When Boris Becker turned up to court for his sentencing hearing, it was impossible not to notice one poignant detail in the tennis star’s outfit.
Boris Becker seemed to be making a fashion statement of a very unique kind when he suited up ahead of his sentencing hearing.
The tennis legend was jailed for two-and-a-half years on Saturday (AEST) after being found guilty by a British court of charges relating to his 2017 bankruptcy.
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The six-time Grand Slam champion will serve half of the term, having being convicted at Southwark Crown Court in London over his transfer of huge amounts of money from his business account to hide funds and assets from debt collectors.
A baby-faced Becker burst onto the scene by winning Wimbledon as a 17-year-old in 1985, beginning a love affair with the All England Club that would also see him hold the trophy aloft in London in 1986 and 1989.
He won three more majors — one French Open and two Australian Opens — but Becker’s name will forever be synonymous with Wimbledon and the booming serve that dominated on grass at SW19.
Perhaps that’s why the German wore a striped purple and green tie — the distinct Wimbledon colours — to court.
The choice of tie was noticed by many on social media and was mentioned in news reports from around the world. You can take away his freedom, but you can’t take away his achievements on the most famous centre court in tennis, it appeared to be saying.
In a sign of his sad fall from grace, The Sunreports Becker clutched a Puma duffel bag packed with clothes and belongings for his time behind bars, in anticipation of the jail sentence that awaited him.
At times, Becker’s Wimbledon triumphs were a focal point of his trial. He was accused of failing to hand over nine trophies, including two of his three Wimbledon titles, to avoid repaying his debts — but was acquitted of those nine counts.
He told jurors he did not know the whereabouts of several pieces of silverware, including his first Wimbledon trophy.
The 54-year-old was found guilty of four charges under the UK’s Insolvency Act and cleared of 20 other counts. He was convicted of hiding around $4.4 million in assets from debt collectors.
He held hands with his partner Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro as he walked into court past a bank of waiting reporters and cameras. The couple then shared an emotional embrace before Becker was sent to prison.
During her sentencing, Judge Deborah Taylor told Becker: “You have not shown remorse, acceptance of your guilt and have sought to distance yourself from your offending and your bankruptcy.
“While I accept your humiliation as part of the proceedings, there has been no humility.” Judge Taylor said Becker’s previous conviction in Germany for tax offences was “a significant aggravating factor”.
During his trial Becker said he earned a “vast amount” during his career, with the court hearing he won some $70 million in prize money and sponsorship deals. But he told the jury how his earnings were swallowed up by a costly divorce from his first wife, child maintenance payments and “expensive lifestyle commitments”.
Becker said he was “shocked” and “embarrassed” when he was declared bankrupt in June 2017 over an unpaid loan of more than $5 million on his estate in Mallorca, Spain.
The German, who has lived in Britain since 2012, said he had co-operated with trustees trying to secure his assets, even offering his wedding ring, and relied on the advisers who managed his life away from tennis.
But the former player, who was supported in court by his partner and eldest son Noah, was found guilty of four charges.