EFELondon

Legendary German tennis player Boris Becker, winner of six Grand Slam tournaments, said that his professional career had a major impact on his personal life, especially since he started his career at such a young age.

The former player discussed in an interview with British magazine Radio Times published on Tuesday the love affair he had with Russian model Angela Ermakova when he was married to his first wife Barbara Feltus.

In 1999, after a devastating loss in the fourth round of Wimbledon against Australia's Patrick Rafter, the then 32-year-old Becker left his pregnant wife at the hotel and had a tryst with Ermakova at a nearby restaurant.

The affair, which the player initially denied, resulted in a costly divorce for Becker and, nine months later, the birth of his daughter Anna, now 15 years old, from Ermakova.

"We were all stupid and not mature. Tennis wasn't always easy, and my Wimbledon experience wasn't always pleasant. My life was so much about me then. I was too self-centered," he acknowledged.

"I've grown up, and I'm happy. My daughter Anna is one of the best things in my life... I'm very proud of my daughter," he added.

Now 47 years old, Becker went through his many health problems as a result of his "intense" career: "I have two new hips. The right ankle isn't perfect. I have a limp. I feel it most of the time - worse if I fly. These are my battle scars."

"Playing tennis has had its consequences in my life," he noted, pointing that when he won Wimbledon, he was still growing up, but now he cannot even run.

About living in the United Kingdom, Becker said: "Here I'm given space. People will politely say, 'Hello, nice you're here,' and then walk on. I'm not national property. German people feel an entitlement, that they own me."

Becker, who was sentenced in 2002 to two years' probation for tax evasion from 1991 to 1993, criticized the Wimbledon organization for forcing players to wear white and placing microphones on the court.

"Players are human beings and get pissed off if they serve a double fault, but they have to behave or get fined," Becker said.