ATP

Boris Becker a 'stronger, better man' after humbling prison stint

By Sports Desk April 08, 2023

Tennis great Boris Becker has emerged from a spell in prison as "a stronger, better man", having been "humbled" by his conviction for concealing assets last year.

Six-time grand slam singles champion Becker was sentenced to two and a half years in jail last April, having been found guilty of concealing £2.5million worth of assets and loans to avoid paying debts when he was declared bankrupt in 2017.

The German was released after serving eight months of his sentence in December and was subsequently deported from the United Kingdom.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Becker said he had learned valuable lessons from his stint inside, where his legendary tennis achievements counted for nothing. 

"Whoever says that prison life isn't hard and isn't difficult I think is lying," Becker said. "I was surrounded by murderers, drug dealers, rapists, people smugglers… by dangerous criminals.

"You fight every day for survival. Quickly you have to surround yourself with the tough boys, as I would call it, because you need protection.

"If you think you're better than everybody else then you lose. It doesn't matter that I was a tennis player. The only currency we have inside is our character and our personality. That's it, you have nothing else.

"You don't have any friends at first – you're literally on your own and that's the hard part. You have to really dig inside yourself about your qualities and your strengths but also your weaknesses."

Becker – who was previously a regular on the BBC's coverage of Wimbledon – reportedly cannot return to the UK until October 2024.

Having worked as a commentator with Eurosport in Germany for the Australian Open earlier this year, Becker is eager to rebuild his reputation. 

"I'm usually good in the fifth set – I've won the first two sets, I've lost the next two and I'm planning to win that," he said.

"It certainly humbled me, it made me realise that whether you're called Boris Becker or Paul Smith, if you break the law, you get convicted and you get incarcerated, that goes for everybody.

"I never expected the good and I certainly didn't expect the bad but I'm a survivor, I'm a tough cookie. 

"I've taken the penalties, I've taken the incarceration but I've also taken the glory and if anything this made me a stronger, better man. With my decisions in the future you can see whether I have learned from it or I didn't."

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