The thinned face, Boris Becker spoke for the first time publicly this Tuesday evening on the German private channel “Sat1” since his release from prison last Thursday. An interview that brought him 515,000 euros.
Sentenced on April 29 by the Southwark Crown Court in London to two and a half years in prison for four counts related to his personal bankruptcy, he took advantage of a special accelerated procedure for foreign nationals which stipulates that any detainee not British can be sent back to his country of origin if he agrees, in order to unclog British prisons. Here are the key passages from this two-hour interview.
His eight months in prison: “Another prisoner wanted to kill me”
“Behind bars, you are nobody. I quickly realized this. You are just a number. No one called me Boris. Besides, they didn’t really care who I was. I have established relationships of trust with three prisoners who saved my life. In October, another prisoner wanted to kill me. He explained to me exactly what he was planning to do, but I had the support of these other inmates and the next day this dangerous person who has been behind bars for 12 years came to apologize. I spent my time teaching English and math to other prisoners. A few weeks later, I studied the philosophy of stoicism which I then taught to inmates. I was also their physical trainer. Luckily I had these few occupations, otherwise I would have gone mad. »
The consequences of his stay in prison: “I recognized my missteps”
“I am the same person, but I have become more humble. I lost a lot of weight. I went to bed hungry, which had never happened to me before. My time in prison did me good health-wise. I think I have found in myself the human that I was many years ago. This condemnation was a very harsh lesson. A lesson that hurt me a lot. But with hindsight, it also had positive repercussions. I thought a lot, I recognized my missteps. I didn’t always have the right people around me, I was badly advised. These eight months have softened me. I want to keep this straight path. I received a second chance, it’s up to me to seize it and to be faithful to my principles. This prison stay allowed me to find myself, it served me. »
Anecdotes about his time in prison: “Klopp wanted to come see me”
“I had the right to two visits per month, but certain personalities were not authorized to come and visit me. For example, Jürgen Klopp wanted to come see me. We called each other. “Kloppo” was not allowed to come, because he is too well known and the prison wanted to avoid monumental chaos. I turned 55 on November 22 and several prisoners clubbed together to give me three chocolate cupcakes, each with a different taste.
I received several dozen letters every day from supporters, friends, former tennis players. I have read them all. I will respond to them all during the holiday season. These letters helped me a lot to keep my spirits up on a daily basis. Which one touched me the most? The one sent to me by Michael Stich (former world No. 2) over three pages with very touching words. I would not have believed that he made such a strong gesture (Becker breaks down in tears). »
His relationship to money: “I have to be more careful now”
“Since 2012, I have been living on bank loans, because all these years I have lived beyond my means. But all that is now over. I want to be able to buy an apartment or a vehicle again without tax adjustments. For too long have I believed that I could live as in the days of my splendor during my active career. I now have to pay more attention to the management of my wealth. »
Boris Becker at Southwark Assize Court in London on April 29, 2022. (J. Sibley/Reuters)
His release: “I drank a beer, the best of my life”
“I landed in Stuttgart on Thursday evening where no one saw me apart from the customs officers who wished me a safe return home. I had wished to avoid the flashes of the many photographers who were waiting for me in Munich. I spent the night with a couple of friends in an apartment near Heidelberg. I drank a beer, the best of my life. I spent all day there on Friday. At the weekend, I went to Munich to see trusted doctors who put me back on my feet, because after those eight months I had difficulty walking straight. Since Monday, I have been living more and more normally. I am at the hotel in Munich and the people who pass me wish me good luck. Until then, there is no malice from anyone. »
His future: “I want to work”
“I cleaned up my surroundings so that I now have people who only want my good. In fact, I started all over again in 2017. It’s a long process to secure myself a healthier future. In the next few months, I’m thinking of going to live abroad in order to have a quieter life. I like Dubai or maybe Miami where I used to live. I have several ideas. In any case, I am happy to live normally again. Now I want to work. »
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