Boris Becker interview: ‘I miss Wimbledon – I will be back in 2025... if the Home Office let me’

Boris Becker interview: 'I miss Wimbledon – I will be back in 2025... if the Home Office let me'
Boris Becker said the tennis community welcomed him back with open arms following his incarceration - Getty Images/Angel Martinez

You think of Boris Becker, you think of Wimbledon.

His superstardom began there in 1985: the booming serve, his arms held aloft, his feet doing that famous little jig on the grass, as he became the youngest men’s singles champion in history aged just 17.

Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the moment his life-long romance with Wimbledon began, and Becker plans to be back at Centre Court to celebrate it. There is just the small matter of getting the Home Office to agree to let him back into the country, following his criminal conviction for breaching bankruptcy rules.

“I miss Wimbledon of course,” Becker tells Telegraph Sport. “It’s my favourite tournament, the greatest one. I’m working on all fronts to come back next year, 2025. That’s an option. But let’s see who I’m working for there, because I can’t be in the country yet.”

Sixteen months on from his release from prison, Becker is free to do almost anything he pleases – except walk through the gates of the All England Club.

He has been absent from the past two Wimbledon championships. In 2022 he was midway through serving 231 days of a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence in the UK, where he received death threats and lost a stone during his time inside. Then, last year, his release conditions banned him from entering the United Kingdom.

The length of that ban can last as long as 10 years for certain cases, but an otherwise convivial Becker becomes slightly prickly when that timeframe is brought up. He wants to put the record straight, and insists he will be allowed to apply for permission to re-enter the UK from this October.

“The 10 years not going back [to the UK] is rubbish, it’s not true,” he says. “For me, after October 2024, [I can be] given permission from the Home Office. They decide, I don’t decide.”

Before talk of travel bans, Becker was quite happily reminiscing about one of his favourite places in the world: the All England Club. He won three titles there in the 1980s, on his way to becoming a six-time major champion. He was a much-loved pundit and commentator for the BBC there for many years too (and hopes to work for them again, though has no firm plans for 2025 yet). He even lived just a few minutes walk from the club for a time. The anticipation he feels to be reunited with the green grass of his adopted home is palpable during this interview, speaking in Madrid in his capacity as a Laureus Academy member.

“I’m the biggest fan of Wimbledon,” he says. “I know the ins and outs as a player, as a coach, as a commentator. I don’t think anyone alive knows Wimbledon as well as I do. Ultimately you want to walk through the gates of SW19 and just smell the flowers again.”

Boris Becker interview: 'I miss Wimbledon - I will be back in 2025...if the Home Office let me'
Becker won Wimbledon as a 17-year-old in 1985 - AP/Robert Dear

Though he remains restricted from that joy, he is at least free in every other sense. “I knock on wood here,” he says smiling, gently knocking his head, “but I’m living the good life again. I’m back.” His upbeat demeanour and tanned face suggest he is.

One of the main positives he found over this past year, he explains, was the way the tennis community welcomed him with open arms. “There was no second guessing or questioning. It was really like, ‘we’ve been waiting for you,’” he says. “They know the real Boris, they know me through thick and thin. If I win or if I lose, I was still a team-mate in a way. I felt that a lot in the last 18 months.”

Did he worry about that in prison? “No, but you still have to experience it to know. You have to go to tournaments. But there was never a doubt that I am part of that world. That felt very good, it felt very powerful in a way. So for me to be back as a coach, TV analyst or commentator is natural for me and for everybody else. So I think I’m always going to have a job.”

Becker: ‘Never underestimate Djokovic or count him out’

Speaking of jobs, there is one going in Novak Djokovic’s camp. The world No 1 recently parted ways with coach of five years Goran Ivanisevic. Becker previously led Djokovic’s team from 2013 to 2016 but firmly says he is not available this time. He had a four-month stint from late last year coaching Denmark’s young gun Holger Rune, but said it was “more of a time commitment than anticipated”.

He will continue to support Djokovic, 36, from afar, but says the current flux in the 24-time major champion’s schedule – he pulled out of Miami last month and the Madrid Open this past week – is strange. “I think he’s looking for something different right now. I’m not sure he knows exactly what that is,” Becker says. “He’s always going to be a close friend of mine, we always speak about tennis. But I couldn’t possibly be his coach again, because I’ve done that. It would be stepping back.

“I was surprised by his Madrid decision. I think at this stage he needs matches. He needs the competition. But he has his own schedule. I think winning gold for Serbia [at the Olympics in Paris] is his main tournament so maybe he’s already scheduling himself to be still fresh for July. This could be a reason. You can never underestimate him or count him out.”

Becker will be watching it all, for now from afar when it comes to Wimbledon. But the purple hydrangeas will be waiting whenever he does return.

The 25th Laureus World Sports Awards take place on Monday evening in Madrid. To find out more, and follow the ceremony, visit