From “Boom Boom” to Breakdown, Becker must serve time now

LONDON (Reuters) – Boris Becker’s stunning rendition earned him the nickname “boom boom” as a 17-year-old Wimbledon winner in 1985, but on Friday, when he was 54 and bankrupt, he was told he should take some time off. at Wimbledon. prison.

Three-time champion on grass in southwest London, the man who impressed tennis fans in the ’80s and ’90s has appeared in court to receive a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence. Read more

Baker was convicted earlier this month of four counts under British insolvency law, including failure to disclose, concealment and removal of critical assets following a bankruptcy trial.

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Judge Deborah Taylor said the six-times Grand Slam winner had shown no remorse or admission of guilt and would serve half of his sentence behind bars and the remainder on licence.

A Munich court in 2002 sentenced Becker, who received $25 million in prize money and more sponsorships during his career that ended in 1999, to a suspended prison term and a heavy fine for tax evasion.

This time there was no escape.

The sentence was the latest bombshell in a sports star’s life. His love life and financial troubles have grabbed as many headlines in recent years as his athletic prowess has ever been.

Much of his fortune has disappeared as a result of his tax troubles, while still maintaining a lavish lifestyle, some questionable investments and a multimillion-dollar divorce settlement with his first wife Barbara in 2001.

In 1999, he had a child with a Russian model, Angela Ermakova, after a brief sexual encounter at the Nobu restaurant in London while his wife was pregnant with their second child.

The polish of his life after playing as a tennis commentator on BBC television, and a stint as coach of world number one, Novak Djokovic, contrasted with the constant chaos in his personal affairs.

In 2018, he claimed diplomatic immunity from bankruptcy proceedings by saying that he was appointed sports envoy to the European Union for the Central African Republic and obtained a passport in an official ceremony.

Baker has never visited the country, whose foreign minister later said the passport was a “clumsy forger” and opened an investigation.

On court, Becker was simply sexy. In 1985 he became the first German and first unranked player to win a Wimbledon singles title, defeating South African American Kevin Koren in four sets, when he was a rough teenager.

In 1986, with great enthusiasm and using heavy forehands and superb diving air balls to good effect, Becker successfully defended his title against grumpy rival Evan Lendl.

The pair played each other 21 times in the ’80s and early ’90s, always with an undercurrent of friction.

While Lendl eventually outperformed his professional rival 11-10, it was Becker who won three of the Grand Slam finals he’s played, with Germany once accusing Lendl of not being “mentally strong”.

Becker also reached the Wimbledon final in 1988, losing to Swede Stefan Edberg. He avenged that loss in a rematch the following year and then lost to the Swede again in the 1990 final.

In 1991 he reached the Wimbledon final for the fourth time in a row, but lost to fellow countryman Michael Stich.

Becker also won the US Open in 1989 and the Australian Open in 1991 when he became world number one, and in 1996.

He retired with 49 singles titles and 15 doubles titles, but clay was always a weak point despite winning men’s gold at the 1992 Olympics on the rooftop in Barcelona.

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(Covering) Alan Baldwin, Editing by Pritha Sarkar

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