Former tennis superstar Boris Becker was flying to Germany on Thursday after being released from a British prison where he served a 2017 bankruptcy-related sentence, his lawyer said.
The 55-year-old German six-time Grand Slam champion “was released from custody in England and has today left for Germany,” his Berlin-based lawyer Christian-Oliver Moser said in a statement.
He added that Becker “has served his sentence and is not subject to any penal sanctions in Germany”.
Moser declined to provide information on where Baker would be arriving and said that any requests for an interview “will not be answered”.
The German national baker was jailed for two and a half years in April for breaching bankruptcy rules by hiding assets and debts of €2.5 million ($3.1 million) to avoid paying debts.
He was declared bankrupt in June 2017, owing creditors £50 million over unpaid debts of more than £3 million on his property on the Spanish island of Majorca.
A judge at Southwark Crown Court in south London told Baker, who has lived in the UK since 2012, he would serve half his sentence in prison. However, he was released on Thursday morning.
Baker was initially reported to be held at Wandsworth Prison in south-west London, near the All England Club at Wimbledon, where he had won three titles.
He was then transferred to the lower-security Huntercombe prison near Oxford in southern England for foreign criminals awaiting deportation.
Baker was eligible for removal because he was not a British citizen and had received a custodial sentence of more than 12 months.
The Sun newspaper said on Tuesday that Baker’s mother Elvira, 87, told a friend that her son’s release from prison was “the best Christmas present I could wish for”.
“I can’t wait to hold my darling son in my arms,” she was quoted as saying.
Media reports suggested he would be staying with friends in Frankfurt.
– Downfall –
During his trial, Baker described how his costly divorce from his first wife Barbara, child support payments and an expensive lifestyle swallowed up his career earnings.
He said he was “shocked” and “ashamed” when he was declared bankrupt and had relied on advisers to manage his life outside tennis.
But he insisted he has cooperated with trustees trying to secure his assets.
Judge Deborah Taylor disagreed, saying he had shown no remorse or admitted his guilt.
“You … have tried to distance yourself from your humiliation and your bankruptcy. While I accept your humiliation as part of the proceedings, there is no humility,” she said.
Baker rocked the tennis world in 1985 with a shock of strawberry-blond hair when he became Wimbledon’s youngest men’s singles champion at age 17.
Nicknamed “Boom Boom” Baker for his ferocious serve, he repeated the feat the following year and won a third title in 1989.
He also won the Australian Open and the US Open twice during his illustrious career, becoming the world’s top-ranked player in 1991.
He took up a high-profile commentary role with the BBC following his retirement, but returned to the court in 2013, coaching Novak Djokovic.
On Wednesday, excerpts were released from a new Apple TV+ documentary on Baker from the time of his very public fallout.
Just before sentencing, an emotional Baker admitted he had hit rock bottom. “I don’t know what to make of it,” he said.
But added: “I will face it. I am not going to hide or run. Whatever punishment I am going to get, I will accept it.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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