When Boris Becker won Wimbledon as an unknown teenager in 1985, along with it came superstardom and a pathway to riches.
Today that yellow brick road is a gravelled mess after the six-time grand slam champion was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail for blurting the terms of his bankruptcy in 2017, according to the UK’s Insolvency Service.
The German tennis great had it all in a career that had everything on the court, but decisions made off the court proved to be his Achilles heel.
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His massive serve earned him the nickname “Boom, Boom”, leading to another win at Wimbledon in 1986 and lifted four more Grand Slam trophies in a successful career, with 49 singles titles to his name and career earnings of $70 million.
He added a third Wimbledon crown when he defeated Stefan Edberg in the 1989 final and also went on to win the US Open in 1989 and the Australian Open in 1991 and 1996, while twice leading Germany to Davis Cup glory.
Following his victory at Melbourne Park in 1991, he soared to world No.1 but it was his life off the court that kept him in the headlines years after he retired with his womanising attracting the media’s attention long after he hung up the racquet.
The German star had a daughter conceived in a brief infamous encounter in a closet at a London restaraunt in 1999 with Russian model and waitress Angela Ermakova, while his then wife, Barbara Feltus, was pregnant.
Writing in an autobiography, Hold On, Stay a WhileBecker said of the fling: “She (Ermakova) left her table for the toilet.
“I followed behind … five minutes small talk and then straight away into the nearest possible place and down to business.”
The tryst cost Becker plenty in every sense.
His wife, Feltus, demanded a separation and the pair divorced in 2001. In the divorce, he reportedly had to give up the family home in Miami and coughed up $20 million plus a further $3.5 million in legal fees.
He then had to pay $3 million to Ermakova in a paternity suit because he initially denied being the father of his daughter Anna, now 22, saying he and the model had never met.
The tennis legend’s encounter in the closet with Ermakova ended up costing him $27 million.
While hitting hard financially, Becker eventually came around on accepting his daughter and has stated in various interviews that he didn’t regret the encounter because his daughter was born as a result.
“My daughter Anna is one of the best things in my life … I’m very proud of my daughter,” Becker told RadioTimes Magazine.
Becker ended up remarriing after his divorce, tying the knot with Dutch model Sharlely “Lilly” Kerssenberg in a high-profile event in Switzerland that was broadcast on German television.
The couple shared a son, Amadeus and separated in 2018.
In 2002, Becker copped a two-year suspended prison sentence and fined him for tax evasion by a court in Munich.
Even after being declared bankrupt in 2017, Becker was still hooked on the finer things in life.
Becker told the jury in his trial how his career earnings were chewed up by an expensive divorce from his first wife, child maintenance payments and “expensive lifestyle commitments”.
Christian Schommers, who co-wrote Becker’s 2013 biography Life Is Not A Gamepreviously said: “He still lives at the same standard he enjoyed as an active tennis professional when the millions were flowing.
“From expensive rents or holidays to Ibiza — even though he has a home on Mallorca — through to expensive meals, cigars, whiskey … on top of that he is extremely generous.
“I’ve never been to a dinner where several people were present which he hasn’t paid for.”
Judge Deborah Taylor, who handed down the award, said the former tennis player will serve half the award.
“I take into account what has been described as your fall from grace. You have lost your career and reputation and all of your property as a result of your bankruptcy,” said the judge, according to the Press Association (PA).
“You have not shown remorse, acceptance of your guilt and have sought to distance yourself from your offending and your bankruptcy.
“While I accept your humiliation as part of the proceedings, there has been no humility.”
According to PA, Becker’s lawyer Jonathan Laidlaw told the court that the “proceedings have destroyed his career entirely and ruined any further prospect of earning an income.”
“His reputation is in tatters,” added Laidlaw. “He will not be able to find work and will have to rely on the charity of others if he is to survive.”
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