By Manuel Sánchez Gómez
London, May 3 (EFE).- Although separated by just a few kilometers, Wimbledon’s Centre Court and HMP Wandsworth are worlds apart for Boris Becker, as the German former tennis ace prepares to serve half of his 30 month sentence at one of England’s most notorious prisons, infamous for its high-levels of violence and woeful conditions.
The German tennis legend, who won Wimbledon three times, fell from grace in his post-retirement era and was recently found guilty and sentenced to prison for hiding assets and loans worth 2.5 million pounds to avoid paying debts during his 2017 bankruptcy.
The 54-year-old will swap in a life of luxury for a stint at Wandsworth along with 1,300 other inmates. The prison is widely regarded by the British tabloid press as one of the worst in England.
In his annual report, chief inspector of prisons Charlie Taylor noted that inmates spend more than 22 hours in their cells each day, that between 2020/21 there was at least one fight per day and that guards had to use force 1,295 times, almost four times a day.
Added to this were reports of overcrowding and infestations of rats and insects.
Novak Djokovic, who was coached by Becker between 2013-16, said ahead of the Madrid Open that he was “heartbroken” for the six-time Grand Slam winner.
“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,” the Serb added.
Andy Murray, who won Wimbledon in 2013 and 2016, was less moved.
“I hope he’s okay and that he learns from his mistakes, but I didn’t have a particular emotion about it.”
Becker will have to be integrated into the prison before joining the general population.
After six weeks, he will be eligible to pick up a job at the prison and, after 10 months, be released on parole. EFE