Former tennis champion Boris Becker spoke in an interview for the first time after he went to prison for bankruptcy offenses, calling it the “worst time of my life.”

“It was the loneliest moment I’ve ever had in life,” he told the German television station Sat 1 on Tuesday.

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The 55-year-old was sentenced to 30 months in prison for hiding assets and illicitly transferring large sums of money after he declared bankruptcy in 2017. The German athlete was released early after serving only eight months of his sentence.

He recalled his time in prison, saying he feared he’d be attacked by other inmates and experienced true hunger for the first time. He said he was threatened by multiple inmates, including one who was serving time for multiple murders.

Becker got emotional during the interview, recalling the loneliness he endured.

“In prison, you are a nobody. You are only a number,” he said. “Mine was A2923EV. I wasn’t called Boris, I was a number. And nobody gives a shit who you are.”

The three-time Wimbledon champion said he studied stoic philosophy and taught fellow prisoners math and English during his sentence. He expressed his gratitude for letters he received from fans and friends, and for the friends he made in prison.

He also admitted that he learned from his mistakes.

“I trusted the wrong people and in the end I got lazy,” he said. “Jail time brought me back. It gave me a second chance. Now it’s up to me to continue this path. That’s why I think prison was good for me.”

At one point, Becker tried to claim diplomatic immunity – due to his post as a UN ambassador – to prevent him from going to prison.

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