Boris Becker has recalled the moment he was caught in an “altercation” with a convicted murderer in prison. The German tennis legend spent eight months incarcerated in London before he was deported in December. And he revealed that the criminal kissed his hand after misjudging how popular Becker was with his fellow inmates.
Becker hit headlines when he was thrown into prison last year after being found guilty of four charges relating to his bankruptcy. The former world No 1 was sentenced to 30 months in prison but spent just eight months inside before he was deported back to Germany under a fast-track scheme for foreign criminals.
The six-time Grand Slam champion has since shared some harrowing details from his time behind bars – including being referred to as a “number”. And he has now opened up on one of his most dangerous moments which came when a convicted murderer threatened his life.
“He tried to come after me, he told me all the things he’d do to me,” Becker told The Telegraph. The German then said he shouted for help and was saved when a group of around 10 prisoners came to his rescue.
The 55-year-old claimed that the murderer had underestimated his popularity with the prison’s black inmates, and that he later begged for forgiveness and kissed Becker’s hand. “‘Humbling’ is one word for it,” Becker said of the incident.
“What it is, is your reality. You don’t have time to question whether it’s ‘humbling’ or not. It’s do or die, literally.” And it wasn’t the only time Becker encountered a murderer in prison, as he worked with criminals after getting a job as a personal trainer at the gym.
As part of his role, the former coach of Novak Djokovic helped the head of the gym – who happened to also teach Stoicism. “One of the things you must learn inside, and quickly, is the word acceptance,” Becker explained.
“You have to accept your verdict, accept your time, accept where you are. The only thing you can be the master of is your mind. I managed. I think my tennis life helped. I was probably a Stoic when I was playing, without knowing it.”
And he revealed that the job came with extra pressure given the criminals he was working with, saying he could suffer if he didn’t get it right. “Now, I wasn’t dealing with normal students, I was dealing with criminals: murderers, rapists, people smugglers. Not an easy bunch. So you’d better be very authentic and credible… otherwise you could be in for a whooping,” Becker said.