Boris Becker, a six-time Grand Slam singles champion and sports commentator, will be helped by a German translator during his trial later this month, accused of failing to hand over the trophies of his glittering career to settle his debts, has said a court.
The 54-year-old German national, declared bankrupt in June 2017, is accused of failing to comply with information disclosure obligations.
That trophy would include the 1985 Wimbledon men’s singles title, which catapulted the then-unknown 17-year-old to stardom, as well as his Australian Open trophies in 1991 and 1996.
During a 15-minute pre-trial at Southwark Crown Court on Friday, defense barrister Jonathan Laidlaw QC said his client – who commentated for the BBC at Wimbledon last year and at previous tournaments – would be assisted by a translator.
He told the court: “His English is good, as we all know. It’s just a strange word.
“When he speaks, it might be better if he speaks in German and it is translated into English.”
He said “a lot of personal stuff” will feature in his defense, of which he is expected to be the only live witness.
The judge, Her Honor Justice Deborah Taylor, said there had been “great interest” in the case from the international media.
The trial – which features an indictment of more than 20 counts – is due to open on March 21 and last up to three weeks.
Becker is also accused of withdrawing hundreds of thousands of pounds by transferring them to other accounts, including ex-wife Barbara Becker and ex-wife Sharlely “Lilly” Becker.
Becker was not in court Friday.
The former world number 1 and six-time Grand Slam champion won 49 singles titles out of 77 finals during his 16 years as a professional tennis player.