Hardened by prison
Boris Becker: “I’m a tough dog”
4/8/2023 7:27 p.m
Former tennis pro Boris Becker hardly misses an opportunity to talk about his prison sentence. The time behind bars “was very brutal,” he says in a new interview. He quickly developed a tactic to protect himself – and surrounded himself with “tough guys”.
According to his own statement, ex-tennis pro Boris Becker hardened his time behind bars and made him a better person. “I’m a survivor, I’m a tough dog,” said the 55-year-old in a BBC interview. “If anything, it’s made me a better, stronger man.”
“Anyone who says that life behind bars is not hard and difficult is lying,” Becker told the broadcaster. “It was very brutal.” The experience was very different from what you see on TV and hear in stories. “I was surrounded by murderers, drug dealers, rapists, people smugglers and dangerous criminals.” He quickly learned that he needed protection and had to surround himself with “tough guys”. “You fight to survive every day.”
The fact that he was a three-time Wimbledon winner was unimportant in prison. “If you think you’re better than everyone else, you lose,” he told the BBC. All that counted is your own character and personality. “That’s all, you have nothing else.”
“I miss London”
At the start of his incarceration, Becker spent a few weeks in Wandsworth Prison, which was notorious for its poor conditions. He was then transferred to Huntercombe Prison, which has a lower security rating.
In an interview, Becker said he had learned to appreciate the good 54 years he had before. “Especially in the first few weeks, when you’re alone in a very, very small cell, you live on those memories.” This first time was particularly hard. “In the beginning you don’t have any friends, you’re literally on your own and that’s the hard part. You really have to look at your qualities and strengths but also your weaknesses.”
In mid-December, Becker was released in England after 231 days behind bars. The tennis star was sentenced to two and a half years in prison in London at the end of April 2022 for concealing assets worth millions from his insolvency administrators. The reason for the early release was a special regulation for foreign prisoners.
However, Becker must continue to cede part of his income to the insolvency administrator. In addition, he will not be allowed to enter his adopted country of Great Britain until 2024. “I miss London, I really miss Wimbledon and I won’t be going there this year,” Becker told the broadcaster. The tennis star also thanked his fans and his family. “When you’re on the ground,” says Becker about the broadcaster, you really find out who supports you and who doesn’t support you.