Leading tennis pundit under fire over Boris Becker remark

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Pictured left to right is BBC pundit Andrew Castle and jailed former colleague Boris Becker.
BBC pundit Andrew Castle's remarks about jailed former colleague Boris Becker did not go down well with viewers. Pic: Getty

Tennis fans have called out a BBC commentator after a controversial remark he made about jailed legend, Boris Becker.

The German was handed a two and a half year prison sentence earlier this year after being found guilty of hiding hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of assets from creditors after he was declared bankrupt.

The 54-year-old was sentenced in late April and sent to Wandsworth prison in London, before recently being transferred to a different prison in Huntercombe, Oxfordshire.

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Becker was found guilty of transferring money to his ex-wives so he didn't have to pay creditors, during a high-profile case that left his former protege Novak Djokovic "heartbroken" for the fallen icon.

The German tennis great spoke about the effect the scandal had on his career and the embarrassment he faced as someone in the public eye, as a commentator with the BBC.

Becker's absence from the commentary team for this year's grass-court swing didn't go unnoticed, with BBC pundit and former player Andrew Castle giving his former colleague a shout-out during a live telecast.

“I’ve had a real moment of missing Boris," Castle said during the BBC's broadcast of the Queen’s Club Championships.

“I know he’s in prison and I know why. Boris, we look forward to welcoming you on your return.”

Castle's comments did not go down well with viewers, many of whom argued that it was a bad look pining over someone who broke the law.

Others insisted that it would be unprofessional of the BBC to welcome Becker back after he'd served his time in prison.

“He knowingly committed fraud, and the BBC should not employ him again," one user commented on social media.

Another added: “We don’t want to hear about him.”

A BBC source says “no decision” has been made about whether Becker will be return to his role with the broadcaster when he's freed.

Castle was part of the BBC team that covered Matteo Berrettini's Queen's Club triumph over Filip Krajinovic that sealed the Italian's place in the tennis record books.

Matteo Berrettini joins exclusive club with Queen's victory

Berrettini retained his grass-court title at Queen's by beating Krajinovic 7-5 6-4, backing up his title triumph in Stuttgart last week.

With Wimbledon starting on June 27, Berrettini is heading to the All England Club having won 20 of his last 21 matches on grass - his only loss coming against Novak Djokovic in four sets in last year's Wimbledon final.

Like Becker did in the late 80s, Berrettini's back-to-back Queen's titles puts him on an exclusive list of just eight players to have achieved the feat in the Open era.

Krajinovic was a surprise finalist in west London, having never won a match on grass at ATP level before this week, and the 30-year-old Serb usually tries to skip grass-court events if he can.

His serve wasn't big enough to threaten the tall and imposing Berrettini, who only gave up two break points and sent down 14 aces - more than double the tally from Krajinovic.

The last of those came on match point, after which Berrettini smashed a ball high into the sky and jumped the advertising hoardings to celebrate with his team and then his dad on Father's Day.

Pictured here, Matteo Berrettini posing with the trophy after winning against Filip Krajinovic in the Queen's Club final.
Matteo Berrettini celebrates with the trophy after winning against Filip Krajinovic in the Queen's Club final. Pic: Getty

Berrettini joined Australian Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick, Andy Murray, Marin Cilic and Feliciano Lopez in being a multiple title winner at Queen's since the turn of the century.

He has won all nine matches since returning to action in Stuttgart after three months out with a hand injury.

Krajinovic lost his fifth straight ATP final, with two of them now coming against Berrettini.

Berrettini said: "There are too many emotions. The last thing I expected after a surgery was two titles in a row and to defend my title here. I just cannot believe it.

"Every time I walk in the hallways here and see all the names of the champions from the past, and now knowing it's me, twice on the same wall, gives me goosebumps."

with AAP

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