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Former Tennis Star Boris Becker Reveals Earlier Drug Addiction - 2003-11-04

Former world number-one tennis player Boris Becker of Germany has revealed he was a drug addict.

The three-time Wimbledon champion, who is putting out his autobiography, titled Wait, Stay a Moment says he started taking sleeping pills in 1987 and did not kick the habit until five years later in 1992.

Germany's mass-circlation tabloid Bild is running excerpts from the book this week. Becker says the book will be released next week in more than 50 countries.

The 35-year-old says the pressure of professional tennis, including the desire to be the best and the rigorous schedule, also led him to take pain killers. The German athlete also said loneliness contributed to a drinking problem.

Becker won his first Wimbledon title in 1985 at the age of 17 making him the youngest champion at that Grand Slam event. He then became the world's top-ranked player and one of Germany's biggest sports heroes. In the 1990 Wimbledon final against Sweden's Stefan Edberg, Becker says he was half asleep after taking sleeping pills overnight. He was late for the match and ended up losing in five sets.

Becker retired from the game for good after playing in his last Wimbledon in 1999. Among his various problems in life, he's gone through a messy divorce, he had an affair and fathered a child with Russian-born model Angela Ermakova and was convicted for tax evasion. He is now the father of three and says he has his life together.