Boris Becker: Who is the tennis star that has gone bankrupt?

Boris Becker is a household name in the tennis world. But with all the news about his jail sentence, some may be wondering who he is.

Boris Becker: Who is the tennis star gone bankrupt?
© Simon Bruty / Getty
Boris Becker: Who is the tennis star gone bankrupt?

Boris Becker, the German tennis star, is well known in the sporting world. However he is currently in the headlines for the wrong reasons. He is serving a two and a half year prison sentence for insolvency. Not everyone knows how Becker came to fame. Here’s a quick summary of his life.

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A young tennis star

Boris Becker rose to fame in July 1985 when he became the youngest man ever to win Wimbledon—he was 17. He was also the first unseeded player to win the tournament as reported by the BBC. After his first accomplishment, Becker went on to win 6 major tennis tournaments, including 3 Wimbledon titles, 2 Australian Opens and 1 US Open.

The Evening Standard reports that during Becker’s 16-year career, he won 49 championships and earned $25 million in tour money. The tennis star earned various nicknames, including ‘Boom Boom’, ‘Der Bomber’ and ‘Baron Von Slam’.

Boris Becker winning Winbledon in 1985 Steve Powell / Getty

Boris Becker announced his retirement from professional tennis in 2003. In his autobiography The Player, he said:

One thing I know is that the world will not allow me to just play tennis. It will not allow me to be No. 15 in the world. So I do it right or I don’t do it at all.

Life after tennis

After his retirement, Becker founded his own racquet and apparel manufacturing company. He also worked for the BBC as a Wimbledon analyst since 2002. In addition, Becker decided to become a proficient poker player and even competed in the European and World Poker Tours. By August 2008 the former tennis champion had earned over $100,000 in winning and was ranked 132,133rd in the Global Poker Index.

Between 2014 and 2016, Becker became Novak Djokovic’s tennis coach. With the help of Becker, Djokovic added 6 major wins to his achievements. The Serbian player told Zee News - a Dubai based media - in 2015:

I constantly learn something new from him from a psychological point of view, mostly because he had been in these situations before.
Boris Becker and Novak Djokovic at the Wimbledon Champions Dinner at the Royal Opera House on July 6, 2014 Karwai Tang/Getty
He understands what I go through, the challenges that I face, the obstacles that I need to overcome to win big titles and be number one in the world, because he was there.

His turbulent love life

Becker’s love life has been none other than interesting. He married Barbara Feltus, a designer and former actress and model, in 1993. Their marriage came to an abrupt end when the former tennis champion had a ‘quickie’ with Russian model Angela Ermakova.

The liaison happened in 1999 in London’s Nobu restaurant. At the time, Becker’s wife was pregnant with their second child. The reason this affair was so scandalous is also due to the fact that the model fell pregnant with his child.

As a result, Becker had to pay Angela Ermakova £2 million in maintenance. Becker and Feltus later divorce in 2001, costing him £11 million in cash as well as his main residence in Miami as well as £2 million in court fees, according to The Evening Standard.

Becker then married Lilly Sharlely Becker-Kerssenberg, a Dutch model. The couple then separated in 2018. Becker is now dating political risk analyst Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro.

Boris Becker and Lilly Becker ay of Roomers & IZAKAYA on October 12, 2017, Munich, Germany Gisela Schober / Getty

Boris Becker has four children, Noah Gabriel Becker, 28 and Elias Gabriel Becker, 22 with his ex-wife Feltus. Anna Ermakova, 22 with the Russian model Angela, and Amadeus Benedict Edley Luis Becker, 12 with ex-wife Lily.

Tax evasion to bankruptcy

Boris Becker has also had issues with the law. Indeed, the former tennis star was charged in 2002 for tax evasion and attempted tax invasion in Germany. The star had claimed he was residing in Monaco, while in reality, he was living in Germany.

Then, in 2017, Becker was declared bankrupt for an unpaid loan of over £3m on his Mallorcan home. He was ordered to disclose all of his assets. In May, Becker was convicted under the Insolvency Act after concealing over £2.5m from his bankruptcy trustees.

Boris Becker and girlfriend Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro at Southwark Crown Court, April 29, 2022 in London, England DeFodi Images / Getty

According to The Guardian, some of Becker's trophies had been auctioned off for £700,000 to help pay his debt. However, numerous trophies are yet to be found, including:

  • Two of his three Wimbledon men’s singles trophies
  • His 1992 Olympic gold medal
  • Australian Open trophies from 1991 and 1996
  • The President’s Cup from 1985 and 1989
  • His 1989 Davis Cup trophy
  • A Davis Cup gold coin that he won in 1988.

The former tennis champion was sentenced for insolvency on 29 April 2022.

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Boris Becker: The tennis star has had some very high profile love affairs Boris Becker: The tennis star has had some very high profile love affairs