Boris Becker reveals when he hopes to return to the Wimbledon commentary box

Kevin Palmer
Boris Becker off court
Boris Becker

Boris Becker says he is starting to write the third chapter of his career – and he hopes it will include a return to the BBC commentary box at Wimbledon.

The three-time Wimbledon champion, 55, was jailed for two and a half years in April for hiding £2.5 million of assets and loans to avoid paying debts, serving eight months.

Now Becker has told the BBC that the tennis world had “embraced” him since his release in December, after which he was deported from the UK.

His love for Wimbledon means his absence from last year’s tournament in the BBC commentary box was especially hard to take, but he has revealed he has a plan to make a return to the All England Club.

“I’m fortunate that I can stand on my feet, none of my partners have dropped me, they’ve welcomed me back home,” he said.

“When you’re down, and the last five, six years were very difficult for me, you truly find out who’s with you and who’s not with you.

“I’ve been out now for three and a half months and I’m very humbled again by the reception I’ve received from fans, from people on the street from people who have followed the story a little bit.

“I miss London, I really miss Wimbledon and I won’t be going there this year, but I have spoken to the BBC and we will see what happens.

“I’ve told them I can’t come back next year. If I’m allowed to go back I will make a phone call and ask if they want me back on the team, I would certainly love to but it’s not my decision.”

Becker also opened up on his time in prison, as he suggested he needed to befriend hardened criminals to keep himself safe behind bars.

“Whoever says that prison life isn’t hard and isn’t difficult I think is lying,” he added.

“I was surrounded by murderers, by drug dealers, by rapists, by people smugglers, by dangerous criminals.

“You fight every day for survival. Quickly you have to surround yourself with the tough boys, as I would call it, because you need protection.”

Becker said being a legendary tennis player counted for nothing while he was in prison.

“If you think you’re better than everybody else then you lose,” he said.

“Inside it doesn’t matter that I was a tennis player, the only currency we have inside is our character and our personality. That’s it, you have nothing else.

“You don’t have any friends at first, you’re literally on your own and that’s the hard part, you have to really dig inside yourself about your qualities and your strengths but also your weaknesses.

“I never thought at 17 I’d be incarcerated at 54.

“If anything it certainly humbled me, it certainly made me realise that whether you’re called Boris Becker or Paul Smith, if you break the law, you get convicted and you get incarcerated, that goes for everybody.

“I never expected the good and I certainly didn’t expect the bad but I’m a survivor, I’m a tough cookie, I’ve taken the penalties, I’ve taken the incarceration but I’ve also taken the glory and if anything this made me a stronger, better man.

“With my decisions in the future you can see whether I have learned from it or I didn’t.”

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