‘I was a nobody’: Boris Becker gives first interview since leaving UK prison | Boris Becker

Boris Becker has given his first interview since leaving prison in the UK and being deported back to Germany earlier this week, telling German viewers: “In prison I was a nobody.”

The former Wimbledon champion, appearing slimmed down and sporting a new hair color and style, told broadcaster Sat 1 that as an inmate he was not called by his first name, and “no one gave a shit” about his champion status.

But he said he had used his 231 days in prison to reflect on his life, and had rediscovered the “mensch” or human side to himself.

In excerpts published in the tabloid Bild, the tennis legend, who was jailed in April for two and a half years for concealing £2.5m of assets to avoid paying debts after he had been declared bankrupt, said the food in Wandsworth prison in London, where he had spent the first weeks, was bad and the portions too small, while leisure activities were few and far between. He also said there had been a lot of violence.


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The interview is to be broadcast this evening over two and a quarter hours from 8.15pm local time (1915 GMT).

Becker, 55, dressed in a black jacket and black T-shirt, said: “In prison you are a nobody. You are only a number. Mine was A2923EV. I wasn’t called Boris, I was a number. And nobody gives a shit who you are.”

Becker was transferred from Wandsworth to Huntercombe prison near Nuffield, Oxfordshire, in May.

Bild’s reporter said he cut a humbled figure, who had changed his hair color and lost weight. He described him as surprisingly composed.

“I believe I rediscovered the human in me, the person I once was,” he told interviewer Steven Gätjen. “I’ve learned a hard lesson. A very expensive one. A very painful one. But the whole thing has taught me something very important and worth while. And some things happen for a good reason.”

Asked about his excitement to be finally leaving the prison and coming home last Thursday, Becker said: “From six o’clock that morning I sat on the edge of my bed, and hoped that the cell door would open. They came to get me at 7.30am, unlocked the door and asked: ‘Are you ready?’ I said: ‘Let’s go!’ I had already packed everything beforehand.”

While in Huntercombe, which is low-security and used to detain criminals from abroad before their deportation, Becker was reported by Bild to have trained regularly in the prison gym and to have worked as an assistant alongside the prison coach, helping with other inmates’ fitness and psychology, drawing on his experience as a former world No. 1 tennis champion.

Becker’s son is still living in the UK. But under the terms of his release as a non-British citizen Becker himself has been banned from visiting the country for the next decade.

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