BERLIN: Former tennis the star boris Becker said he was counting on “blood brothers” to protect him in a British prison and said his life had been threatened twice in his first interview since his release.
The 55-year-old German was deported to Germany after being released last week after serving eight months of a two-and-a-half-year sentence for flouting insolvency rules by hiding £2.5 million ($3.1 million) in assets and loans to avoid paying debts.
He had been declared bankrupt in June 2017, owing creditors £50m on an unpaid loan of more than £3m on his property on the Spanish island of Mallorca.
In an often moving three-hour interview with German broadcaster Sat.1, the former tennis world number one said the nights at Wandsworth Prison – not far from where he won the Wimbledon title at three retakes – were “excruciating”.
He said he was lucky to have formed a close bond with a group of inmates he called “blood brothers” because two prisoners he called “John” and “Ike” had him. repeatedly threatened.
‘John’, serving a 25-year sentence for multiple murders, threatened to hurt him if he didn’t give him money.
“Ike” got it on his own and Becker says 10 prisoners “saved my life” by saving him when he screamed.
“And then the next day Ike asked me if I would accept his apology,” Becker said.
“I could have rejected it.
“I met him in the laundry room. He threw himself on the floor and asked for my forgiveness.
“I lifted him to his feet and kissed him.
“And I told him I had a lot of respect for him,” Becker added in tears.
Becker says he would stay in touch with those who protected him.
“When you’ve fought to survive together, it brings you together,” he said.
“We needed each other.”
Becker says the sound of the cell door closing will stay with him for the rest of his life.
“When the cell door closes, then there’s nothing left. The loneliest moment I’ve had in my life.”
“The nights have been terrible.
“You could hear the screams of people trying to kill themselves or hurt themselves, and people exchanging swear words.
“You do not sleep.”
He described the prison as “extremely dirty and extremely dangerous…there were murderers, child abusers, drug dealers, every kind of criminal you can imagine.”
The six-time Grand Slam champion claims it took the German ambassador to intervene to get an international phone card so he could contact his 87-year-old mother Elvira and other family members in the stranger.
Gradually his conditions improved, he taught English and maths to a class of 30 inmates, then was moved to Huntercombe lower security prison near Oxford in southern England.
However, the governor refused to allow his friend and fellow Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp to visit him.
“Jürgen Klopp and Johannes B. Kerner (German TV presenter) – they wanted to visit me in Huntercombe prison,” he said.
“So I gave the names – but the governor said, ‘Jurgen is not allowed to visit you, he’s too well known. We’re worried about his safety. So we have to dismiss that.'”
Becker qualified for deportation after being released as a non-British citizen and given a custodial sentence of over 12 months.
Becker says a friend chartered a private plane to fly him to Stuttgart once they knew he would be released and went to live with a married couple near Heidelberg, not far from his hometown of Leimen .
“Then I drank my first beer,” he said.
“Believe me, it was the best beer of my life.”
Becker said the traumatic saga had taught him lessons and that prison was the final step on his path to becoming a “smarter, more humble” man.
As for what the future holds and where he will live, Becker said it is unlikely to be Germany.
“I can’t say where I’m going now,” he said.
“I don’t think it will be Germany. I don’t know if I will stay in Europe, maybe in Miami. I’m also a big fan of Dubai.
“I have become cautious with my statements about the future.”



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