Documentary to offer ‘intimate’ insight into life of tennis star Boris Becker

Oscar-winning filmmakers Alex Gibney and John Battsek have been documenting the recently jailed star’s life for three years.
Documentary to offer ‘intimate’ insight into life of tennis star Boris Becker

By Naomi Clarke, PA Entertainment Reporter

A new documentary on the life and career of Boris Becker will offer behind-the-scenes access to the Wimbledon champion up until his recent imprisonment over unpaid debts.

The former tennis world number one, 54, was jailed for two and a half years for hiding £2.5 million of assets and loans.

Over the past three years, Oscar-winning filmmakers Alex Gibney and John Battsek have been documenting the tennis star’s life, including a series of “deeply intimate interviews”.

Becker was catapulted to stardom after winning his first Wimbledon Championship at the age of 17, going on to win 49 career titles including six Grand Slams and an Olympic gold medal.

The film will explore his tennis career as well as the challenges of his personal life and financial commitments.

It will also speak to the major figures in Becker’s life, both personal and professional, including members of his immediate family and stars from the world of tennis such as John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg.

The project, which is currently untitled, is set to launch at a film festival with a full release later.

Directing and producing duties will be led by Gibney, who wrote and directed Oscar-winning 2007 documentary Taxi To The Dark Side, and Battsek, who co-produced Oscar-winning 1999 documentary One Day In September.

Boris Becker File Photos
Becker rose to stardom after winning Wimbledon at the age of 17 (PA)

Gibney said: “This film about Boris Becker recounts an extraordinary tale.

“It is both a candid insider’s look at the world of professional tennis and it is also a poignant portrait of the man himself.

“Like the Rudyard Kipling quote at the entrance to Wimbledon Centre Court, Boris is an individual who appears to ‘meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same’.”

Battsek added: “Boris Becker’s story is a remarkable one. Thrust into the global spotlight aged just 17, his unique achievements in tennis both on the court and then as a successful coach to world number one Novak Djokovic merit cinematic treatment.

“His life off the court trying to manage his private relationships and his spiralling financial commitments have become the stuff of gossip and falsehoods.

“Boris has been incredibly brave revealing all to us, Alex and I share a big responsibility in making this film.”

Boris Becker court case
Becker was recently sentenced to jail for two and a half years (Victoria Jones/PA)

The film is being financed by Lorton Entertainment, which recently delivered a documentary about football star Wayne Rooney to Amazon Prime.

Lorton Entertainment founder and chief executive Julian Bird said: “We always knew that this film would be right up there with our previous roster of work, from Supersonic to Maradona, and the interest in this project has understandably intensified in recent weeks.

“The wheels are in motion to launch the Boris Becker documentary at a major film festival and full release thereafter.”

Becker was jailed for hiding assets after declaring bankruptcy in June 2017, owing creditors almost £50 million, with an unpaid loan of more than £3 million on his estate in Mallorca, Spain.

He transferred almost 427,000 euros (around £390,000) from his business account to others, including those of his ex-wife Barbara and estranged wife Sharlely “Lilly” Becker.

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