Former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker could work as a gym instructor in prison after he was slapped with a two-and-a-half year jail term for hiding £2.5million of assets and loans to avoid paying his debts.
Becker, 54, arrived at HMP Wandsworth on Friday, a category B prison just 2.4 miles from Centre Court where he won three tennis titles after receiving his 30-month sentence – of which he will likely serve just half – at Southwark Crown Court earlier in the day.
A former governor of the prison said the disgraced tennis star would make a good gym instructor, should he be interested in taking on a working role while in jail.
Jerry Petherick told The Sun: ‘Gyms are very popular in prisons – it’s a job a lot of prisoners want.’
But it is unlikely that Becker will be able to step into such a role any time soon.
New inmates taken into Wandsworth prison are forced to remain in the lockup’s ‘induction wing’ for seven to ten days upon arrival due to ongoing Covid restrictions.
Becker may then be transferred to general population, but new inmates would typically need to be in the prison for at least six weeks, showing good behaviour, before being considered for worker roles.
Wandsworth is also a remand prison used to temporarily detain criminals who are later transferred to serve their sentences elsewhere, meaning the likelihood of Becker serving the entirety of his jail-term there is slim.
Boris Becker arriving at Southwark Crown Court on April 29, 2022 in London, England. Six-time Grand Slam Tennis Champion Boris Becker was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison after being found guilty of four charges under the Insolvency Act relating to his bankruptcy in 2017
The main entrance to HMP Wandsworth, London, United Kingdom. HMP Wandsworth in South West London was built in 1851 and is one of the largest prisons in Western Europe. It has a capacity of roughly 1500 prisoners, but is known for being in poor condition and being infested with rats
Boris, pictured in June 1993 at Wimbledon, just 2.4 miles from his cell in Wandsworth Prison, was declared bankrupt in June 2017, owing creditors almost £50million over an unpaid loan of more than £3million on his estate in Mallorca, Spain
The former Wimbledon Tennis champion Boris Becker won three grand slam titles on Centre Court (Becker pictured at 17 in 1985)
The ex-pro sportsman was found to have hidden £2.5million worth of assets and loans to avoid paying his debts, and on Friday begun his sentence of which he has to serve a minimum of one year and three months.
He was declared bankrupt in June 2017, owing creditors almost £50million over an unpaid loan of more than £3million on his estate in Mallorca, Spain.
He transferred around £390,000 from his business account to others, including those of his ex-wife Barbara Becker and estranged wife Sharlely ‘Lilly’ Becker.
Becker also failed to declare his share in a £1million property in his home town of Leimen, Germany, hid a bank loan of almost £700,000 – worth £1.1million with interest – and concealed 75,000 shares in a tech firm, valued at £66,000.
The 54-year-old, who got a two-year suspended sentence for tax evasion and attempted tax evasion worth £1.4million in Germany in 2002, was found guilty on April 8 of four Insolvency Act offences between June and October 2017.
Each count carried a maximum sentence of seven years in prison. On Friday afternoon, Judge Deborah Taylor sentenced the six-time Grand Slam champion to 30 months’ imprisonment, of which he will serve at least half.
Wandsworth Prison is a Category B secure jail that can accommodate over 1,500 inmates. In a recent inspection, the institution was described as ‘crumbling, overcrowded and vermin infested’.
Friends and close contacts of the former tennis star have reacted with concern to him being jailed, with his biographer questioning whether he will ‘survive mentally’ and a German TV star saying he ‘must take responsibility’ for his actions.
After Becker was sentenced, Christian Schommers, who wrote a biography on the tennis legend, said he was worried about him.
The 50-year-old told the German newspaper Bild last night: ‘Will he survive mentally, being in prison for a year and three months? It’s really, really bad!’
Joachim Llambi, a star of German television series Just Dance, told the same newspaper: ‘I find that very sad. He is a legend in Germany. But the court found that something was not as it should have been. Then he has to take responsibility for it.’
Becker remained high profile following retirement through his work as a TV pundit and as a successful coach of Djokovic for three years from December 2013.
Novak Djokovic has spoken of his heartbreak at the jailing of former coach Boris Becker
The German was Djokovic’s coach for a successful three-year stint from December 2013
Speaking ahead of the Madrid Open to reporters in the Spanish capital, Djokovic said: ‘Just heartbroken for him. He’s a friend, a long-time friend, a coach for three, four years, someone I consider close in my life and has contributed a lot to my success in my career.
‘I’m not going to get into details of the verdict, because I’m not in a position to do that, but, as his friend, I’m super sad for him. It’s not much that you can say.
‘I just hope he will go through this period that he has to be in jail and that when he comes out he’s able to live his life – I don’t know if we’ll use the word ‘normal’ because life is definitely changing for anybody going to prison, especially for that long of a time.