Friday saw tennis great Boris Becker's fall from grace reach a dramatic conclusion, with the six-time Grand Slam champion jailed for two and a half years. Becker, who has been supported throughout by his partner Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro, chose to hide £2.5m worth of assets and loans to ensure that he wasn't forced to pay off substantial debts he had racked up.
The case, in which the German was found guilty on four counts under the Insolvency Act, relates to Becker being bankrupt in June 2017. The bankruptcy came as a result of Becker failing to service a loan of over £3m on the luxury estate he owned in the Mallorca region of Spain. But, this wasn't a case of the fifty-four-year-old not being sure of the proper steps to take, as he's actually been in hot water for an offence along the same lines previously.
In 2002, Becker was found guilty of tax evasion at the Munich District Court, and ordered to spend two years in prison, which happened to be suspended. Alongside his suspended sentence, Becker was also forced to a pay a total of €300,000 in fines and a further €200,000 to charitable organisations. Again, the three-time Wimbledon champion had attempted to profit by committing illegal moves, this time in relation to false statements on tax returns.
You could suggest that Becker had received a clear warning, as alluded to by Judge Deborah Taylor at his recent trial. No remorse was shown, and there was no acceptance of guilt, as Becker, who was legally obliged to disclose all his current assets, was found guilty of removal of property, concealing debt and two counts of failing to disclose estate. Becker was, however, acquitted on twenty other charges.
It's been a dramatic fall from grace for one of the greatest tennis players of all time. The German, who has lived in London for a long time, has had a turbulent private life for many years. He’s often made the newspapers, for all the wrong reasons, but that shouldn’t detract from his achievements on the court, where he achieved Grand Slam success from the very beginning. Becker was just seventeen when his talent came to the fore, winning the men’s singles at Wimbledon unseeded. He went on to win a further five Grand Slams, with an impressive hall of forty-nine career titles to his name.
Unfortunately, it's likely to be Becker's misdemeanours that many will now go on to remember him for, especially after he's set to spend over two years in jail for his crimes. Some will call it a fall from grace; Becker's barrister, however, suggested it to be a public humiliation. Becker's next chapter in life will be down to the man himself, but there are still many who feel he's continued to shift blame and deny wrongdoing on his own behalf. And, until he accepts his guilt, he's unlikely to be welcomed back into media circles and the tennis community.