Boris Becker is going to jail, it’s definitely from today. Companions talk on t-online about a man who has lost almost everything. About someone whom Germany never gave time and peace to.
Alexander Zverev was there. Michael Stich was there. Tommy Haas is still there. In addition to the matches at this year’s first German ATP tournament, tennis fans can see some current and past greats in their sport at the “am Aumeister” facility at the BMW Open in Munich these days in this stylish and cozy, narrow club facility in the Bavarian state capital .
But while the organizer, the German Tennis Federation and the fans celebrate German tennis and themselves, the far most famous personality of this sport is missing, unlike for many years in Munich – Boris Becker. Instead, the 54-year-old was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for delaying bankruptcy, of which he must serve at least half, early Friday night in the main room one of Southwark Crown Court in London.
Photo series with 13 photos
A long underestimated scenario
Following Judge Deborah Taylor’s sentencing, Becker appears and must, according to court observers, support himself on the dock. At 4:46 p.m., he ties his shoes, grabs his bag, and leaves the courtroom upright and stoic in the direction of the security wing. From there, he is taken to a jail the same evening. Becker is no longer allowed to say goodbye to his son Noah and his partner Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro. The tennis star and his lawyer had long referred to naivety, ignorance, pressure and misfortune as a consultant and had underestimated this worst of all scenarios for a long time and probably did not think it was possible.
Boris Becker (left) with her boyfriend Lilian. Both had entered the courthouse shortly before 1 p.m. Friday. (Source: John Sibley / Reuters)
“Boris was and is very important for German tennis. It is sad to hear. I wish him the best,” Germany’s number one, Alexander Zverev, said on t-online late Friday night about the penalty imposed on Becker.
Since March, the most successful German tennis player of all time had had to answer for three weeks in his adopted home in London in the process of allegedly delaying insolvency. After the jury found him guilty of four of the 24 charges, it took three weeks to the day before the British judge handed down a prison sentence.
The jury had previously found that Becker concealed ownership of a property in his hometown of Leimen, illegally transferred large sums of money to other accounts and withheld shares in an artificial intelligence company and a loan debt.
Hidden sum in millions
At the start of the trial, the indictment was based on the equivalent of a little more than five million euros, which Becker should have hidden, not reported or hidden. The four charges that the jury found Becker guilty of run into a veiled million. The elapsed time leading up to the proceedings has cost creditors an additional € 2.7 million in administrative costs, court fees and legal costs.
Overall, Becker’s debt to creditors is still said to amount to around 60 million euros. “I considered the objections made to you, but you made personal use of the company account, you embezzled property, you saved it, so much money was lost,” said the judge, who also told Becker he was out learning. nothing from his 2002 verdict. At the time, the Munich Regional Court sentenced the tennis star to two years probation for tax evasion worth 1.7 million euros.
Agreements were made, which he enjoyed
Sportingly, Becker was beyond doubt until his announced career ending after the 1999 Wimbledon quarter-final against Pat Rafter. Until then, he had won a unique 49 individual titles, including the six Grand Slam titles highly regarded in Germany and two Davis Cup triumphs, which in the late 1980s were as important as the national football team’s successes. The community adopted “their Boris” almost from one day to the next in 1985, when at the age of only 17 he won first the preparatory event at Queen’s and then the historic Wimbledon tournament in 1985 as an outsider.
Boris Becker: Here in a picture towards the end of his career, in June 1999. (Source: Kieran Doherty / imago images)
Soon, no one in Germany gave him time and peace to allow people to catch up on the extent of their successes and deal with them. Instead, big deals were made with Becker, which he certainly enjoyed. Most recently, when he rose to number one in the world rankings in 1991, there were no longer any limits to the festivities and revenue.
Becker earned about $ 25 million in prize money; until the end of his career, he earned the same amount again with sponsorship money. Puma, Mercedes, AOL and many other companies longed for the advertising face of Boris Becker during their active careers and in the transition period after their sports careers.
Former Bresnik coach: “We’ve been talking about his problems for years”
However, there has never been a natural and healthy growth in the role of an economically strong tennis star. Two decades of poor management of consultants and his own mistakes have made him unable to act. The insolvency proceedings have been going on for almost five years and were also discussed on the professional tour. “Of course, the tennis circus has been talking about his problems behind closed doors for years,” Becker’s former coach Günter Bresnik reveals t-online.
The 61-year-old Austrian formed Dominic Thiem and will be in charge of Gael Monfils in 2022. Bresnik traveled with Becker from the US Open in 1992 to the French Open in 1993 and feels with his former protégé. He says: “An economic offense must always be punished in some way and I do not want to set any particular standards for Boris. But what he has done for Germany is hard to compare with tax and monetary debt.”
Not a bad word about Boris
A prison sentence for economic crime is always inexplicable to him compared to how other crimes are sometimes sanctioned. “I do not know Uli Hoeneß personally, but I could not understand the type of punishment. Good handling of money and tax payments is necessary and gives a lot back to society. But people like Hoeneß and Boris have also done a lot of good for them Company. ” Bresnik explains that at the time, he broke up with Becker on good terms and that he has not said a bad word about Boris since then. “I do not want that now either.”
In the tennis family, Becker was and is a valued conversation partner. On the other hand, he made too many mistakes in his private life. The divorce from Barbara Becker after a serious and publicly exploited infidelity cost him, according to the newspaper Bild, about 15 million euros at the beginning of the millennium.
At the time, Hans-Dieter Cleven, the former head of retail giant Metro, was organizing Becker’s business from the Swiss tax haven Zug in the “Boris Becker & Co.” farm. But even the wise businessman was unable to help Becker achieve any major financial success. Today, Cleven is one of Becker’s biggest creditors: This was followed by negative business with an Internet portal, failed investments in three Mercedes car dealerships, and poorly rated TV formats. Becker was only taken seriously again when Novak Djokovic hired him as coach in 2013. Under him, the Serb won the French Open for the first time.
Boris Becker: The 17-year-old in 1985 celebrated victory with the Wimbledon Cup. (Source: Kosecki / images)
Then followed the time at DTB, whereby the association stands united behind Becker. President Dietloff von Arnim said at a press conference at the BMW Open hours before the verdict was announced on Friday: “I would say we are standing there faithfully next to our tennis icon.”
In recent years, the association has always put itself in front of its athletes in case of sporting failure (Angelique Kerber) or private offense (Alexander Zverev). They pay it back with committed commitments on the national team. Until 2020, Becker did a really good job as a kind of overall sports director in German men’s tennis, even for normal observers – not only in support of the professionals in the Davis Cup but also in the youth field.
Therefore, there is nothing to add to the president’s statement, says Vice President Dirk Hordorff to t-online. He says: “The verdict is obviously a shock to Boris Becker.”
“We are behind Boris Becker, who has done extraordinary things for German tennis for decades as a player and later in his role as” Head of Men’s Tennis “in our association. We therefore hope that we will soon be able to welcome him back to our circle, ”explains Hordorff.
Kohlmann thinks of Becker’s family
Becker’s successor, longtime Davis Cup captain Michael Kohlmann, thinks of Becker’s family: “I very much regret that Boris Becker is going to jail, and I very much hope that he, his children and his family get through this difficult time well.” he told Kohlmann to t-online. Barbara Rittner, who is not only responsible for the German women in DTB, but also regularly worked with Becker as an expert on the television station Eurosport, explains: “I wish him a lot of strength and support from his family and friends. “
Eurosport itself responded to a t-online inquiry late Friday night: “Boris Becker is an extraordinary tennis expert who inspires millions of tennis fans around the world with his analyzes and insights. We have taken note of today’s verdict, but ask for understanding for , that we will not comment further on this. “
Fact is: Because of his prison sentence, Becker can not work for at least a year and three months. But he could also consider a revision. Attorney Burkhard Benecken explains in the photo: “Of course Boris Becker can challenge this verdict, but it will be several months before the case comes up. But if he continues to be innocent, he has no chance. He only regrets, with one admission of guilt , a chance for parole. He must say he made a mistake. Because it did not happen before. “