The tennis player Boris Becker (55 years old, Leimen, Germany) used the end of the year to take stock of the year 2022. He did so via his Instagram account, from a beach on the African island of São Tomé and Príncipe – birthplace of his now partner, political risk analyst Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro – 18 days after her release after eight months in a UK prison: ” On the last day of the year I would like to dedicate words to all my loved ones and to the people who have supported me in what I call the most difficult year of my life,” begins the athlete, “but it’s over and over. I got out alive I think I came out of it stronger. I think my sanity is better than ever but I couldn’t have made it through it without the support, help, love and affection of so many people so thank you.
Becker, with six Grand Slams to his credit, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison last April for embezzlement. He hid assets worth almost three million euros to avoid taxes. The athlete has been held in a low-security prison near the town of Henley-on-Thames since May 2022 awaiting deportation for being a convicted non-British national despite having resided in the Kingdom of Great Britain since 2012. Eight months later he was released on the terms of his release, despite being banned from the UK for several years.
“You have lost your career and your reputation and all your wealth. It is remarkable that he has shown no sign of remorse or an admission of guilt,” Judge Deborah Taylor told Becker at the time, before sending him to the cells of Southwark Courthouse as a step ahead of his incarceration. “I understand the humiliation you may have suffered during this trial, but you have not been able to show humility,” the judge accused.
Prison could have been a humiliating cure for Becker, according to the report he gave in his first interview after his release with journalist Steven Gätjen on German TV show SAT.1 last December: “In prison you are a nobody. you are just a number Mine was A2923EV. My name wasn’t Boris, it was a number. And no one cares who you are,” he said in that interview. His 231 days in prison helped him “reflect on his life” and rediscover his “human side”: “I think I rediscovered the person I used to be. I’ve learned a hard lesson. A very expensive one. Very painful, but I’ve learned. Some things happen for a good reason.”
His release from prison is not well received everywhere, not even in his home country, where Becker has advanced from a leading figure in the sports world to tabloid fodder after various scandalous roles in recent years. The first of these occurred in 2001, when a DNA test forced him to identify an illegitimate daughter, Anna, whom he had with model Angelika Ermakova after a brief sexual encounter with the girl’s mother during the 1999 Wimbledon tournament . The scandal went down in history as “Becket’s five most expensive seconds”: alongside the costly divorce from Barbara Feltus, to whom he had been married since 1993, together they had become a symbol of marital stability and the face of when “new Germany” suffered he also suffered a serious blow to his reputation when he admitted his intimacy with Ermakova arose when his then-wife was pregnant with the couple’s second child. The second scandal occurred in 2002, when a Munich court sentenced him to two years’ probation for evading taxes from the German treasury totaling 1.7 million euros between 1991 and 1993.
Now Becker continues to cause ambivalence in Germany: “He fooled a lot of people, and that’s not right. He has to serve his sentence like everyone else. I don’t like it at all when they treat you with kid gloves just because you’re a famous and well-known person,” said Cathy Hummels (34), influencer and ex-wife of Bayern Munich defender Mats Hummels as a friend hauntingly in an intimate podcast by Becker’s second ex-wife, Lilly Becker. As reported by the British newspaper The Times, the tennis player has already filed a defamation lawsuit against the influencer, which has led other celebrities in Germany to doubt Becker’s words and his story, in which he addresses the change brought about after his prison term.
One of these celebrities was the comedian Oliver Pocher (44 years old), who castigated Becker on television through various sketches and was repeatedly denounced by the tennis player in the past. Recently, the comedian disguised himself as a tennis player again to hold a monologue in which he laughed at the athlete’s supposed “humility” and accepted a first interview on German television for around 450,000 euros: “I gave the interview of the year on SAT.1,” says the comedian; “They paid cash, which of course I really like. I made mistakes, many mistakes. But I got paid for it.”
Little is known about the future plans of the recently released Boris Becker. His life in London’s Battersea, an area south of the Thames to which he can no longer return, is over. It also doesn’t appear that it will settle in Germany. Some newspapers mention that he was thinking of moving to Miami or Dubai. At the moment it is receiving 2023 on the African coast.