Jailed tennis ace sent French Open star messages from prison cell

Boris Becker sent Alexander Zverev messages of support from his UK prison cell

Tennis legend Boris Becker didn’t allow his recent incarceration to stop him from sending messages of support to one of the German stars to have followed in his footsteps.

Alexander Zverev, 25, suffered a cruel blow during the recent French Open as he was forced to withdraw from his semi-final match with eventual winner Rafael Nadal after sustaining a potentially serious ankle injury towards the end of the second set, forcing the third set to forfeit what had been up to that point a closely-contested match with the Roland Garros specialist. 

Zverev, who is also known as Sascha, was clearly deeply disappointed after the match slipped through his fingers and was inundated with messages of commiseration on social media – and according to Zverev’s brother Mischa, one of the more memorable ones came from Boris Becker, a three-time semi-finalist at the French Open.

“He also received a message from Boris,” Mischa announced via Eurosport.

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“Boris said he followed what was happening at the tournament and wishes Sascha all the best and a quick and good recovery.”

It was not revealed through which means Becker’s message was received by Zverev, or to what extent Becker had viewed the tournament.

Ordinarily, a message such as this from Becker wouldn’t have generated much interest outside of the Zverev family – but the support was all the more remarkable given Becker’s recent incarceration in the United Kingdom.

Becker, winner of six Grand Slams throughout his illustrious career, was jailed for two-and-a-half years in April after he was found to have hidden £2.5 million ($3.1 million) in assets after filing for bankruptcy in 2017.

Judge Deborah Taylor castigated Becker during the sentencing, telling the 54-year-old: “You 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.

However, Becker’s legal representative Jonathan Laidlaw QC said that the situation regarding his client’s bankruptcy and ensuing prison term was a ‘tragedy’.

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“There is also nothing to show for what was the most glittering of sporting careers and that is correctly termed as nothing short of a tragedy.

“These proceedings have destroyed his career entirely and ruined any further prospect of earning an income.”

Becker remains in detention at HMP Huntercombe in Oxfordshire and it is expected that he will serve around half of his term, which would be around 15 months. 

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