Boris Becker goes on trial in London on Monday over charges relating to his bankruptcy — the latest twist in the former Wimbledon champion’s troubled post-playing career.
Becker will stand trial at Southwark Crown Court accused of concealing his Wimbledon and Australian Open trophies, several properties and around £1.8 million ($2.3 million).
The 54-year-old, a six-time Grand Slam singles champion, faces a maximum of seven years in prison if he is found guilty.
He is accused of removing hundreds of thousands of pounds by transferring it to other accounts, including to former wife Barbara Becker and estranged wife Sharlely Becker.
He denies seven charges of concealing property, two counts of removing property required by the receiver, five counts of failing to disclose details of his estate and one count of concealing debt.
Becker, who lives in London, will use an interpreter when giving evidence in a trial expected to last three weeks, even though his barrister admits his English is “very good”.
Aged just 17, Becker burst onto the scene in 1985 when he became Wimbledon’s youngest singles champion and the first unseeded player to lift the trophy at the All England Club.
– Steep decline –
Becker’s ferocious serve led to the nickname ‘Baby Boom Boom’ and ‘Der Bomber’.
His long chase to become world number one paid off in 1991 when he won the Australian Open for the first time, beating Lendl in the final to move to the top of the rankings.
Prone to emotional outbursts on the court, Becker frequently lost matches that were in his grasp and earned numerous fines for smashing his racquet.
By 1993, Becker was embroiled in tax problems with the German government, while his last Wimbledon final ended in defeat against Pete Sampras in 1995.
He kept in touch with tennis as a television commentator and served as Novak Djokovic’s coach from 2013 to 2016, helping the Serb successfully challenge Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s dominance.
Becker’s lawyer argued the role gave him diplomatic immunity from being pursued for further debt payments, but he later dropped the claim.
Becker was declared bankrupt five years ago, setting in motion a chain of events that leaves the tennis icon fighting to avoid a lengthy spell behind bars.