Boris Becker was the poster-boy of 1980s tennis, the 17-year-old upstart who turned Wimbledon on its head. He possessed a howitzer serve, a gambler’s swagger and a habit – at once exhilarating and alarming – of diving full-length in pursuit of seemingly irretrievable balls. No match was complete without the sight of Becker crashing to the ground like a cold-cocked prizefighter. Most times, he bounced straight back to his feet.
In 2018, the Oscar-winning film-maker Alex Gibney – a keen player himself – began preparing a documentary on Becker’s colourful life and times. He envisaged the film as a celebration, a rollicking portrait of a sporting giant. But events intruded, the law intervened and his picture took a more dramatic route. “You never know what you’re going to find when you start to make a film,” Gibney says. “With a documentary, you write the script at the end not the beginning, based on what you discover along the way.”