John McEnroe under fire over Boris Becker comment at Wimbledon

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
John McEnroe has been criticised by BBC viewers for his on-air support for Boris Becker, who was sent to prison earlier this year on charges of concealing assets. Pictures: Getty Images
John McEnroe has been criticised by BBC viewers for his on-air support for Boris Becker, who was sent to prison earlier this year on charges of concealing assets. Pictures: Getty Images

Tennis legend John McEnroe and fellow BBC commentator Sue Barker have been criticised for lending their support to the imprisoned Boris Becker on air during the network's Wimbledon broadcast.

Becker, a three-time Wimbledon champion, was given a two-and-a-half year prison sentence in April, following the conclusion of his lengthy bankruptcy trial.

'SHOULD BE BANNED': Nick Kyrgios' 'disgusting' act stuns Wimbledon

'SHAME ON YOU': Tennis fans up in arms over Simona Halep 'disgrace'

The 54-year-old was convicted of concealing £2.5m ($4.4mAUD) in assets and loans as part of an effort to avoid paying various debts.

McEnroe and Barker made mention of the tennis great, who had been part of the BBC's coverage of Wimbledon in 2021, on the first day of competition.

The American tennis great declared, “Boris, we love you. We miss you, man," to which Barker added "We do indeed."

This resulted in an cascade of complaints directed at the pair, with many unhappy about the support shown for Becker in light of his criminal conviction.

The BBC has declined to comment publicly, however the pair's move to 'send greetings' to a convicted criminal' did not go down well with some sections of the audience.

McEnroe has earlier stated his intention to visit his close friend in prison while he was in the UK for Wimbledon.

“Boris is a friend of mine. This is just horrible. I want to see him if I possibly can and if he’s willing to see people,” he said.

“I just feel terrible. He’s one of the great players that has ever played the game, and I know it meant a lot to Boris.

"He’s been going through a lot for a long time.”

Commentators criticised over message of suport to Boris Becker

McEnroe and Barker are not the only TV and tennis personalities to have run foul of the British public over Becker's imprisonment, with another BBC commentator, Andrew Castle, also called out for his own message of support.

The former UK No.1 said Becker's absence was being keenly felt.

“I’ve had a real moment of missing Boris. I know he’s in prison and I know why. Boris, we look forward to welcoming you on your return," he said.

Becker previously received the support for World No.1 Novak Djokovic after his prison sentence was handed down.

Djokovic, who briefly employed Becker as an assistant coach, said the situation was 'terrible' and added that he had reached out to Becker's son Noah.

Boris Becker was jailed for two-and-a-half-years earlier this year on charges relating to his bankruptcy. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Boris Becker was jailed for two-and-a-half-years earlier this year on charges relating to his bankruptcy. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)

"Even when we stopped working, our relationship kept going in a right way. I have been in touch with one of his sons, Noah, and asking if there is something that I could do," Djokovic said.

“It's terrible.

“I'm just very sad that someone I know so well, and of course someone that is a legend of our sport, is going through what he's going through.

"It's been only less than a month. We know how long he has to be there. So I just hope that he will stay healthy and strong.”

The 54-year-old was found guilty of transferring money to his ex-wives so he didn't have to pay creditors.

Speaking earlier in May, ex-wife Lilly Becker described her pain after Boris was sent to prison.

“I completely broke down," the Dutch model said on Piers Morgan’s 'Uncensored' show.

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing because I was convinced, until the judge made her verdict, that he was going to get a little bit lighter than two and a half years.

“I had to keep it together and I don’t know how I did it.”

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting