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Tennis Star Boris Becker Could Face 7 Years in Jail Over Bankruptcy Charges


Anthony Harvey/Shutterstock

Tennis star Boris Becker is facing the toughest match of his life.

On Thursday, the three-time Wimbledon champion appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court in London to deny claims that he concealed a string of valuable holdings from UK insolvency officials handling his 2017 bankruptcy.

If found guilty on all 19 charges heard in the courtroom, the six-time Grand Slam winner faces the possibility of seven years in jail.

"He has been charged with eight counts of concealment of property, five of failure to disclose property, four of material omissions in relation to bank accounts, and two of removal of property,” a spokesperson for the UK Insolvency Service confirmed to PEOPLE.

Karwai Tang/Getty

The charges against Becker -- who appeared in court wearing a black "Stronger Together" face mask  -- relate to his alleged ownership of an apartment in the upscale Chelsea neighborhood of London, plus two additional properties in Germany, reports The Guardian.

German news outlet Bild reports the court also heard that Becker -- who was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2003 -- allegedly hid bank accounts with JP Morgan in Belgium, Julius Baer in Guernsey and Volksbank Kraichgau in Germany from UK officials, at a time when he was legally bound to disclose his full financial details as part of the bankruptcy deal.

Becker is also accused of hiding close to $1 million in debt, plus 75,000 shares in the Artificial Intelligence company Breaking Data Corp, The Guardian added.

TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty

“When people enter into bankruptcy, they have to declare all their assets so that there's a true picture of what they own, what they don't, and what can be paid back to their creditors," a UK legal expert tells PEOPLE.

"The charges are around claims that Boris didn't provide a full picture of assets and property. Essentially, Boris was bankrupt and it's all to do with concealing property from the official receiver."

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Becker will next appear in court on Oct. 22 at a pre-trial hearing before a judge at Southwark Crown Court in London.

On Friday, Becker tweeted his desire to fight the charges until the end.

"Innocent until proven guilty! I deny the accusations against me and will defend myself with all legal means!" he wrote.

"I believe in the British legal system and its representatives! My team will prove my innocence in due course!!!"

Becker was released on conditional bail at the close of Thursday's hearing and he's placed his passport in the care of his attorney,  Bild reports. He is now living in a luxury apartment in Battersea, London.


Source: Tennis Star Boris Becker Could Face 7 Years in Jail Over Bankruptcy Charges

Tennis-New balls, please! Nadal unhappy with French Open choice


PARIS (Reuters) - French Open organisers have had enough problems dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the dwindling number of fans on site and inclement weather but they faced another controversy on Friday -- criticism of the choice of ball for this year’s edition.

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - ATP Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - September 19, 2020 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter final match against Argentina's Diego Schwartzman Pool via REUTERS/Clive Brunskill

Roland Garros has switched to Wilson balls for the 2020 tournament after using Babolat for many years and 12-times champion Rafa Nadal was not impressed.

“You have to take care because with these conditions you can’t practise that much because the ball is super heavy,” the second-seeded Spaniard told reporters on Friday.

“Different brand than last year, a new ball. The ball is much slower than the previous years. If we add these conditions of cold and humidity, then it is super heavy.”

Nadal, a 19-time Grand Slam champion, prefers warmer weather and faster claycourts at his favourite tournament but faces cooler and wetter conditions at this year’s event, which was pushed back to the fo end September from its May-June dates.

While the decision to change the ball was already known, Nadal felt the prevailing conditions had an even bigger impact.

“I practised with the balls in Mallorca,” said the Spaniard. “In Mallorca with warm conditions, the ball was very slow, I think (it’s) not a good ball to play on clay, honestly. That is my personal opinion.

“Even with these conditions it makes things tougher. But I knew before arriving here. So no problem at all. Just accept the challenge.

“(But) I really believe that the organisation need to take a look at that for the next couple of years, for the health of the players too, because the ball is super heavy. (It) becomes dangerous for the elbow and for the shoulders, I think.”

Austria’s newly-crowned U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem, who lost to Nadal in the final of the last two editions at Roland Garros, also prefers the ball used in previous editions.

“I practised two days at home with the ball. Now, of course, here. I’m a little bit sad because the Babolat at Roland Garros, it was my favourite ball, it was perfect,” he said.

“Obviously it was the ball from my racket company. (It) was fast, was taking spin incredibly well. But the Wilson ball is good, as well. It’s just a little bit slower. It gets a little bit bigger after a while.”

However, Russian Daniil Medvedev, who prefers slower claycourt conditions and less spin, had no complaints.

“I like the balls because, yeah, tennis is a funny and interesting sport,” said the world number five, who lost to Nadal in last year’s U.S. Open final.

“It’s normal that when one player doesn’t like something, second one maybe is going to like it. So far I like it. I think it suits me not bad.”

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing By Ken Ferris


Source: Tennis-New balls, please! Nadal unhappy with French Open choice

Tennis-I must be at my best to win this year's French Open, says Nadal


PARIS (Reuters) - Rafa Nadal may have won the French Open a record 12 times but the Spaniard feels this year’s conditions will be the most difficult he has ever faced at Roland Garros and mean he must be at his best to have a chance of retaining his title again.

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - ATP Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - September 19, 2020 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter final match against Argentina's Diego Schwartzman Pool via REUTERS/Clive Brunskill

The claycourt Grand Slam is usually held in May-June but was pushed back to the end of September due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The weather is much cooler at this time of year and the temperatures have further dipped due to rain in Paris.

The organisers are also using a different ball, making the conditions more unfamiliar for the Spanish world number two.

“What you need is the right energy to accept every single thing. That’s what I’m doing,” said Nadal, who prefers warmer conditions and faster claycourts in Paris.

“Just stay positive knowing that the conditions are not perfect for me, maybe not perfect for others either, and accept that I am going to need my best version to have chances.

“I am just relaxed knowing that it’s a very special year. I am here just to give myself a chance to enjoy another Roland Garros and, of course, to try my best to be competitive and fight for the final goal.”

Nadal, who is one Grand Slam behind Roger Federer’s record men’s haul of 20 titles, skipped the U.S. Open due to the pandemic and then lost in the quarter-finals of the ATP Masters in Rome to Argentine Diego Schwartzman.

The Rome event was Nadal’s first after the lengthy shutdown due to COVID-19 and world number one Novak Djokovic said that it showed his great rival was not unbeatable on claycourts.

“Yeah, 100% true. I always have been beatable on clay. He beat me a lot of times,” Nadal said, when asked to react to Djokovic’s comment. “But at the same time it is true that I had a lot of success on this surface.

“Conditions here probably are the most difficult for me ever in Roland Garros for so many different factors. Ball completely different. Ball is super slow, heavy. It’s very cold. Slow conditions.

“Of course, the preparations have been less than usual. But you know what, I am here to fight and to play with the highest intensity possible, to practise with the right attitude, to give me a chance. That’s the main goal for me.”

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Ken Ferris


Source: Tennis-I must be at my best to win this year's French Open, says Nadal



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