An appearance like a flashback to the tennis world of the 70s and 80s. On Thursday, several sports icons met at the Cannes Film Festival for the premiere of the film documentary “Nasty” about the eccentric Romanian tennis star Ilia Nastase (77). In addition to Nastase and his wife Ioana (48), the Frenchman Henri Leconte (60) and the Iranian ball magician Mansour Bahrami (68), Boris Becker (56) and his former explorer and manager Ion Tiriac (85) also appeared on the red carpet together the Cote d’Azur. It became clear once again: The two have a very special relationship – for life.

Debt, bankruptcy and imprisonment: In recent years, Becker has made a name for himself with his financial escapades. What many forget about it: Becker tore the “white sport” out of its slumber in the 80s and made it colorful again. He cursed, threw rackets and himself onto the Wimbledon lawn and pushed an entire nation forward with his Becker fist. Becker was an identification figure and bon vivant, a modern rock star in shorts. All of this also applied to a number of eccentric gentlemen a decade earlier. Characters like Jimmy Connors (71), John McEnroe (65) and, last but not least, the Romanian Ilie Nastase made life on the court as difficult as possible for the Swedish silent player Björn Borg (67). They shouted, swore and insulted referees and opponents. The tennis court became a stage – the sport boomed.

The fact that Becker was able to inherit the legacy of the 70s heroes is mainly thanks to two people: his former trainer Günther Bosch (81) and his long-time manager Ion Tiriac. The two former work colleagues and tennis professionals discovered the Leimen youth player in 1984, believed in him and gave him and themselves a successful and lucrative future. Back in 1985, Becker’s bright star rose with the sensational victory at Wimbledon and was to remain in tennis heaven for a long time. In the same year, Nastase ended his active career and went into politics. Tiriac then formed the Becker brand in a way previously unknown in German individual sports. Both earned millions, which, as is well known, they managed differently. While Tiriac has an estimated fortune of almost two billion euros, Becker has ruined many a business.

Divorces, separations, bankruptcy, debts and imprisonment: After years of negative headlines – both professionally and privately – Becker made his comeback on the red carpet at the Berlinale 2023. Together with his new partner Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro (33), he posed to the photographers beaming with joy in the spirit of a new beginning. In Berlin he not only presented the documentary with the telling title “Boom! Boom! The World vs. Boris Becker.” Afterwards he also answered a few sensitive questions. For example, whether he shouldn’t have listened to his ex-manager better. Becker’s short and clear answer: “Yes!”

Their business paths had officially separated again in 1993. The thirty years in between don’t seem to have damaged the relationship. Also in 2023, Becker said about Tiriac: “He is a father substitute for me to this day. I lost my father in 1999. And although we no longer worked together professionally, I always had the feeling that I could call him as a father. And he told me the right thing most of the time.” Tiriac, who lost his own father at the age of nine, knows what Becker is talking about. On April 17, Becker posted a picture with Tiriac on Instagram and meaningfully wrote: “United with my Romanian family.”

At the premiere of “Nasty” both “substitute son” Becker and “father substitute” Tiriac paid Ilie Nastase the honor. Nastase was often “nasty” by verbally influencing his opponent and the outcome of a match – just like Boris Becker in his best times. Both were beloved heroes who left their hearts on the field. Outside the court, they are united by their love for women and life itself. It is not for nothing that Becker appears as a testimonial in the Nastase documentary. He understands how Nastase must have thought and felt. Before the premiere room, Becker said about Nastase: “He was a character, a personality, a real showman.” The premiere of the documentary in Cannes was very well received by the audience. Nastase received a standing ovation once again in his life, as a short Instagram video shows. A reaction that Boris Becker also wants from the general German public for his life’s work.