Two months after his release from prison, Boris Becker is back in the limelight. At the weekend, the ex-tennis star appeared at the Berlinale and celebrated the premiere of his documentary "Boom! Boom! - The World vs. Boris Becker". For the 90-minute strip, Becker was interviewed by Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney in 2019 and shortly before his sentencing in spring 2022. The film will be shown in April on the Apple TV streaming service. "I used to be a huge fan of his and I think he's an excellent storyteller," Gibney said of Becker during the Berlinale.
One story that appears in the documentary, among other things, is Becker's confession that he was at times dependent on sleeping pills during his active career as a tennis player. "In 1987 I couldn't handle the pressure of constantly having to deliver and win. I traveled from tournament to tournament, suffered constantly from jet lag, couldn't switch off and eventually couldn't sleep either. After two long years I was exhausted", quotes the "Bild" newspaper from the film.
Becker then took sleeping pills on the advice of the German team doctor at the time. But contrary to what was expected, they were not easily tolerated, but "strong and addictive". "You don't wake up in five or six hours refreshed. It's like you're foggy. At one point I couldn't sleep without the pills. Without the pills I was up at night. I talked to people, went out, drank. I didn't live that life of a professional athlete."
The whole thing escalated during the Wimbledon final in 1990, when he lost in five sets to Stefan Edberg of Sweden. Another exhausting night lay behind Becker. "I took my last pill at 5 a.m. I woke up at 11:30 a.m. in a daze and the game started at 2 p.m.." He couldn't concentrate on the pitch - and suffered a defeat. "I was just like, 'You stupid idiot. You could have beaten him'. Right after the final I threw the sleeping pills out the window."
Becker's ex-wife Barbara, who also has a say in the documentary, remembers the end of the pill addiction a little differently. The 56-year-old met Boris Becker at the end of 1991, after losing the Wimbledon final against Stefan Edberg. She says in the film: "Drugs were always the devil for me. I also never understood why Boris took the pills. I just knew that he didn't actually want to do it. So I flushed them down the toilet."
The fact that there are differences between the descriptions of Boris and Barbara Becker is apparently not a problem for director Alex Gibney. "We don't necessarily remember things as they were, but as we would like them to be. So if Boris is telling his version of the sleeping pill thing, why should I disagree?" he said.
Source: "Bild" newspaper