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Culture

Sex, Drugs and Taxes: Boris Becker Bears All

In the past year, a row of minor German celebrities and soccer personalities have brought out attention-seeking autobiographies. Now, international tennis star Boris Becker is trying his hand at a tell-all.

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It's when Boris left the tennis court that life started getting interesting.

Stuck in a broken elevator with the Three Tenors is not everbody's dream.

Imagine the feeling as Pavarotti and Co. pass the time singing arias and add to that a heavy dose of claustrophobia and you can imagine what Boris Becker felt like after a half hour at the Munich Olympic Stadium.

"I said nothing ... I didn't want to flip out," Becker wrote. “Fear and arias, an unbelievable moment."

The nugget out of Becker's new autobiography comes courtesy of Germany's Bild newspaper, which is printing exclusive excerpts of his book leading up to the Nov. 10 release date. After a stack of star autobiographies -- including that of Bayern Munich football star Steffan Effenberg -- found success among book-buying Germans, one of the country's most visible international faces is pouring his heart out. The book, "Wait a second, stay a while ..." will be published in 50 countries.

On offer: tales of affairs in restaurants that lead to out-of-wedlock children, Becker's battle with sleeping pills, alcohol and loneliness and the juicy bit on Pavarotti, Carreras and Domingo.

The tennis prodigy says the book won't be a platform from which to pull other people down. He says he wants to write clearly and openly about a life he describes as very "moving and opulent."

"There have been very wonderful moments in my life and there have been moments that were very, very difficult and painful," Becker told Bild in an interview.

Sex in restaurant, child 9 months later

Since retiring after the Wimbeldon championships in 1999, Becker has been a favorite figure of the boulevard press. Gossip reporters have reported on his outbursts and illicit affairs and documented his strained and complicated relationship with his ex-wife Barbara and son Noah.

The two will no doubt feature prominently in his book. In the first excerpt printed by Bild, Becker talks about hiding a one-evening affair from Barbara while she was pregnant with their second son Elias. The affair with Russian model Angela Ermakova, which allegedly took place in a broom closet near a restaurant bathroom and lasted no more than a few minutes, produced Becker's daughter Anna nine months later.

Aside from the women, Becker's ongoing tax problems and his subsequent relocation to Switzerland are also sure to make an appearance. Becker avoided a three-year jail sentence in 2002 after agreeing to pay millions of euros in back taxes to German finance authorities.

This year he joined a list of German celebrities including Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher and football legend Franz Beckenbauer who live in Switzerland in order to avoid paying Germany's high taxes.

The timing of Becker's book fits perfectly. The 35-year-old has started a new marketing company and is mulling organizing a tennis tournament in Shanghai and starting his own clothing line. In February, the "Boris Becker Show" will appear on national television in Germany.

Both won't hurt book sales.

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