Boom-Boom dominates newsroom

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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Is it me, or is Boris Becker making more news now than when he was starring on the ATP Tour for 16 years?

It's not me.

The 33-year-old Becker, a retired tennis player/entrepreneur/amateur conspiracy theorist who hasn't played a professional match in more than two years, will return to the courts to play a little doubles this week.

The three-time Wimbledon champ will pair with reigning Wimbledon titlist Goran Ivanisevic at the Tennis Masters Series-Cincinnati. And what a pairing it is -- the superstar Becker and the eccentric Ivanisevic.

Boris Becker
Boris Becker's name has been dragged through the mud recently, but that hasn't stopped him from returning to the courts.
But even without playing any recent tennis, Becker has still been dominating the headlines for the past couple of years.

Let's see, there was the tax evasion charge in his native Germany...there was the divorce settlement with former wife Barbara Feltus...and who could forget the paternity suit after it was determined Becker fathered the child of Russian model Angela Ermakova.

Becker and the London-based Ermakova conceived the child via liaison in a broom cupboard at London's Nobu restaurant in July 1999. Becker claims the Russian mafia planted a waitress (Ermakova) in the closet at Nobu to steal his sperm and blackmail him over the "love child." He called this "the price I pay for my open personality."

It should come as no surprise that Becker's manager, Ion Tiriac, called him "the most stubborn human being I have ever met."

Also this year, Becker was ordered to demolish part of his mansion in Mallorca after Spanish officials accused him of contravening the island's strict planning regulations.

When it rains it pours, I guess.

All these developments are juicier than any soap opera plot they can devise in Hollywood.

Speaking of soap operas, did you know that Becker's mother was a soap star?

Me neither.

Just last month, a London court approved a "generous" financial offer from Becker to support the now-17-month-old Ermakova baby (Anna). And in January of this year, a Munich court granted a divorce to Becker and the 34-year-old Barbara, a former actress and singer (not to mention wife of a tennis star), following a bitter international court battle. Babs won an undisclosed settlement -- reportedly in the neighborhood of $25 million -- and custody of the couple's two sons, 6-year-old Noah and 2-year-old Elias.

As far as Becker's tax evasion case goes, there's been talk of him facing jail time.

Yeah, right.

German officials recently completed a five-year investigation of the tennis star's finances. He is accused of claiming to live in Monaco to avoid paying the lofty German taxes, while actually spending most of his time in his homeland. Becker has yet to strike a deal with the German authorities that would allow him to pay a fine and avoid prison.

Becker officially found himself in the soup when his biggest fan supplied the authorities with his collection of more than 200 scrapbooks of newspaper clippings that proved the superstar's whereabouts on the dates in question.

The "fan," Hans "I Collared Boris Becker" Gerd, said: "I was cutting up to 50 newspapers a day. He never wrote to thank me. Besides, if he really owes all that money, then that's his lookout."


Does anybody know what "that's his lookout" means?

But over the last few weeks, the legendary Becker has been in the news for the right thing -- tennis.

It was announced last month that he would battle another former great -- John McEnroe -- in a winner-take-all exhibition match at the U.S. Open. The match will follow the ladies' Saturday night singles final on September 8.

By the way, the women's final will mark the first-ever Prime Time title match on network television.

Becker, who's been whipping himself into shape in Spain, has not yet said whether he will play in any additional events, ATP or otherwise.

He and Ivanisevic received wild cards to wield racquets in the Queen City.

Ivanisevic is no stranger to wild cards, having received one at Wimbledon in late June, only to see it come up aces with a first-ever Grand Slam tournament championship at the All-England Club.

I think it's safe to say that Boris' head is spinning right now, and maybe that's where the return to tennis comes in.

He, of course, is best known for his athletic, not sexual, prowess. Isn't he?

The owner of 49 career singles titles, including six Grand Slam tourney wins, will team up with Ivanisevic for a second time. They formed a rather unsuccessful tandem at the Tennis Masters Series-Hamburg in 1998, losing to South African David Adams and New Zealand's Brett Steven in a first-round encounter.

And things don't exactly bode well for "Boom-Boom" and "Ivo" this time around, as the zany Croat is a brutal 0-5 in his doubles matches at Cincinnati.

P.S. - Don't expect to see the former world No. 1 Becker -- who at the age of 17 years, 7 months became the youngest-ever Wimbledon champion in 1985 -- diving for balls in Cincy, as the purple hardcourts are a far cry from the soft grass at London SW19.

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