Shamed tennis legend Boris Becker has recounted his time inside two ‘brutal’ prisons, but took no responsibility for the bankruptcy fraud that landed him there.
The three-time Wimbledon winner, convicted of hiding £2.5 million worth of assets, blamed his advisers and even criticized the jurors for being too young to understand his case.
Becker, 55 and twice married, also offered a startling warning to Prince Harry: “Don’t forget where you came from, because you may have to go back there.” And marriages don’t always last forever, last time I checked.
The former Grand Slam ace and BBC commentator was jailed for two and a half years last April after being found guilty on four counts under the Insolvency Act.
The first part of his sentence was served at London’s notorious HMP Wandsworth, which Becker described as an “asshole”.
Embarrassed tennis legend Boris Becker has recounted his time inside two ‘brutal’ jails, but did not take responsibility for the bankruptcy fraud that put him there.
Becker offered a surprising warning to Prince Harry: “Don’t forget where you came from, because you may have to go back there.”
It is a dangerous place. After the first week, I realized that this is survival, and if I spend time looking back, I am losing,” he told the Financial Times.
I need all my energy to survive every day. The moment they come with the keys, you hear it, it’s a noise you never forget.’
Becker taught other inmates math and English, allowing him to spend five hours a day outside his cell, which he liked because “inside the cell, you die.”
He was later transferred to Huntercombe Prison in Nuffield, Oxfordshire, where he was “surrounded by murderers, drug dealers and people smugglers”.
The German recalled: ‘At first one is afraid, because this guy killed two people with his bare hands, he is already 18 years old. Imagine! He becomes your friend.
He added: “The British justice system is brutal.” Becker was endorsed by celebrity friends while he was on the inside. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp wanted to visit him, but he was blocked because the prison feared for his safety.
World number 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic gave Becker’s girlfriend Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro free tickets to his matches.
Becker arrived at Southwark Crown Court in London last year, where he was sentenced.
Twice-married Becker offered Harry (pictured with Meghan in the couple’s Netflix series) some advice, saying: “And marriages don’t always last forever, last I checked.”
His old German rival, Michael Stich, even wrote him a long letter. Becker filed for bankruptcy in 2017 but hid £2.5m in assets, including a £1m home in Germany, to avoid paying off his debts.
When he was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court in London last year, Judge Deborah Taylor said he had shown “no remorse (or) humility”.
In his interview with the FT, Becker still refused to take responsibility for his crimes, saying he would not have been treated so harshly “if my name was Peter Smith and I hadn’t won Wimbledon at 17.”
He said: ‘It was naive, it was bad advice. But it was not bad intention. Should I have better advisors? Yeah.
‘I’m going to start listening to my common sense, instead of having these dozens of advisers and lawyers.
We all struggle with our taxes. And the more money you have, the more complicated it becomes.
Boris Becker pictured with Lilly Kerssenberg at their wedding in St Moritz, Switzerland in 2009
Becker with his girlfriend Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro, who was given free match tickets by world number 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic.
The first part of his sentence was served at London’s notorious HMP Wandsworth (pictured), which Becker described as ‘asshole’.
“The jurors… half of them were under 30, I don’t think they really understood what this case was really about.”
Becker, whose net worth is said to have been £127m at the height of his success, added that money “goes fast” when you get divorced.
He paid £11m to his first wife, Barbara Feltus, when they separated in 2002 and is embroiled in divorce negotiations with his second wife, Lilly.
He was released from prison in December after serving just seven months and 17 days and deported to Germany, where he now lives in Munich.