Boris Becker is behind bars and I have found myself spending hours reading about his flamboyant lifestyle and reliving the golden days of tennis in the 1980s and ’90s. Boom Boom was sent to jail for two-and-a-half years after being found guilty of four insolvency charges relating to bankruptcy.
At the height of his career, Boris had six Grand Slam titles, three Wimbledon titles, a cabinet packed with trophies and a $68 million fortune in prize money and sponsorship deals. That was in the ’90s, so imagine what that would equate to now. He was found guilty of hiding millions of dollars’ worth of assets, including two Wimbledon trophies, to avoid his debt.
Born in West Germany, he rose to fame at the age of 17 when he became the youngest Wimbledon men’s singles champion in 1985. The rest of us were crimping our hair and dancing to Madonna while this teenager had a steely focus on tennis. But the pressure all became too much and Becker started his battle with drugs and booze.
It was the magic decade of tennis and I could rattle off dozens of names who thrilled us on court including Stefan Edberg, Martina Navratilova and Ivan Lendl. Off the court it became Becker’s love life that made sizzling headlines. Asked once why women seemed to find him attractive, he replied: “No idea. I am not especially rich, I’m not especially pretty, I’m no Adonis and my manhood isn’t over-enormous.”
He got hitched in 1993 and had a few kids. But a notorious tryst with Russian waitress Angela Ermakova in a cupboard captured the world. In his autobiography about the one-night stand he said: “She left her table for the toilet. I followed behind and we had five minutes of small talk before we got down to business.”
That five-minute fling led to the conception of a daughter with Angela, who faxed him later to tell him the news. His wife was also pregnant at the time so it all went pear-shaped from there.
Becker spent the following decades in many relationships and living the high life. But it all caught up with the 54-year-old. And back to those Wimbledon trophies he hid. How do you think that played out with Scotland Yard? What planet are you living on if you can misplace two massive trophies and matching shields. They do not look like your regular salad platters.