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Konrad Werner: Boris Becker’s political antennae

Everyone's favourite ginger German garnered much mockery this week for congratulating Angela Merkel on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Pff. Same diff.

Image for Konrad Werner: Boris Becker's political antennae
Photo by Studio Harcourt Paris

Everyone’s favourite German ginger garnered much mockery this week for congratulating Angela Merkel on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Two months after the announcement was made, Boris Becker tweeted: “Great admirer of Angela Merkel! I am very proud and becoming a patriot as she won the Nobel Peace Prize!!!”

Some sad hair-splitter then pointed out that, you know, Merkel hadn’t actually won the prize, it was the European Union. “Pff,” thought the unapologetic tennis legend, “same diff. I don’t know much about politics, but even I know THAT” – a thought which he condensed into the pithy: “So practically her.”

This caused what the Germans call a “shitstorm” among his 140,000-plus followers – not so much for the nonchalant identification of the person of Angela Merkel with the 27-nation political bloc – it’s difficult to argue against that case in the same week that Merkel gave a speech to the Bundestag thanking the EU for doing everything that she said – but for the bad grammar (the Austrian Kurier newspaper sniffily entitled its coverage of the “shitstorm”, “Four mistakes in two Twitter-lines”) and the revelation that Becker is proud of being German.

“Boris, if you are so patriotic why do you pay your taxes in Switzerland?” asked one sardonic tweeter, pointing out the one chink in Boris’ armour. “I will become a patriot on the day that @Becker_Boris has his citizenship revoked for sheer unbelievable idiocy,” another tweeter squawked more pointedly.

All these barbs bounced off Boris’ leonine noggin like a puny novice’s serve on a lawn court. “Bare jealousy, resentment, and schadenfreude coming out of my mobile,” he shot back. “Hahaha in London they say ‘get a life’…” [sic]

Even better, his fans rallied to his defence, many of them calling for Boris’ right to “freedom of speech” to be respected, even though no one had proposed depriving him of that. Difficult to enforce, anyway. One person cryptically wrote, “People. @Becker_Boris was at least as important for my childhood as Luke Skywalker. He can twitter what he wants.” [sic] Even more cryptically, another offered, “Hahaha, I celebrate @Becker_Boris! He twitters what he wants and not what the media wants to read.” [sic]

In other words, the media wants to “read” that the EU won the Nobel Peace Prize. But Boris says no. Fucking Merkel won it. She better go to Oslo. Now.