Why the world owes many debts to Boris Franz Becker

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

Former tennis player Boris Becker arriving with his partner Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro (not pictured) at Southwark Crown Court to face sentencing after being found guilty of four charges earlier this month, in London, Britain, April 29, 2022. (Image: Reuters)

Boris Franz Becker’s list of achievements as a sportsman is long and illustrious, but now he is in jail after an adverse sentence pronounced by a London court. The once top-seeded tennis star has started his prison term at Wandsworth prison, just a couple of miles from the Wimbledon Centre Court where he won three of his six Grand Slam titles. Newspapers have written obituaries of Becker’s glorious sports career, his family have called the jail term ‘unfair’, and his friend Piers Morgan, Britain’s mercurial television man, has said how much he is going to miss his favourite pal.

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

Does it still matter that he is one of the living legends the world has seen since the 1980s? If one cuts out the public mayhem over his fall for a minute and revisits history, the answer is a resounding yes. Becker is bankrupt and he owes a lot of people a lot of money. Worse, he evaded tax and lied about his earnings, but his former wife Lily Becker has already asked: “Has he killed anybody?”

Moving beyond the emotionally charged reactions to Becker’s road to perdition, the Germany-born tennis icon’s contributions to the sport and to his country of birth still tower over everything else. Becker is now 54 years old and well past his prime as a sportsman, but his contributions to the sport were not a mere flash in the pan – they constituted a series of astounding victories between the 1980s and the 2000s, tied closely to the evolution of the sport in both Germany and the UK, his country of birth and the country he chose to live in.

Global Tech News Daily

Until the appearance of Becker on a tennis court, tennis in Germany was a fringe sport, reserved as pastime for the upper classes. It was neither part of the popular culture, nor covered in the media. It’s true that Michael Stitch became a world-class player during the same period – the so called “golden age” of German Tennis that lasted until the 1990s – but he was never regarded as a figure of national importance. Becker, born and raised in Leimen close to Heidelberg, changed that and filled the public hunger for a national hero in post-war Germany reeling from the shame of the Auschwitz (the concentration camps).

When Helmut Kohl became the German Chancellor in 1982, he made deliberate efforts to construct a national identity in Germany that made a clear break from its painful past. At this time, the German leisure industry boomed, then culture and media industry grew in economic importance, and the spread of consumerism widened. All these coincided with the development of sports and electronic media, ushering in the era of private broadcasting.

Global Tech News Daily

Becker’s phenomenal success triggered a tennis boom and private broadcasters benefitted from it. It made him part of a media revolution in Germany in the second-half of the 1980s and catalysed greater public engagement with private television, something that hadn’t happened before. For instance, when Arthur Ashe beat Jimmy Connors in the Wimbledon Final in 1975, ARD, the most important public broadcaster in Germany, switched after an hour to a popular children’s programme to garner higher audience ratings. The same happened during the classic 1980 Wimbledon Final between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe.

Public interest in the game soared when Boris Becker won the Wimbledon Final in 1985. Beating Kevin Curren at the age of 17 not only made him the youngest tennis champion, he also became one of the most popular Germans overnight. Regarded as a pop-cultural icon right from the start, Becker turned into an international and cosmopolitan figure. He went on to defend his Wimbledon title in 1986 by beating Ivan Lendl in straight sets, and many wins thereafter – six Grand Slam titles, including three Wimbledon titles, a cabinet packed with trophies and a $47 million fortune in prize money and sponsorship deals. The German tabloid press called him ‘Boom Boom Boris’, a reference to his powerful service and forehand.

His success brought about fundamental changes in the German sporting world, its socio-cultural milieu and in the contours of its national politics. Germans grew their sporting pride beyond football, widely considered joyless and conservative at the time, to be taken in by tennis which now had a young and hardworking star. When he played the Davis Cup, Germans stayed up all night to watch his matches. In his success, Becker married the youthfulness of his game with conservative charm. On the court, he was aggressive; off the court, he was the advertising hero for German conservative institutions such as the Deutsche Bank and the car company Opel. He became a global ambassador of the new Germany, a responsibility he carried well. In the 1987 match at Hartford, USA, often referred to as the Battle of Hartford, Becker acted as a true-blue German patriot, waving the German flag. That image in history is one of the most iconic images linking him to the newfound idea of a vibrant new Germany.

And then, he moved away from Germany post-retirement and set up home in Wimbledon in the UK, where tennis has a historical and deep tradition.

What really happened?

Two events might explain, though to what extent they impacted his move to the UK isn’t clear: Becker was convicted of tax evasion in Germany in 2012, which dented his reputation in his home country severely. As a national icon, his private life had received intense scrutiny, often unfairly. His marriage, divorces, business ventures and television punditry were scorned in his country of birth. For instance, his first marriage to Barbara Feltus – a German national whose father was of African-American origin – was widely mocked in Germany’s national press and attracted negative public opinion. In one of his regular fee-paying appearances on celebrity TV shows, he was ridiculed for wearing a helmet and fly swats that were taped to his head for several hours. More recently, his participation in the Black Lives Matter movement was trolled in German social media. A series of political blunders have played their part too: He played in South Africa during the apartheid and lost his title as a UNICEF ambassador. He then made some controversial remarks about fans and national socialism in Germany, which received a strong public backlash.

Becker ran out of favour fast. He struggled to cope and it was evident in the choices he made off court and in the self-staging of himself as a constant rebel. In one of his many angry outbursts on court, he flew off the handle at the Australian Open in 1987, spitting at the umpire and smashing his racket. He reportedly became addicted to sleeping pills, alcohol, and arguably, women. Over the years, he’s also had a string of failed business ventures. His romantic relations and sex life – including his infamous one-night stand with a Russian model which resulted in the birth of a child – were constant fodder for the media. In Germany, his image went from being a national icon to someone unable to grow up.

Interestingly, his peer Steffi Graf managed to avoid the same public scrutiny, though her father Peter Graf was convicted of financial misdemeanours and imprisoned in 1997. While Graf became a symbol of good behaviour, a law-abiding German citizen embodying the typical German values, Becker was constantly put under the scanner for his very public, very ostentatious lifestyle. In one of his interviews with Süddeutsche Zeitung, one of the largest newspapers in Germany, he is reported to have said that he “always had the feeling I was misunderstood”.

In England, though, he became a celebrated star. Becker served as a sports pundit for the BBC for Wimbledon, and also made efforts to reinvent himself in Germany by coaching Novac Djokovic for six of his grand slam wins. He often said he felt respected and at home in the UK. In an interview with British magazine Radio in 2015, he is quoted to have said: ‘’UK is my home now. In Germany, I have no privacy. (Here) I am given space…. I am not national property.’’

Somewhat developing a status as Britain’s adopted son, Becker’s private life caught up with him soon. Things went downhill after 2017 when he was declared bankrupt over an unpaid loan of nearly $4 million on his estate in Mallorca, Spain. Now, he has been convicted of fraud. German media coverage of him has oscillated between harsh and indifferent, carrying superimposed images of him against the backdrop of the gloomy Victorian prison.

“What now awaits him is brutal,” wrote Stefanie Bolzen, the London correspondent of Die Welt. “He could have averted this tragedy,” Der Spiegel, the German weekly, said, “but he was not prepared to show any real remorse, or humility towards his creditors … at the very least he should have shown that he had learned from his mistakes.” His former friends and sportsmen have expressed shock and regret. The German tennis federation, DTB, has said it will “stand by” him. Meanwhile, the UK media has reported that the incarcerated star could face deportation after he is released from the prison as he is still not a British citizen.

It’s true these are the worst of times for Boris Becker, now visibly condemned by both his country of birth and the country of residence. But will it be all it takes to erase a historic legacy?

The enduring myth around Boris Becker – that you can achieve your goals by strong will and fighting spirit – continues to inspire generations of sportsmen after him around the world. It’s true that with the successes of Becker (and Graf) paved the way for what followed in German sport – Michael Schumacher in Formula One and Jan Ullrich in cycling. Becker’s resilience and capacity for playing fast paced, high energy games and his remarkable athleticism, have spawned several sport inventions of its kind – the Becker lunge and other trademarks such as the Becker-Sage (a saw motion fist pump) or the Becker-Blocker (an early return shot).

Above all, Becker contributed to the making of a modern German identity which helped it move past the holocaust. Since the end of the second world war, West Germany pursued a policy of low key, low visibility national identity. Becker was able to transcend this. After the breach of berlin wall in 1989, he became symbol of a unified Germany. In all his transitions as a global sports icon from Germany, he did more for his country of birth than any sportsman in its history. In making the UK his home, he was simply running away from the often-toxic media scrutiny of his life in Germany as a national icon.

Today, he is in a prison cell, lying diminished, and can no longer run away – from ignominy and massive debts. But to Boris Franz Becker, the sports star, the world, particularly his country of birth, still owes many debts.

News Related

OTHER NEWS

Meta laid her off just days before she was due to join. See her viral post

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, posted its slowest revenue growth in years. In a widely-shared LinkedIn post, Stephanie Washington has recounted how Meta, the parent company of Facebook, laid ... Read more »

Storyboard18 | Moms in Adland: The conflict between motherhood and work life is a reality

Being a mom is a natural progression and not an interruption. (Image: Harry Cao via Unsplash) Many of my team apparently refer to me as “Maa”. The jury is out ... Read more »

Who is Vladimir Putin's rumoured girlfriend Alina Kabaeva

Russia-Ukraine war: Vladimir Putin’s inner circle is under global scrutiny. Former Russian gymnast Alina Kabaeva, rumoured to be President Vladimir Putin’s girlfriend, could be targeted with sanctions. The European Union ... Read more »

Kerala Travel Mart: Caravans, river lodges among ideas to revive tourism in the state

The next Champions Boat League is slated for November 2022. A row of brightly coloured caravans is parked across an empty dock at the Kochi port in the human-made, nearly century-old Willingdon ... Read more »

Happy Mother's Day 2022: Wishes, images, greetings and quotes to share with mom

Mother’s Day: Wish your mom on the occasion of Mother’s Day with a sweet card. Mother’s Day is a good day to remind your mum how important she is to ... Read more »

Amazon driver leaves touching message for girl battling cancer. Jeff Bezos reacts

Jeff Bezos shared a shout-out for Asani Anderson (Image credit: TeamAubreyHope/Facebook, AFP) Amazon founder Jeff Bezos gave a shout-out to an employee who went viral for a small act of ... Read more »

Watch: World's highest tea party on Everest at a dizzying 21,312 feet

The video left social media users fascinated. (Screengrab from video posted on Instagram by Guinness World Records) This will certainly beat the experience of any high tea you have ever ... Read more »

Microsoft working on Xbox Streaming device that will reportedly release next year

(Image Courtesy: Microsoft) New reports suggest that Microsoft will release a streaming device and an app for internet-connected TVs, that allows users, to play their Xbox Game Pass titles on ... Read more »

Harshvardhan Kapoor: "'Thar' is the most difficult role I have played"

Harshvardhan Kapoor in ‘Thar’, which released on May 6, 2022. (Image: Netflix) In Harshvardhan Kapoor’s fifth film, Thar, which just released on Netflix, the 31-year-old actor also took on the ... Read more »

Monkeys ran away with evidence in murder case, Rajasthan cops tell court

Cops have said that monkeys stole a bag of evidence in Jaipur (Representative Image) Police in Rajasthan have said that keys pieces of evidence in a murder trial have gone ... Read more »

Sri Lanka crisis: Protests continue, calls grow for resignation of Rajapaksa brothers

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is facing renewed pressure to quit amid the country’s crippling economic crisis, news agency PTI has reported. Government sources said that at a cabinet ... Read more »

Saani Kaayidham review: Keerthy Suresh excels in this predictable revenge drama

Keerthy Suresh as Ponni in the violent revenge drama ‘Saani Kaayidham’. (Image: Screen grab/Amazon Prime Video) Given that this movie is directed by Arun Matheswaran, who directed Rocky, there are ... Read more »

Facebook will discontinue two location-based features on May 31

Representative Image Facebook has started sending notices to users that it will discontinue two of its location-based features—Nearby Friends, which allows a user to track and share their location with ... Read more »

Puliyogre tamarind rice: journey from temple prasad to the main dish at a Bengaluru eatery

A key component in this puliyogare is gojju, made with tamarind pulp and spices. (Photo: Jayanthi Madhukar) Dark, fiery, and with a hint of sweetness – this is quite a ... Read more »

Watch: Punches fly as brawl erupts on flight. Shocking video is viral

A group of men was seen fighting on board a KLM flight (Image: MayaWilkinsonx/Twitter) A fight broke out between passengers on a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight from Manchester to ... Read more »

Farhan Akhtar to appear in Marvel's new superhero series

The details of Farhan Akhtar’s character in Ms Marvel have not been revealed yet. Actor-filmmaker Farhan Akhtar will be making an appearance in Ms Marvel, the first Muslim superhero series ... Read more »

Did Imran Khan inadvertently compare himself to a donkey? Watch viral video

Imran Khan, born in Lahore, spent a part of his childhood in England (Image: Imran Khan/YouTube) A clip of former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan describing life in the United ... Read more »

As cylinders get dearer, Twitter users express frustration with memes

Indians are struggling with the rise in prices of several essential commodities, ranging from fuel to vegetables. Indians woke up today to the news of another hike in the prices ... Read more »

Storyboard18 | Bookstrapping: ‘Selling' isn't just for salespeople

Hoffeld brings back the concept of ‘Antifragile, pioneered by Nassim Nicolas Taleb. (Representational image: Oc Gonzalez via Unsplash) Sell More with Science: The Mindsets, Traits, and Behaviors That Create Sales ... Read more »

Met Gala madness to IPL craze: Summing up the week with hilarious memes

This week began with a bang as the Met Gala returned to New York in all its gilded glory. Kylie Jenner’s Met Gala 2022 look became the subject of several ... Read more »

The Beatles Bungalow in Rishikesh: award-winning photographer captures the decaying home in a shot at immortality

Interior of Maharishi’s Ashram, which The Beatles visited in 1968 – this photo is part of Beatles Bungalow exhibition by photographer Michael Donald. Sometimes, decay, not restoration, may be the ... Read more »

Book excerpt: Soli Sorabjee: Life and Times by Abhinav Chandrachud | Tamas and the case for free speech

Soli Sorabjee was Attorney General of India from 1989-90 and 1998-2004. Padma Vibhushan Soli Sorabjee, former Attorney General of India, died on April 30, 2021. A new biography by Abhinav Chandrachud ... Read more »

Watch: What is 'space jellyfish', that lit up the sky in Florida

(Image credit: @samwell224/Twitter) The residents of Florida were treated to a stunning sight on Friday as SpaceX’s Falcon rocket launched 53 internet satellites from the Kennedy Space Center before sunrise. ... Read more »

The last days of Roger Federer and other artists

Switzerland’s Roger Federer leaves the court after being defeated by Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz during the men’s singles quarterfinals match on day nine of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Wednesday, ... Read more »

Rabindranath Tagore birth anniversary: 10 profound quotes of the Nobel laureate

Rabindranath Tagore Jayanti 2022: Read deep words of unimaginable beauty from the literary great. Rabindranath Tagore, one of India’s greatest literary personalities, was born on May 7 in Kolkata in ... Read more »

Because I'm happy...

Community means everything when it comes to mental health and happiness. (Representational image: Phil Nguyen via Pexels) What we think will make us happy: Money, fame, more money, more fame… ... Read more »

My Family and Other Globalizers | Practicing motherhood on cats

Animals love unconditionally and listen without judgement. They’ve been shown to decrease stress and loneliness, while helping kids gain empathy and learn responsibility. (Representational image: Dorothea Oldani via Unsplash) I ... Read more »

The Paradox of Celebrity Tequila

In June 2017, George Clooney and Rande Gerber (a.k.a., the spouse of Cindy Crawford) sold their tequila company, Casamigos, for $1 billion. Founded by the pair in 2013, the company ... Read more »

Billionaire Investor Warns U.S. Economy Could Face 'Serious Problems' If Fed Doesn't Hike Rates Within the Year

Following the Fed’s move to raise interest rates by 50-basis points at the Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Wednesday, Equity Group Investments chairman and founder Sam Zell voiced cautious ... Read more »

SpaceX Dragon Capsule Splashes Down Safely After 6 Months in Orbit, But the Mission Got Off to a Harrowing Start

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endurance splashed down off the coast of Tampa early this morning, per NASA, bringing crew members safely back to Earth after almost six months in orbit following a mission ... Read more »

Jail time for passenger who had to be duct-taped after groping flight crew

A Frontier Airlines passenger was handed jail time for groping and assaulting crew. (Image: flyfrontier/Facebook) A Frontier Airlines passenger who had to be duct-taped to his seat for groping airline ... Read more »

Do You Have What It Takes to Join Elon Musk's Team? Your Answer to This Question and 12 Others From the World's Most Influential Leaders Will Reveal Your Potential (or Lack Thereof)

“You’re standing on the surface of the Earth. You walk one mile south, one mile west, and one mile north. You end up exactly where you started. Where are you?” ... Read more »

Shah Rukh Khan hosts diplomats at Mannat. See pics from high-profile afternoon

Shah Rukh Khan hosted a gathering for diplomats at his home in Mumbai (Image: DiedrahKelly/Twitter) Shah Rukh Khan hosted a group of international diplomats at Mumbai home recently. Pictures from ... Read more »

Storyboard18 | Is Goafest still relevant?

Goafest and the Abby Awards are back after a gap of three years. (Image: Lance Asper via Unsplash) Yes, Goafest Is Back: Ajay Kakar, chief marketing officer, Aditya Birla Capital, ... Read more »

Lakshmi Venu Appointed MD Of Sundaram Clayton

Lakshmi Venu, daughter of industry veteran Venu Srinivasan, has taken over as the managing director of Sundaram-Clayton (SCL), a TVS Group company. Company website Prior to taking up the new ... Read more »

Viral video shows woman pinned down, forced to take Covid test in China

A woman is forcibly administered a Covid test in China (Image: S7i5FV0JOz6sV3A/Twitter) As China scrambles to contain a resurgence in Covid cases, disturbing visuals that have emerged online show health ... Read more »

Mother's Day 2022: These ads will make you want to call your mom right away

(Representative Illustration) Mother’s Day is just around the corner and this is the time most brands go all out with their Mother’s Day Campaign. This year’s campaigns have been quite ... Read more »

Twitter is testing conversation cards for Spaces

(Image Courtesy: Twitter) Twitter is testing a new feature for Spaces, its competitor to live audio rooms from Clubhouse, that allows listeners to engage in conversations in a simpler manner. Also Read: Musk ... Read more »

Photos of blood-splattered furniture surface in Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial

The Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial began in Virginia in April Amber Heard shared more details of Johnny Depp’s alleged abuse on her second day of testimony in their ongoing, highly-publicised ... Read more »

Life as Shah Rukh Khan's lookalike is not easy: ‘I got swamped, had to call police'

Ibrahim Qadri looks uncannily like Shah Rukh Khan (Image: humansofbombay/Instagram) Life as the doppelganger of India’s biggest star cannot be easy – ask Ibrahim Qadri, who bears an uncanny resemblance ... Read more »