McEnroe announces prison visit: Wimbledon without Boris Becker is “appalling”

McEnroe announces jail visit
Wimbledon without Boris Becker is “appalling”

Boris Becker is unthinkable without Wimbledon – and vice versa. This year, the fallen tennis icon is missing after his prison sentence. The ex-colleagues support him publicly before the start of the lawn classic. One of them is planning something special.

Of course, Wimbledon is not entirely without Boris Becker. To mark the 100th anniversary of the move to the legendary Church Road, the organizers of the grass classic are giving away digital works of art with iconic images from the tournament’s history. There is also the “German brilliance”, the German brilliance, as Becker’s photo of his sensational title win in 1985 at the age of 17 is captioned.

Tennis fans at the All England Lawn Tennis Club will have to do without the real version this year. Huntercombe prison instead of a sporty living room: 70 kilometers west of the London district of Nuffield, Becker is serving his sentence for insolvency offenses and is sorely missed by companions at the site of his greatest triumphs. “Of course, Boris is missing when Wimbledon takes place and he’s not there,” says his former Davis Cup teammate Patrik Kuehnen, who accompanies the tournament that starts on Monday as a Sky expert.

Wimbledon without Becker is like the UK without the Queen

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John McEnroe (left) and Boris Becker are friends.

(Photo: picture alliance / dpa)

Few terms have been as intertwined as Becker and Wimbledon for 37 years: triumphed three times as a player, Novak Djokovic led to the title as a coach, long-time tennis explainer at the BBC. In his chosen homeland, Becker has been highly valued as a TV expert during the Wimbledon weeks since 2002. The TV broadcaster leaves open whether the 54-year-old will really return to the screen after his release. “Boris will not be part of this year’s broadcast and no decision has been made about the future,” a BBC spokeswoman said.

The desire to watch a legend fall is also evident in England. When commentator Andrew Castle addressed Becker directly during a broadcast last week with the words “Boris, we look forward to welcoming you back on your return”, British tabloids gleefully presented angry comments from Internet users. At the end of April, Becker was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, the second half of which is expected to be suspended. He had concealed assets worth millions from his insolvency administrators.

Ex-colleagues stand by Boris

However, Becker can still be sure of the public support of his ex-colleagues. “Boris is a friend of mine, it’s just horrible,” said three-time Wimbledon champion John McEnroe. “He always told me it’ll be okay, it’s under control. This is Boris, he was a very confident player on the pitch. But sometimes you’re not necessarily a great investor.”

Like Becker, the American McEnroe has been a long-time player for the BBC at Wimbledon and has announced a possible visit to his former adversary. “I want to see him if I can, if he wants or can see people.”

It can be considered certain that Becker will at least continue to pursue his sport from prison. Most recently, Alexander Zverev’s brother Mischa reported on recovery wishes for the German tennis star, who was seriously injured at the French Open. It will be a while before Becker himself is back in the limelight. Even an early suspension of probation after 15 months would be too late for a visit to Wimbledon in 2023.

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