Breaking Down the Action:
  • Double Fault Sees Becker Jailed
  • Excess and Deception
  • Advantage Becker in Poker Terms?

5 Minute Read

Boris Becker has won three Wimbledon titles and six Grand Slams. He'll spend over two yers in prison.

The former tennis world number one and three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker has been sentenced to two and a half years in jail for concealing debt, property, and other assets after being declared bankrupt.

Having been a poker ambassador for both PokerStars and partypoker in his time, the 1985, 1986, and 1989 Wimbledon champ, aged 54, was found guilty of multiple counts of failing to disclose money that he has to his name after being declared bankrupt five years ago.

Double Fault Sees Becker Jailed

“It is notable you have not shown remorse or acceptance of your guilt.”

Boris Becker is a name synonymous with success, but this latest stain on his character will be hard to shift. Becker’s reputation, so commonly attached to sporting greatness, will not suffer in that regard. But the tennis legend, who has also coached Novak Djokovic to six of his 20 grand slam victories, has always had a private life that has been lived in the spotlight. While he may have been expected by few to reach the heights of playing heads-up for hundreds of thousands of dollars in Las Vegas, Becker was, briefly, capable of the kind of poker powerplays that he regularly delivered on the court.

Becker’s lifestyle, noted as being ‘lavish’ during court proceedings, was, in the eyes of prosecutors, his downfall. Spending more money than is being earned is the plight of millions worldwide, but for someone who reportedly earned approximately $50 million in his sporting and ost-sporting careers, it is shocking to many that those funds have been lost.

Sentencing Becker to two and half years, with half of that time being served on a license, the presiding Judge Deborah Taylor said, “It is notable you have not shown remorse or acceptance of your guilt. There has been no humility.” As she handed down the sentence. Becker’s lack of admittance in the case is perhaps the most damning point he has ever conceded, and prison time will be a harsh lesson for the man who made grass courts in particular his playground.

Excess and Deception

Tennis and poker player Boris Becker

Former tennis player Boris Becker arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London, Friday, April 29, 2022. Becker was found guilty earlier of dodging his obligation to disclose financial information to settle his debts. Tennis great Boris Becker has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for illicitly transferring large amounts of money and hiding assets after he was declared bankrupt. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Having been declared bankrupt in 2017, Becker, who won six tennis grand slam titles in his spectacular career, took bankruptcy in that year due to an unpaid loan of around $5 million on his Mallorcan estate. So how could he not pay that amount given his earnings were well in excess of ten times that amount? Put simply, familial issues.

The divorce from his first wife Barbara took a large amount of Becker’s capital out of the equation, and since then, child support payments and his lavish lifestyle did the rest. Becker, so often the most attacking player in a tennis tournament, could not hold back and reign in his spending and has paid the ultimate price.

Going bankrupt, of course, would not necessarily have landed him in jail, however, Becker concealed the remaining wealth he had rather than settling his debts and starting again. It is that which has set him on the path to penance.

Transferring hundreds of thousands from his business account to personal accounts, Becker, Germany’s most successful tennis player of all time, did not declare a property he owned in the Leimen area of his homeland, his birthplace, as well as hiding a bank loan worth $850,000, and 75,000 shares in a tech company.

Advantage Becker in Poker Terms?

Twice in his enthralling life story, Boris Becker has begun new chapters by becoming an ambassador for poker brands. Ten years apart, Becker was 39 when he signed to PokerStars in 2007 and to partypoker in 2017. Each time, he spoke of the similarities between tennis and poker. He told this reporter in a 2017 interview exclusive that he knew “my weaknesses and my strengths, my qualities, and my failings”. Can Becker use those learnings and this lesson to forge a future that includes poker? Certainly, the game is open to accepting entries in poker tournaments from those with a questionable past. Poker is a game that is, to a large degree, ripe for redemption stories.

Becker may be unlikely to walk into a major sponsorship deal, but should he need it? The man from Germany who became a Wimbledon champion as a teenage wildcard is capable of winning from nowhere and has cashed for over $111,416 in his career.

Could poker provide a stable route to a comeback for the popular former Wimbledon legend? Time will tell. Becker will be spending at most two and a half years behind bars, but what happens upon release will dictate the next chapter of a career and life that remains extraordinary to many, even in adversity.

James Guill

James Guill is a former professional poker player who writes fro about poker, sports, casinos, gaming legislation and the online gambling industry in general. His past experience includes working with IveyPoker, PokerNews, PokerJunkie, Bwin, and the Ongame Network. From 2006-2009 he participated in multiple tournaments including the 37th and 38th World Series of Poker (WSOP). James lives in Virgina and he has a side business where he picks and sells vintage and antique items.

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