickstarted one of Wimbledon’s most iconic rivalries.

The pair met again in both the 1989 and 1990 Wimbledon finals, with Becker winning in 1989 and Edberg the following year.

Becker again reached the final in 1991, but was defeated by world No7 Michael Stich.

Becker and Stich developed their own bitter rivalry in the sport, but teamed up to win the men’s doubles gold medal at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.

Boris Becker

Boris Becker celebrates winning Wimbledon in 1985. (Image: GETTY)

The British public had taken the German in their hearts by this point, as he earned the nickname ‘Britain’s favourite German’.

Becker himself once joked that he was “top of a short list” of Germans adored by Britons, demonstrated by the crowd’s reaction during his 1995 Wimbledon final defeat to Pete Sampras.

Despite his defeat, the Centre Court crowd cheered him into jogging a lap of the court so they could applaud the downbeat German.

His fast and well-placed serve earned him the nicknames ‘Boom Boom’, ‘Der Bomber’ and ‘Baron Von Slam’, and his infamous volley endeared him to fans across the globe.

Becker was no stranger to an emotional outburst, however, and occasionally smashed a racket when he wasn’t happy with how he was playing.

DON’T MISS:
Raducanu told how to adjust to clay with French Open approaching [QUOTES]
Raducanu debut, Djokovic seeks form, Nadal return – Madrid preview [INSIGHT]
Murray avoids racket scare after bag mix up ahead of Madrid Masters [NEW]

Boris Becker

Boris Becker celebrates with Novak Djokovic after he won the French Open in 2016. (Image: GETTY)

In 1987, he was fined £400 at the Australian Open after a series of outbursts, including “twice throwing the ball in an offensive manner at the umpire, hitting the umpire’s chair on one occasion, spitting water in the direction of the umpire, and hitting three balls out of the court”.

Upon hanging up his racket in 1999, Becker’s private life imploded: his love life meant he was a staple figure on the front pages, a steamy 1999 affair with Russian waitress Angela Ermakova in the broom cupboard of a Mayfair restaurant was riddled with controversy, and DNA tests confirmed he was the father of a daughter with Ms Ermakova.

He found it hard to find his feet upon retirement, saying at the time: “In sport, you’re called old when you are 31.

““It affects your confidence and self-belief. It took me a couple of years to redefine myself.

“I didn’t know what to write on my passport as a profession.

Boris Becker

Boris Becker and his then-wife Lilly at Munich Oktoberfest in 2017. (Image: GETTY)

“Ex-tennis player? It’s about finding a new role that satisfies you as much.”

The ongoing court case is by no means his first brush with the law — Becker was sentenced to a two-year suspended prison sentence in 2002 by a Munich court, and was handed a €300,000 (£252,233) for tax evasion of about €1.7m (£1.431m).

The court case, he claimed, cost him his career. He told the court at the time: “Because of this tax business, I have not been able to sleep easily since the first house search [in 1996].

“It is notable that I was unable to win a tournament thereafter.”

Becker married Dutch model Sharlely “Lilly” Kerssenberg in 2009, and added another son to his brood the following year.

Boris Becker

Boris Becker on Centre Court with Pete Sampras in 1995. (Image: GETTY)

The couple split after nine years in 2018, with Becker again embroiled in financial scandal.

In 2012, a judge seized a sprawling 62-acre property that Becker had bought in the Nineties after he fell behind on debts he owed to contractors for work on the luxury villa.

Becker eventually got the property back at the 11th hour, and worked to sell it.

He has pursued a number of different careers since retiring, including working for the BBC during their Wimbledon coverage, coaching Novak Djokovic for a three-year spell, and trying his hand at poker.

His life fell apart, however, in June 2017 when he was declared bankrupt.

The order arose when a private debt worth almost $14million (£11.17million) was not paid in full before the agreed deadline.

He was forced to auction off a number of things from his personal collection, including his 1989 US Open trophy.

He was later legally charged with failing to hand over various trophies in satisfaction of his debt during his bankruptcy, and a trial began at Southwark Crown Court on March 21.

On April 8, Becker was found guilty of four charges under the Insolvency Act, and will be sentenced, and will be sentenced at midday today.



LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:

Subscribe

Popular

More like this
Related

Dutch police shoot at tractor during night of farm protests

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles! ...

NY mosque explosion leads to hate crime investigation

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles! ...

Smell that? The smelly sign that may increase your risk of dying by 46% within 10 years

A study published in May surveyed 616,318 people...

Putin aide warns against US pressing for war crimes court

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles! ...