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Tennis: former champion Boris Becker sentenced to two and a half years in prison

From summit to hell via prison: Boris Becker, who remains one of the greatest champions in the history of tennis, will go behind bars. British justice condemned this April 29, the youngest winner of the Wimbledon tournament (17 years old in 1985), winner of six Grand Slam tournaments (3 times Wimbledon, once the Australian Open, twice the US Open), double winner of the Davis Cup and an Olympic gold medal at two and a half in prison. He will serve half his sentence, approximately 15 months, in a cell.

Despite his prestige and his track record, British justice had a lot to blame him for. Boris Becker, 54, is to be jailed after being convicted of, among other things, hiding £2.5m (€3m at the current rate) in assets and loans to avoid paying his debts.

He was also accused of failing to comply with his obligations to disclose bank information and risked seven years for these facts for each of the four counts against him. On April 8, 2022, the court found him guilty of taking property, counting non-disclosure of property and concealment of debt. Southwark Crown Court in London also found him guilty of transferring hundreds of thousands of pounds from illicit accounts to accounts. She reproached him for not having declared property in Germany; of having concealed a loan of 825,000 euros and of having concealed shares in a company. Even if the former player contested the entire prosecution, the reproaches were too heavy for Boris Becker to come out free this Friday, April 29 from the court.

Already declared personal bankruptcy in 2017

Five years ago in 2017, Becker was declared bankrupt in London where he has lived since 2012. His abysmal debts were at that time estimated at nearly 60 million euros. Yet during his career which spanned between 1985 and 1999, the German won 25 million euros in tournament winnings. In the early 2000s, when he retired, with advertising revenue, his personal fortune was estimated at more than 100 million euros.

But he lost everything in dubious investments, silly spending and never looking at the expense as the cash flow became scarcer. He made incomprehensible expenses like the purchase for several million euros of houses that he never lived or almost. He spent fortunes on divorce fees, recognition of paternity, unnecessary hotel stays. He squandered a considerable fortune for nothing, out of recklessness. Probably because fame and money seized him too early, when he was barely out of adolescence.

Rarely in the history of sport has such a champion risen so high to fall so low: “With the three lads (Federer, Nadal, Djokovic), it’s complicated to place him in the hierarchy of the best of all time. Certainly, however, Boris was the best player in the world in his time,” confided in the week the former captain of the French Davis Cup team Jean-Paul Loth who keeps his friendship. Advisor to world number 1 Novak Djokovic between 2014 and 2016, Boris Becker had won everything for almost 15 years at the crossroads of the 1980s and 1990s. Only one tournament escaped him: Roland-Garros, who was never at the comfortable on clay. At Wimbledon, on the other hand, he was at home. He was always welcomed there like a king. He will not be present on site for the next edition. He will watch the Wimbledon tournament, “his” tournament, he who still gave his opinions and advice his last days on the biggest channels in front of a small TV, in a tiny prison cell. Boris Becker was nicknamed Boom Boom at the time of his splendor because of his power. Boom Boom is now just a registration number.

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