The question was obviously so pressing that the BBC had to explain: “Boris will not be part of this year’s broadcast.” This refers to Boris Becker and his possible participation as a commentator at the Wimbledon tennis tournament. Becker had won the competition three times, and “the german brilliance” has been working as a valued expert for the BBC since 2002. The lawn classic starts on Monday, and it would have been strange if Becker had reported from Huntercombe prison north of London. There he is serving his sentence for bankruptcy offenses.
Becker will miss Wimbledon in 2022 and even with early release in 2023. And then? The BBC said no decision had been made about the future. So there is still time. The public broadcaster is not faced with an easy decision. Former tennis colleagues say Becker will be absent if Wimbledon takes place. However, the broadcaster received angry comments when commentator Andrew Castle addressed Becker directly during a broadcast last week with the words “Boris, we look forward to welcoming you back on your return”.
Should the fallen tennis hero be allowed to use the microphone again? Becker wasn’t in control of his life, he sinned, and he’s paying for it. Now, at 54, life has not come to an end. Even from a distance, his biography reads as that of a person who played great tennis and commented at least as great. All the great rest is the ebb and flow of a tabloid celebrity with the tentative finale at Huntercombe. Church Road Continued? That’s where Becker’s “living room” is, where his skills and competence are shown to their best advantage. Rehabilitation via TV, is that just an absurd idea?
The British must decide. Kind of comforting. Suppose the BBC says no, Sky or even ARD/ZDF say yes? The British are supposed to get Becker, the British-by-choice, back into work, and then Germany will be spared a fierce, certainly ugly debate.