Tennis Hall of Famer Boris Becker was released from prison earlier this month after serving eight months of his two-and-a-half year sentence. It hasn't taken long for him to open up about his experience, as Becker revealed in an interview with German broadcaster Sat. 1 that he was threatened by some inmates and feared for his life.
In the spring, Becker was convicted for illicitly transferring large amounts of money and hiding assets after declaring bankruptcy in 2017.
Becker said that sharing a cell with someone you fear and having to watch your back while in the shower felt "not human." One of the inmates he was concerned with was "John," who was serving a sentence for multiple murders. John allegedly threatened him because he wanted money. Other inmates who were on good terms with Becker warned John against hurting him.
A second inmate he referred to as "Ike" allegedly cornered Becker once. Becker said he yelled for help and 10 prisoners came to the rescue.
"And then the next day Ike asked if I would accept his apology," Becker told Sat.1. "I could have rejected it. I encountered him in the laundry. He threw himself down to the ground and begged me for forgiveness. I raised him to his feet and hugged him.
"And I told him that I had great respect for him."
Becker said he'll be forever grateful for the "blood brothers" who were there for him during his prison sentence. He said that fighting for survival brought them together. Becker recounted that in November, some inmates arranged for three chocolate cakes to celebrate his birthday. He intends to stay in touch with the friends he made in prison.
Becker said the experience as a whole was eye-opening because he experienced hunger for the first time and saw what it was like to feel like just a number.
"In prison you are a nobody. You are only a number. Mine was A2923EV," Becker said. "I wasn't called Boris; I was a number. And nobody gives a shit who you are."
It was a difficult situation, but Becker said he was able to get through it thanks to support from fans and friends who sent letters to him. He kept them all and intends to write back over Christmas.
"These letters helped me very much to keep my morale and my lust for life," Becker said.
Becker referred to prison as "the worst time of my life," but he said he feels the experience was something he needed to endure because he was able to reflect on his mistakes.
"I trusted the wrong people and in the end I got lazy," Becker said. "Jail time brought me back. It gave me a second chance. Now it's up to me to continue this path. That's why I think prison was good for me."