Days after his former coach was sentenced to more than two years in prison, tennis star Novak Djokovic said he is “heartbroken.”
Djokovic said Sunday before the Madrid Open that he felt terribly for tennis great Boris Becker, who was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison in London after bankruptcy fraud, among other things. Becker coached him for three years, first in 2013.
"[I'm] just heartbroken, I mean, for him," Djokovic said, via The Associated Press. "He's a friend, a longtime friend, a coach for three, four years, someone I consider close in my life and has contributed a lot to my success in my career."
Becker, the six-time Grand Slam winner and former top-ranked player in the world, was sentenced to prison in London on Friday after officials said he transferred hundreds of thousands of pounds from his business account to other accounts after declaring bankruptcy in 2017. Becker reportedly also sent money to his ex-wife and estranged wife, and was convicted in Germany of hiding a bank loan and shares he owned in a tech firm.
Becker has denied the charges against him, and said he wasn’t using the money on his “lavish lifestyle,” but rather on child support, rent and other expenses.
Becker earned about $50 million throughout his tennis career.
Djokovic — the 20-time Grand Slam winner who is currently the No. 1 player in the world — is set to compete in just his second tournament so far this year in Madrid.
"I just hope he will go through this period that he has to be in jail and that when he comes out he's, you know, being able to live his life as, I don't know if we'll use the word 'normal,' because the life is definitely changing," Djokovic said, via The Associated Press. "I just pray for him. I hope things will be well in terms of his health, his mental health, because that's going to be the most challenging part."