The life of former world tennis number 1 Boris Becker

·3-min read

Boris Franz Becker was born in Leimen, a town in north-west Germany, in 1967.

He began playing tennis at a young age with fellow tennis star and future world Number 1 Steffi Graf. Both of the pair are credited with making tennis a popular sport in the country.

Becker became a part of the German Tennis Federation in 1978 and turned pro in 1984.

Becker plays tennis as a teenager
Becker began playing tennis as a teenager (PA Archive)

A year later he won Wimbledon at the age of 17 after beating Kevin Curren and became a crowd favourite, affectionately nicknamed Boom Boom for his powerful ground strokes.

Becker was the only unseeded player and first German to do so at the time, as well as the youngest male to win. The title of the youngest male to win a Grand Slam tournament was later scooped from him by Michael Chang at the French Open four years later.

He won Wimbledon again a year later and in 1989, and was a finalist there in 1988, 1990, 1991, and 1995. He also helped his nation win the coveted Davis Cup in 1988 and 1989 and went on to win the Australian Open in 1991 and 1996.

Becker was ranked world number one in 1991 following his first Australian Open win.

Boris Becker wins at Wimbledon
He is seen with his Wimbledon trophy in 1985 (PA Archive)

The tennis star announced his retirement following a straight sets quarter final defeat against Pat Rafter in 1999. He went on to become a coach and became head coach for current world number 1 Novak Djokovic for three years from 2013.

During his 16-year professional tennis career, Becker was a six-time Grand Slam champion and collected 49 singles titles out of 77 finals.

He married Barbara Feltus in 1993 and the couple had two children – a son, Noah, who was born in 1994, and a daughter, Elias, born in 1999.

In December 2000 the couple announced they were separating. A year later, Becker was forced to concede that he was the father of Russian model Angela Ermakova’s daughter Anna following a High Court battle.

In 2002, Becker was convicted for tax evasion and attempted tax evasion in Germany.

Seven years later, he announced he was engaged to Dutch model Sharlely “Lilly” Kerssenberg. She gave birth in 2010 to a son, Amadeus. They announced their separation in 2018.

Becker watches Djokovic in 2014
Becker is seen watching Novak Djokovic in 2014 (John Walton/PA)

Becker, who has lived in the UK since 2012, continued to make headlines with reports of financial trouble after he was declared bankrupt in 2017.

Earlier this month he was convicted of four offences under the Insolvency Act between June 21 and October 3 2017.

Becker was found guilty of transferring hundreds of thousands of pounds from his business account and failing to declare a property in his home town of Leimen, Germany.

The BBC commentator was also convicted of hiding an 825,000 euro (almost £700,000) bank loan and 75,000 shares in a tech firm.

On Friday, he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years imprisonment, of which he will serve half, at Southwark Crown Court.

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