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regular-article-logo Saturday, 13 July 2024

Boris Becker, a ‘nobody’ in prison, recounts death threats

Three-time Wimbledon champion makes shocking revelations in his first interview since leaving prison in the UK and being deported to Germany last week

Nick Allen, Jorg Luyken, James Rothwell Berlin, Washington Published 22.12.22, 04:11 AM
Boris Becker

Boris Becker File picture

Boris Becker broke down in tears as he described how he survived being locked up in prison with murderers, one of whom threatened to kill him.

In his first interview since leaving prison in the UK and being deported to Germany last week, the three-time Wimbledon champion said that he was a “nobody” in jail.

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He told German broadcaster SAT 1 that his spells at HMP Wandsworth and HMP Huntercombe had been a “hard lesson” that had taught him to “look in the mirror”.

Becker, 55, said: “I was immediately confronted with a reality that I had no experience with. It was dangerous. I tried not to look anyone in the eye and stay in my corner.

“Wandsworth is really big, really dirty, extremely dangerous, there are murderers, paedophiles, drug dealers, you meet everyone. It’s about surviving. You go out of your cell and you need to save your skin, the guards won’t do it for you.”

Becker said he had an altercation with an inmate who was “in for murder” and had been in jail for years.

The tennis star said: “He wanted to kill me. He couldn’t accept that I was friends with black inmates. He underestimated that other inmates would come to my help and threaten him.

“There was an inmate who was in jail for murder and he wanted to get at my money. He started to blackmail me and said he’d have me. He started off being friendly but turned out to have other intentions.”

Becker added: “In prison you are a nobody. You are only a number. Mine was A2923EV. I wasn’t called Boris, I was a number. And nobody gives a s*** who you are.”

He described meagre portions of food, and said there was a lot of violence.

But he said: “I believe I rediscovered the human in me, the person I once was. I’ve learnt a hard lesson. A very expensive one. A very painful one. The whole thing has taught me something very important and worthwhile. And some things happen for a good reason.”

Becker said he did not smoke or drink alcohol in jail and went to bed hungry, which had made him fitter.

“Even if there was home-made schnapps there, the imprisonment was definitely good for my health,” he said.

Asked about the day he left prison, he said: “From six o’clock that morning I sat on the edge of my bed and hoped that the cell door would open. They came to get me at 7.30am, unlocked the door and asked: ‘Are you ready?’ I said: ‘Let’s go!’ I had already packed everything beforehand.” Becker said his life had been threated in Huntercombe prison.

He said: “The inmate told me verbally what he was going to do to me. But he underestimated that I had a position in prison, that the other inmates in the wing took notice and came out.”

He added: “There were two moments when I was afraid for my life. I was shaking so much, with the food tray in hand.” Becker said he had made three friends in prison whom he called “listeners”.

He said:“They saved my life.” He said he had not been able to say goodbye after being jailed, adding: “I (was) taken straight away. It doesn’t get any more brutal than that.”

Becker was reportedly paid £435,000 for the interview. He was jailed for two-and-a-half years in April after being found guilty of hiding £2.5 million in assets to avoid paying debts after being declared bankrupt.

The tennis star-turned commentator served eight months of his sentence and, after his release, returned to Germany, reportedly on a private jet chartered by a friend.

The Daily Telegraph in London

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