Boris Becker insists prison made him ‘stronger’ as he posts new year message from African beach just weeks after being released from jail over £2.5m bankruptcy fraud

  • Boris Becker credited prison with making him a ‘stronger person’ on Instagram
  • The 55-year-old tennis legend celebrated the New Year on an African island 
  • His early release from prison was marred by a fallout with a German influencer
  • Cathy Hummels, 34, insisted Becker should have served all of his 30-month term

Tennis legend Boris Becker has credited prison with making him a stronger person amid claims he has complained about a German celebrity who criticised his early release.

The 55-year-old ushered in the new year on a secluded beach on the island of São Tomé and Príncipe – the birthplace of his girlfriend Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro – off the west African coast.

He headed to the luxury destination a fortnight after being deported back to Germany following his release from prison, The Times reports.

In an Instagram video, Becker said: ‘I call this the most difficult year of my life.

‘But it’s done, it’s dusted. I came out alive; I think I came out stronger. I think my mental health is better than ever.’

Tennis legend Boris Becker has credited prison with making him a stronger person amid claims he has complained about a Germany celebrity who criticised his early release.

Boris Becker appears at Southwark Crown Court with partner Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro

Becker was found guilty of insolvency offences at Southwark Crown Court in April last year, after trying to hide assets of more than £2.5million to avoid paying debts.

He was sentenced to 30 months in prison but has served less than eight – first at Wandsworth prison, and later at HMP Huntercombe near Henley.

Under the terms of his release, Becker cannot return to the UK for several years and he has mentioned Miami and Dubai as possible destinations he may move to.

His return to Germany was marred by a public spat with social media influencer Cathy Hummels, 34, who is a friend of Becker’s estranged wife Lilly.

Hummels, in her S***storms podcast, insisted Becker should have served the full length of his sentence. ‘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 you 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.’

Becker has not responded publicly to the posts, but the Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported he has called for German prosecutors to investigate Hummels for criminal defamation after she made the posts.

Becker was declared bankrupt in June 2017, owing creditors almost £50million over an unpaid loan of more than £3million on his estate in Mallorca, Spain. 

The BBC pundit transferred around £390,000 from his business account to others, including those of his ex-wife Barbara Becker and estranged wife Sharlely ‘Lilly’ Becker.

He also failed to declare his share in a £1million property in his home town of Leimen, Germany, hid a bank loan of almost £700,000 – worth £1.1million with interest – and concealed 75,000 shares in a tech firm, valued at £66,000.

Becker – who got a two-year suspended sentence for tax evasion and attempted tax evasion worth £1.4million in Germany in 2002 – was found guilty on April 8 of four Insolvency Act offences between June and October 2017.

The rise and fall of a tennis legend: How Boris Becker went from Wimbledon teen sensation, to conceiving a child in a Mayfair restaurant, bankruptcy and prison

Few sports stars have ever hit the height of Boris Becker’s tennis careers – and none as young as the German ace.

Born in Leimen, West Germany, in 1967, Becker, the son of an architect father and a Czech immigrant mother, was thrust into the world of tennis from a young age.

His father founded a tennis centre in the town, where Becker honed his skills early on.

By the age of 10, in 1977, he was a member of the junior team of the Baden Tennis Association.

He went on to win the South German championship and the first German Youth Tennis Tournament. 

After winning funding for training from the German Tennis Federation, he turned professional at 16 in 1984, winning the Tennis World Young Masters at the NEC in Birmingham in 1985, before claiming victory at Queens in June.

In July 1985, aged 17, he entered Wimbledon as an unseeded player and took the tournament by storm, beating Kevin Curren by four sets in the final

Two weeks later, in July, aged 17, he entered Wimbledon as an unseeded player and took the tournament by storm, beating Kevin Curren by four sets in the final. 

At just 17 years and 228 days old he became the youngest men’s singles champion at SW19 – and immediately became a household name.

The following year he defend his title, beating then world number one Ivan Lendl to secure back-to-back Wimbledon titles.

He appeared in 77 finals and won 49 singles titles during his 16 years as a tennis pro.

But by 1993, facing criticism over his marriage to wife Barbara and tax problems with the German government, had caused Becker to slide into a severe mid-career decline.

In 1997, Becker lost to Sampras in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. After that match, he vowed that he would never play at Wimbledon again.

However he returned one more time to the prestigious west London tennis club, in 1999, this time losing in the fourth round to Patrick Rafter.

Off the court, his personal troubles continued. He had to pay £2.4million after he fathered a daughter, named Anna, with a Russian model while married to wife Barbara.

That incident took place after he crashed out of Wimbledon to Rafter in 1999 and decided to retire from the sport, aged 31.

Becker, in his 2003 autobiography, Stay A Moment Longer, revealed how he ‘cried my eyes out’ and felt the need to go out for a few beers with friends.

However his then wife Barbara, seven months’ pregnant with their second son, wanted him to stay at their hotel with her. 

But by 1993, facing criticism over his marriage to wife Barbara and tax problems with the German government, had caused Becker to slide into a severe mid-career decline 

‘She couldn’t and wouldn’t understand that she suddenly wasn’t first in my priorities,’ said Becker. 

‘I said, ‘Just once more with the lads, Barbara, just once more to say farewell and then it’s only you’. That didn’t work. We rowed for two whole hours. Suddenly she was in pain and decided to check into hospital.;

Becker said he told his wife to call him if the baby was really on the way, then hit the town.

By 11pm he was at the bar in Mayfair’s Nobu and spotted Russian model Angela Ermakowa. The pair had sex on the staircase in the London outpost. 

The following February his secretary handed him a fax in his Munich office. It read: ‘Dear Herr Becker, We met in Nobu in London. The result of that meeting is now eight months old.’ 

He later split from his first wife Barbara Feltus, a divorce which is estimated to have cost him more than £15million, as well as their home in Miami. 

Becker found a new post-tennis purpose soon after, joining the BBC for its annual coverage of Wimbledon – to great success.

But his personal problems continued. He had a short engagement to Alessandra Meyer-Wölden in 2008, before announcing that he and Dutch model Sharlely ‘Lilly’ Kerssenberg would marry in 2009.

After nine years of marriage, and a child, Becker’s fourth, the pair split in 2018. 

A year earlier, Becker had been declared bankrupt in June 2017 over an unpaid loan of more than £3million on his estate in Mallorca, Spain.

His former business partner, Hans-Dieter Cleven, also claimed that the former tennis ace owed him more than £30million – though the case that was rejected by a Swiss court.

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