Tennis legend Boris Becker says his time spent behind bars has made him a stronger person.
The former Wimbledon champion said 2022 had been ‘the most difficult year of my life’ in a New Years video posted on Instagram.
‘But it’s done, it’s dusted. I came out alive,’ he said. ‘I think I came out of it stronger. I think my mental health is better than ever before,’ he added in the message, which was filmed on a secluded beach on the island of São Tomé and Príncipe in West Africa.
Becker was jailed for two and a half years at Southwark Crown Court in April after being found guilty of hiding £2.5 million in assets to avoid paying debts to creditors.
The assets included his tennis trophies, cash in bank accounts of which he claimed to be unaware of, plus properties he said he ‘did not realise’ he owned.
He was forced to declare bankruptcy in 2017 after racking up debts of almost £50m because of an unpaid loan of more than £3m on his Spanish estate in Majorca.
Becker was released in December, having served just eight months of his sentence, before he was deported to Germany.
Boris Becker pictured outside Southwark Crown Court with his girlfriend Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro in April 2022 (Picture: WireImage)
During an interview on German TV following his release, Becker said he feared for his life in prison after a convicted murderer threatened to kill him.
‘Wandsworth is really big, really dirty, and 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,’ he said.
Under the terms of his release Becker is not allowed to enter the UK for several years, and has suggested he may move to either Miami or Dubai.
His return home was sullied by a public spat with German influencer Cathy Hummels, 34, who is a friend of Becker’s estranged wife Lily.
Ms Hummels criticised Becker’s early release in a podcast interview, and said the former tennis star should have served his full sentence behind bars.
During his time behind bars, Becker says he feared for his life after a fellow inamte threatened to kill him (Picture: SAT.1)
‘This is a crime, what he has done, and so it’s justified that he has to serve [the sentence],’ she said.
‘He fooled people, he ruined them. You have to serve your time. I’m mega serious.
‘He has cheated many people, deceived them and fooled them. That’s just not right. You have to go to prison just like everybody else.
‘To be completely honest, I don’t like it at all when you get treated with kid gloves just because you’re famous or well-known.’
Although Becker has not responded publicly to the comments, German media reports he called for Hummels to be investigated for defamation.
Becker rose to stardom in 1985, aged 17, when he became the first unseeded player to win the men’s singles title at Wimbledon.
After retiring from competitive tennis in 1999 he has served as a pundit during BBC’s Wimbledon coverage since 2002.
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