From his new home, perhaps in a few weeks Boris Becker will hear the clamor of the Wimbledon stadium, where he has triumphed three times. The London tennis temple is in fact less than 4km as the crow flies from Wandsworth prison, where the former world number 1 entered on Friday 29 April. In the morning, Judge Deborah Taylor imposed a 30-month prison sentence, of which she will serve at least half, for financial crimes related to her personal bankruptcy and colossal debts accumulated in the years following her death, retiring from sport in 1999. Wandsworth prisons was preceded by the writer Oscar Wilde, by James Earl Ray, assassin of Martin Luther King, or by the musicians Pete Doherty and Gary Glitter.
The 54-year-old German champion, resident in the United Kingdom since 2012, is found guilty of having transferred large sums of his accounts to those of several relatives, in particular of his two ex-wives, to make believe his insolvency, and of having hidden ownership, loans and shares of a company, all for 2.5 million pounds (3 million euros).
Six-time winner of Grand Slam tournaments between 1985 and 1996 (only Roland-Garros escaped him), Boris Becker, nicknamed “Boom Boom”, has remained tied to the world of tennis, as a tournament commentator for the BBC and Australian and Japanese television. He was also the coach of Novak Djokovic between 2014 and 2016, three years during which the Serbian won 6 Grand Slam tournaments and two Masters. Enough to complete the fortune accumulated in the courts: $ 25 million, and probably an equivalent amount in advertising contracts.
Adultery and divorce
Today nothing remains of this fortune. Ruinous divorces, poorly managed investments, addictions to alcohol or poker … The champion’s downfall began the moment he hung up the racket. And 1999 is a cursed year. He had decided to quit at 31. In July 1999, he played his last Wimbledon, and fell with honors in the round of 16 against Australian number 2 seeded Patrick Rafter.
On the night of his elimination, dinner at Nobu, a famous Japanese restaurant in London. Barbara Feltus, his wife since 1993, does not accompany him: she is 7 months pregnant with their second child. Boris Becker’s gaze meets that of Angela Ermakova, waitress or client depending on the version, Russian anyway. Acting happens “in the stairwell” establishment, the tabloid press later revealed. Despite the young pensioner’s denials, Frau Becker filed for divorce, which she obtained in January 2001. At the end of a long-negotiated agreement, her adulterous husband had to pay Barbara 15 million dollars (the same amount in euros at the time) and he renounced. to their property in Miami. He also loses custody of the two boys, Noah and Elias. And the addition is increased by lawyers’ fees: 3.5 million.
Previously, the soap opera had rebounded with the revelation that a baby was born from the sneaky hug. Forced and forced by the result of a DNA test, Boris Becker recognized the paternity of little Anna Ermakova. Which will cost him more than 3 million euros more. In his autobiography (1), the champion makes no secret of the reasons for his fall: an exuberant lifestyle, an all-consuming passion for mixed-race women, lots of alcohol and sleeping pills … A new passion completes the picture: Boris is infatuated with poker and plays at the tables of professional players who feast on it to fish (beginner easy to pluck). His card losses are estimated at € 15 million.
Hippies in the Balearics
At that moment, the champion has fixed his domicile in Munich, something that the investigators of the German tax authorities dispute: their investigations show that Boom Boom spends more time in Munich than at the Rock. Sentenced to pay 3 million euros, including unpaid debts and fines, he was sentenced to six months in prison with suspension of the sentence. Another symbol of his decadence: Son Coll, owned by him in Mallorca, a Balearic island adored by his compatriots, to the point of being nicknamed “the seventeenth earth” from Germany. In 1997 he bought a finca, Farm of 200 hectares with two buildings. And a new building added “Moroccan style”, a large swimming pool, a tennis court and a basketball court. Unusual detail: Boris Becker’s refuge is located a few kilometers from Manacor, the birthplace of Rafael Nadal.
Ten years later, the complaints arrive: he owes € 276,000 to a green space maintenance company, € 555,000 to a building contractor and almost € 100,000 in salary to the couple of guardians. In the absence of payment, the property is foreclosed by a bank. In recent years, Son Coll has been occupied by a quaint Germanic hippie community. We also shot adult films there. the Daily mail enjoyed in 2019 comparing the estate at the time of its splendor and the state of neglect in which it had fallen. The property is currently on sale, for € 7.9 million.
Indifferent to the collapsing world around him, Boris Becker went on to comment on major tournaments on the BBC and launched lines of beauty or clothing products under his own brand. In 2009 he returned to the front page of the popular press: he married model Lilly Kerssenberg in Saint-Moritz, Switzerland, during a sumptuous wedding with 200 guests of the jet-set. The former world number 1 found a good way to finance the party: he sold the exclusive images to the German channel RTL. But the controversy reaches him: the priest denounces the fact that the costs for the rental of the chapel and for the organization of the function, set at 9,500 Swiss francs (other euros), have never been paid.
fake diplomatic passport
After spending the first half of his life on the tennis courts, Boris Becker spends the second half on the courts. As a logical consequence of the cascades of legal proceedings, he was declared personal bankruptcy by a London court in 2017. The following year, in another trial, Boris Becker brandished a diplomatic passport which was supposed to guarantee his immunity. According to him, the document credited him as advisor to the president of the Central African Republic for sport and culture. A photo of him posing with Faustin-Archangel Touadéra was supposed to authenticate his new status. In some confusion, the passport is eventually denounced as a fake from a stock of stolen documents.
In July 2019, the fallen star auctioned off several dozen personal mementos. The trophy he received for his victory at the 1989 US Open, a silver cup, flies away at € 167,000. But the total raised, 765,000 euros, is a drop in the ocean of debts that must be honored: 56 million. English judges also questioned other untraceable items from Boum Boum’s legacy: his three Wimbledon trophies or his gold medal. [en double messieurs] at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. With his head in the air, Boris admits he doesn’t remember where he put them. Without convincing.
The latest episode is the one that sends him straight to jail. Yesterday’s champion has always been close to his children, two of whom are now models, Elias and Anna. And he kept in touch with his ex-wives, who, as revealed by the investigation, helped him fraudulently hide the remaining crumbs of his fortune. On April 28, Boris Becker appeared in court in London with his current partner, Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro, and eldest son Noah, carrying a sports bag containing toiletries and a change of clothes. For the occasion Boris Becker wore a green and purple striped tie: the colors of the Wimbledon tournament.
(1) Offline, Michel Lafon, 2004.