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Interview With John Hopkins Director Of Emergency Dr. Joseph Sakran; Interview With Former U.S. Ambassador To Israel Martin Indyk; Interview With Six-Time Tennis Grand Slam Champion Boris Becker; Interview With "Boom! Boom! The World Vs. Boris Becker" Director Alex Gibney. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired March 28, 2023 - 13:00:00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. And welcome to AMANPOUR. Here is what's coming up.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: It's ripping our communities apart, ripping a soulless nation, ripping the very soul of the nation.


AMANPOUR: American tragedy. American failure. Once again, a heavily armed assailant guns down innocents at school. I speak with Dr. Joseph Sakran,

trauma surgeon and gun violence survivor.



BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): This is our goal, is to reach agreement, both among you and among ourselves.


AMANPOUR: Benjamin Netanyahu buys more time after pausing his polarizing judicial overhaul. Walter Isaacson speaks with Martin Indyk, the former

U.S. Ambassador to Israel.



BORIS BECKER, SIX-TIME TENNIS GRAND SLAM CHAMPION: If a present doesn't humble you, I don't know what will.


AMANPOUR: From grand slam champion to the slammer. I speak with tennis legend Boris Becker and Oscar winning director Alex Gibney about the new

documentary on Becker's dramatic rise and fall and redemption.

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

And we begin with a photograph taken by a Nashville journalist that sadly says it all, a child weeping on a school bus as she is evacuated from the

scene of the latest American horror. It's one day after another mass shooting, this time at a private Christian elementary school in Nashville,

Tennessee. Raising the same old yet vital unanswered questions. How long will this remain the norm? How long before government steps in to actually

save lives and anguish like they have after such disasters in many other democratic nations. President Biden sounds exasperated.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I have done the full extent of my executive authority to do on my own anything about guns. The Congress, I have to add

(ph), the majority of the American people think having an assault weapon is bizarre.


AMANPOUR: Bizarre indeed. Firearms are the leading cause of death amongst American children and adolescents aged between one and 19. And in

Nashville, three children were among the six slaughtered at their school. Earlier today, the Mayor, John Cooper, wrestled with the same questions

that so many are asking.


MAYOR JOHN COOPER, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE: Everybody that's attending every vigil in Nashville feels that there needs to be a public response to this

kind of tragedy and to say enough is enough. And when are we going to learn? And we're grieving city right now. And guns can be second amendment,

for sure, but they can also be a little bit of a cult and let's not -- let's keep them out of the hands of people who should not be having them.


AMANPOUR: A bit of a cult indeed. Nashville police called the attack calculated and planned. My guest tonight, Joseph Sakran is, himself, a

survivor of gun violence. At 17, he survived a bullet wound to the throat. And now he's a trauma surgeon in Baltimore, Maryland.

Dr. Sakran, welcome to the program. So, as we said, and I'm sure -- you know, you see it through your trauma rooms in the emergency rooms. Firearms

are the leading cause of death between one and 19. Now, they're not all must shootings, but they're firearm deaths. What are you seeing in your

trauma rooms right now?

DR. JOSEPH SAKRAN, DIRECTOR OF EMERGENCY SERVICES, JOHNS HOPKINS: Yes. Well, thanks so much for having me. And I just, you know, want to say how

tragic it is that we continue to wake up day after day in America watching our children being slaughtered in schools. And you're absolutely right, for

the first time in 40 years, firearm injury has eclipsed motor vehicle crashes and motor vehicle fatalities to become the leading cause of death

in children and adolescents.

And I just want you to think about that for a second. It's not cancer. It's not poisonings. It's not car crashes. It's gun related injury. And we're

seeing this not only as you appropriately articulated in mass shootings, but we're seeing this every day in cities like Baltimore, Philadelphia,

Chicago. And of course, it's disproportionately impacting communities of color.


It's absolutely tragic and it's preventable. And we have both the opportunity and the responsibility to tackle this public health problem in

a way that allows us to prevent these kids, these babies from being killed on our streets and in our schools.

AMANPOUR: Can I just ask you because it's clear that this is a major issue for you because of what you've been through and the fact that you are a bit

of an activist, trying to get a sensible, you know, sensible laws around this. And I know that you've been up all night, you had overnight duty, and

so you're tired as well. Remind our viewers how you -- what was the circumstance of you getting a bullet wound to the throat and surviving.

DR. SAKRAN: Yes. So, I come to this conversation, you know, where I was a healthy high school senior. And I was hanging out after high school

football game with friends, the way teenagers do. And a fight broke out that we had nothing to do with, and a guy pulled out a gun and started

firing into the crowd. And I got hit in the throat with a .38 caliber bullet.

And at that point in my life, you know, I was 17. I had no idea what I wanted to do in life. And that moment really inspired me. Inspired me to go

into medicine and inspired me to become a trauma surgeon to honestly be able to give other people the same second chance that I was given.

And what I've realized going down this path is that despite how good we may think we are as health care professionals, despite how excellent or trauma

centers maybe, the best medical treatment is prevention. And that's why we have been, as health care professionals, advocating and working at this

intersection of medicine, public health and public policy to really approach this as the public health problem that it is.

AMANPOUR: And do you think enough Americans who are sitting on the sidelines, not those who have lost their loved ones to these terrible

wounds. But do you think people in Congress or elsewhere, local officials, people who are resisting what the majority of Americans want, which is

sensible gun control, do you think they know what these bullets due to the bodies of their families? Do you think they know what it looks like to see

a shot-up victim of an assault rifle that has no business being anywhere except on -- in a war zone?

DR. SAKRAN: Yes, I actually don't think that they do. And in fact, I think that this conversation right around these shootings, we've become so

desensitized, right? And this aren't just shootings, these are massacres.

And frankly, you know, when you think about the people that actually really understand the carnage that's happening on our streets in America, it's

those children that are witness to it. It's those parents that have to identify those bodies. It's the frontline providers like law enforcement

and health care professionals and medical examiners that get this unique glimpse into the devastating destruction that these weapons do. And in

fact, we just finished working with an incredible team at "The Washington Post" to help kind of illustrate and outline what, you know, assault rifles

and handguns do to the human body.

AMANPOUR: Well, I don't want you to do physically describe it because it's horrible. And I'm sure this retraumatizes you and perhaps traumatizes the

number of professionals you've just -- you know, from the from the medical examiner to the doctors and nurses for the funeral directors. You know, all

those people who come across this all the time.

DR. SAKRAN: Yes, it's tragic. I mean, you know, in the moment, of course, we as health care professionals are making one methodical decision after

the other to try to save that person's life. But I think for a long time we've pushed aside and frankly swallowed the mental and emotional trauma

that exists from having to take care of these often-young people that are being injured and killed.

And so, there's you know, an opportunity in this, you know, kind of a term that we use, the second victim effect, which is all these people that

surround the person that's injured. And this also happens to us in communities when you think about the families that are impacted, the

communities that are decimated. And a country that continues to be retraumatized time and time again. I cannot accept this as a reality for

America, and I don't think any of us should.

AMANPOUR: Dr. Sakran, you just mentioned the joint investigation that you participated with "The Washington Post".


And numerous studies, they say, have found that laws not just restricting these assault rifles, but also restricting magazine sizes actually reduces

casualties. Do you agree with that?

DR. SAKRAN: Yes. So, I think when you look at this problem, the most important thing to understand is that there is no one solution. That's why

it's a complex public health problem. So, it requires us to really implement a multifaceted, multidisciplinary approach. And that also, is as

it relates to the policies that they -- the different policies that we need to pass.

So, part of it is, you know, getting -- you know, regulating the assault weapons, but also, as you said, limiting the magazines. There's no reason

someone should have 100 round drum. And you can imagine the type of casualty and destruction you can cause with that.

AMANPOUR: You heard -- we played a little bit of soundbite from President Biden today, where he did sound exasperated and specifically said, I have

gone to the limit of what I can do using executive orders, now it's up to Congress. Well, today, CNN managed to talk to Senator John Cornyn,

Republican of Texas.

Here's what he said, and I need to quote it. He said, "I would say we've gone about as far as we can go, unless somebody identifies some areas that

we didn't address. The president just keeps coming back to the same old tired talking points. So, he's not offering any new solutions or ideas. If

he does, I think we should consider them, but so far, I haven't heard anything.

Is that correct that they -- it's the same old tired talking points that get put across, you know, to Congress or is he dodging this issue?

DR. SAKRAN: Well, let me say first that I was glad to see the Senator Cornyn, you know, joined in helping pass the bipartisan Safer Communities

Act. But the reality is there is more that we can do. That was the first step. We can do things like expanding the universal background checks and

closing those loopholes, right? The Brady Background Checks to make sure that people they shouldn't have firearms. Don't get their hands on it. We

can do things like ensuring that we regulate assault weapons and magazine sizes, like we're discussing. We can ensure that we're having extremist

protection orders in every state.

So, I would respectfully disagree that there's nothing else that we can do. And the reality is that no one person or one organization is going to be

able to solve this problem. This is not a, you know, Republican issue, it's not a Democratic issue, right? It's a uniquely American issue. And we have

the responsibility to put our children first.


DR. SAKRAN: I'm willing to bet you that if you were to ask people, right, how many more? And if you ask them if it was their family member, that

answer would be zero. And I know that sounds hypothetical, right, to all people, kind of, sit at home in their living rooms. But the reality is

that, you know, if one of us are not safe, none of us are safe. And so, we have to really, you know, move forward and come together and get off the

sidelines of history as described.

AMANPOUR: Well, you know, doctor, as you're speaking, it's very powerful and very sensible. And yet people who are elected to high office continue

to fetishize the -- what they believe the cult, as the mayor of Nashville said, about owning and using guns. So much so that we see this picture of

Representative Andy Ogles, he's the Republican from Tennessee in a Christmas photo in 2021, he posts this picture -- I hope we have it, which

shows him posing with his family all carrying guns by the Christmas tree. His district is the site of the shooting yesterday.

So, before I ask you what goes through your mind when that kind of picture is sent out, I'd also like to play a little bit from him when he was

buttonholed by CNN's Manu Raju about this last incident, listen.



REP. ANDY OGLES (R-TN): Why not talk about the real issue facing this country in regard to the shooting, which would be mental health?


AMANPOUR: So, a man who posts himself with his family and his children carrying guns now blames it on mental health. Clearly, there are mental

health problems everywhere. Is that the real problem, doctor?

DR. SAKRAN: Yes. So, let me first say that, you know, I've seen that picture and it's just honestly incredibly sad that instead of putting books

in the hands of his children, they're putting those weapons. What type of message are they trying to send to the country? And when you talk about

mental health, let's be clear about something, most people with mental illness are more likely to be victims rather than perpetrators.


And so, I think we have to move away, you know, from this concept where we, you know, blame this on X, Y and Z. The reality is in America, we have easy

access to firearms. And when you think about that concept, right, and you take easy access, and you add that plus hate, plus impulsivity, you know,

plus, you know, fear of safety. All of those can end up in a very tragic scenario. And so, I think we really have to focus on ensuring that we're

limiting the easy access of firearms so people that shouldn't have them are not able to get them.

AMANPOUR: And in our last 30 seconds, other countries, this one Britain, Australia and there are many others, all gun loving countries. They like to

hunt. Australia's a meat producing country. They have had their tragedies. They have managed by -- New Zealand, bipartisan and rapid control that

stops this. And it's not possible in your country for some reason.

DR. SAKRAN: Yes, and that's exactly right. I mean, we have seen, you know, time and time again, whether you think about, you know, the Port Arthur

massacre or what happened in New Zealand, right? The difference is those legislators refused to simply, you know, stand by and have these types of

events happen again. And I think you know the reality here is that as Americans, we have a lot more in common than we have that divide this. This

is about responsible gun ownership, and we have the responsibility to put our children first.


DR. SAKRAN: So, you know, I think we need to do better.

AMANPOUR: We hear you loud and clear. Dr. Joseph Sakran, thank you so much indeed for joining us tonight.

Now, in Israel, after pausing his controversial plan to overhaul the independent judiciary, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes the

country will, "Overcome" what he calls a great debate. Protesters are still gathering, though, with the bill set to return to parliament next month if

no compromise is reached. Netanyahu's plans are testing the U.S.-Israel relationship as well. The former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk,

joins Walter Isaacson now to discuss how it does impact their alliance.


WALTER ISAACSON, CNN HOST: Thank you, Christiane. And ambassador Martin Indyk, welcome to the show.

MARTIN INDYK, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL: Thank you, Walter. It's really a pleasure to be with you.

ISAACSON: You were in Israel last week, part of a delegation from the United States and you stayed in extra couple of days because you wanted to

attend the demonstrations. As somebody who's been in the ambassador from the United States and Israel twice, that seems slightly unusual. Why did

you do it and what did you say and see?

INDYK: Unusual indeed, because I don't think I've been in a protests and demonstrations since I demonstrated for a Soviet jury 50 years ago when

Natan Sharansky was in trial. But I am so concerned about the way in which this effort by the Netanyahu government to promote a judicial restructuring

and curb the independence of the Israeli Supreme Court. So concerned about the effect on Israel's democracy and therefore its effect on the U.S.-

Israel relationship, which is where I lived as a former U.S. ambassador to Israel. That I really wanted to see it firsthand and also lend my voice to

those who were protesting.

ISAACSON: You've talked about the effect it will have on the U.S.-Israeli relationship. Why will it have such an effect?

INDYK: Well, the U.S.-Israel relationship is often referred to as a special relationship. What makes it special is that it's not only based on

common interests, strategic interests in the region, but it's also based on common democratic values. And that is something that the Israelis have been

very proud of. Touting effect that the only democracy in the Middle East. But the bipartisan support from Israel which is long been strong, deep,

broad really depends on the fact that Americans see Israel as a fellow democracy in a dangerous part of the world.

ISAACSON: Let me read a tweet that you came out with and what you said, soon pausing the legislation will not be enough to restore normalcy. The

revolt is turning into a revolution. What does that mean? Now that he's paused, can he just stop this or is this something deeper than just the

judicial changes?

INDYK: Well, if Netanyahu concedes to his opposition, he risks his coalition and he's coalition could fall apart. If he if he doesn't, as I

was saying, the opposition knows the way back to the square.


And will, you know, pursue civil disobedience, widespread demonstrations, shutting the country down as they did yesterday. And so, given that, I

think it's going to be extremely difficult to work out a compromise.

ISAACSON: You've known Prime Minister Netanyahu, Bibi Netanyahu, as you call him for decades. I mean, you've really dealt with him for a long time.

Tell me why he's doing this.

INDYK: Well, this is not the Bibi that I knew. I worked with him when I was ambassador to Israel in the 1990s during the Clinton administration. I

worked with him again when I became Barack Obama and John Kerry's special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations back in 2013. And I have

known Netanyahu to be a particularly skillful politician, very good at playing the complicated game of maintaining his coalition. That's why he's

the longest serving Israeli prime minister in Israel's history.

But this Netanyahu, this new prime minister has forged a coalition of the far right and orthodox religious parties. And this has seemed to upset his

balance and his normal skill at calculating how far he can go. He seems to have been completely caught unawares by the opposition that this judicial

restructuring generated.

ISAACSON: You say that he's created this coalition of the far right, the extreme religious parties. Is some of the onus on the centrist that, you

know, you've known for so long, like Benny Gantz and Tzipi Livni and others who did not work with him and try to form a centrist government.

INDYK: Well, I don't think it's fair to blame them. You referenced Benny Gantz, who -- lead to centrist party. He was prepared to join Netanyahu,

joined his previous government on the basis that they would rotate the prime ministership. Netanyahu went first and then did everything he could,

successfully, to undermine the relationship and force the government to fall apart. So, Gantz was humiliated by Netanyahu. And I think it's not

unreasonable that he doesn't want to be humiliated again.

The others, and it's not just the centrist parties, there are right wing parties and factions that also refused to join with Netanyahu. Partly

because he's undermined their trust in him and partly because he's under indictment for -- on charges of -- he's being prosecuted on charges of

fraud, bribery and breach of trust.

ISAACSON: Are those charges part of his personal calculation of why he's doing this?

INDYK: Indeed, I think that it's hard to explain it any other way because the one piece of legislation that he has insisted on, he agreed to defer

the other package of laws designed to curb the judiciary. But the one that he insisted on and the one that caused this blow up in the last few days

was the one that would enable him to stay in court. And thereby try to ensure that that court, the Supreme Court, when it faced an appeal if he

was convicted, would not send him to jail.

ISAACSON: When he was running, was this part of his platform? Did the people vote for this?

INDYK: It wasn't part of his platform. His platform was focused on basically deterring Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold and making

peace with Saudi Arabia or expanding the Abraham Accords. The Likud members of his party was surprised when this suddenly became the issue that he

started to push.

ISAACSON: Well, other than Defense Minister Gallant, we haven't had a whole lot of push back though from within his own party. Why not?

INDYK: Well, I think that there -- they have been, for a long time, fearful to challenge him. Netanyahu has very strong control over the Likud

rank and file. He's popular amongst them. And so --

ISAACSON: Does that remind you of Trump at all?


INDYK: Well, increasingly so. A smarter version of Donald Trump. But, you know, Netanyahu's agenda here of trying to impact the court has a certain

resonance when it comes to Trump's activities as well.

ISAACSON: When you were in Israel, you met with your -- one of your successors, Tom Nides, the U.S. ambassador to Israel. And I saw that this

morning he was saying, making a real point of saying, Netanyahu will come visit Washington. This is going to happen. He's invited. Why would the

ambassadors say that?

INDYK: Well, Ambassador Nides is doing a fantastic job in really difficult circumstances. Up until now, the White House has avoided setting a date for

Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit to Washington. Why is this important is because it's customary for every newly elected Israeli prime minister to

make his first visit to Washington within weeks of being sworn in.

And yet, no date has been set, it's more than three months now. And this is because the president, I think, wants to send a signal to Netanyahu that he

needs to clean up things first before he comes.

ISAACSON: So, what you're saying is that the interesting thing about what ambassador Nides said was not that, of course, he will come, but the fact

that they did not set a date. So, this is not something that -- it's what we might call a southern invitation of come by at some point?

INDYK: Right. Exactly. At the appropriate time. And the appropriate time hasn't come yet until Netanyahu cleans up his act. Now, the president has

intervened twice, personally, with Netanyahu to get him to back off. And I suspect -- I haven't spoken to the Ambassador Nides in the last couple of

days, but I suspect that there may be some kind of understanding that now that Netanyahu has heeded the president's call to back off the legislation

that they'll look to set a date for him to come visit.

But I think that it will depend in part on how things go in the negotiations that are now going to take place under the leadership of

President Herzog. He's going to try to bring the opposition government together to try to work out a compromise before the Knesset convenes again

in one month.

ISAACSON: You're writing a piece, I think, today even that will be published tomorrow in which you're not optimistic that negotiations can

resolve this in a month. Why not and what then?

INDYK: Well, I think the two sides are very far apart. The government coalition of far-right religious parties and orthodox religious parties

want to curb the judiciary in order to stop the court from intervening and preventing the annexation of private Palestinian land in the West Bank. And

in order to give up the religious parties' Yeshiva students exemptions, prominent exemptions from joining the Israeli army, from being conscripted.

So, they have a high stake on this. On the other side, the opposition feels its power. It succeeded in backing the prime minister down. It's defending

Israel's democracy and trying to reclaim the country for the future that it cares about. And it knows the way back to the streets and the reservists

know how to threaten not to serve, and the high-tech community knows how to threaten to take its capital and entrepreneurship out of the country.

ISAACSON: This was huge, what happened, in Israel. Taking to the streets, shutting down the economy for a while. Do you think this may be part of a

global trend where people are pushing back against authoritarianism?

INDYK: You know, you mentioned that I was in the demonstrations. That's what impressed me most, was that this was a huge manifestation of secular

Israelis demanding that the democracy be protected. The chant was democrazia (ph), democrazia (ph). And I was surprised and heartened by the

commitment to democracy. That was -- so, I was strongly manifested there. So, I hope it will be a demonstration and a clarion core to all of us in in

democracies that are threatened to stand up for our rights.


ISAACSON: You say that the demonstrators you're with, these huge crowds, were secular Israelis, for the most part.

INDYK: Uh-huh.

ISAACSON: Why is there been and how bad is the divide now in Israel between the secular political parties that want democracy and the religious


INDYK: What's happened recently is that secular Israelis have become increasingly concerned by the growth in numbers, the demographic numbers

which suggests that the orthodox Israelis who -- whose birth rate is much higher than secular Israelis will eventually, in 20 years or so, become

dominant and. And what concerns secular Israelis is that the orthodox Israelis, you know, often -- they're poor. They depend on handouts from the

state for their schools and for their children.

And so, this -- and they don't -- many of them, vast majority had done serving the army, either where there's supposed to be universal

conscription. So, secular Israelis feel like they're threatened with becoming a minority, but bearing the burden of paying the taxes and serving

in the army. And so, that sense of inequity has been fueling this on the one side. On the other side, the growing numbers and zealotry has enabled

them now to form a government of the right and far right.

And so, they have a majority, democratically elected, and they feel that they have the legitimacy to advance their agenda, which includes, as we've

been discussing, curbing the independence of the Supreme Court. So, both sides -- I think, one side feels increasingly threatened. The other side

feels increasingly empowered. And that's made it far more difficult to reconcile these different tribes.

ISAACSON: Your trip to Israel was part of a group called the Middle East Investment Initiative which tries to help economic development in the

Palestinian territories and with Israel's blessing. To what extent, do you think, this whole situation we face now makes it harder to have an Israeli-

Palestinian peace?

INDYK: Well, it's important to understand that while all of this is going on inside Israel, tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have been

growing fairly dramatically in the last three months. I think it's 88 Palestinians have been killed, 16 Israelis have been killed and increasing

violence. And we're heading into -- Ramadan has already started. Passover is about to start and Easter. And that is the period of usually high

tensions and high friction between Israelis and Palestinians in the holy sites in East Jerusalem where they come into contact.

And so, there's a real concern, independent of what's happening inside Israel that Israeli-Palestinian conflict could erupt again. In all of

intifada, the Palestinian authority, is probably doesn't control any of the cities outside of Ramallah. These Palestinian militant youth who don't

remember the last intifada attitude (ph) by what happened there have access to weapons and a target rich environment of settlers. And so, the -- that -

- their activity is increasing, the terrorism, and the Israeli army is responding to that.

And so, it's kind of feels like all the vectors are pointing in the wrong direction here. And Israel, meantime, is preoccupied with its internal

divisions. And while it's trying, we've got Netanyahu who doesn't want to blow up, so he's trying to calm things down there and make some concessions

here and there to the Palestinians. Those who have been disavowed by his far-right ministers, Smotrich and Ben-Gvir who are inciting settler

vigilantes to take action against Palestinians. So, the combination is very disturbing.

ISAACSON: Ambassador Martin Indyk, thank you so much for joining us.

INDYK: Thank you, Walter.



AMANPOUR: And indeed, there are concerns about what might happen and what might come to a boil as Ambassador Indyk said over Ramadan and throughout

this season now.

But we turn next to a dramatic story from the sports world. Tennis legend Boris Becker became the youngest man ever to win Wimbledon at the age of

just 17. He went on to rack up 49 career titles, six Grand Slams and Olympic gold. Before off-court, personal dramas and financial disasters

resulted in bankruptcy and a prison centers.

A new documentary called "Boom! Boom! The World vs. Boris Becker" tracks Becker's rise, fall and path through redemption. And here's a clip.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The wake-up call came very late.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Boris Becker is facing two and a half years in jail for hiding assets during bankruptcy.

BORIS BECKER, SIX-TIME TENNIS GRAND SLAM CHAMPION: I've hit my bottom, that's not the end yet. There's going to be another chapter.


AMANPOUR: Boris and the Oscar winning Director Alex Gibney joined me to talk about Becker's path from the podium to prison and beyond.


AMANPOUR: Boris Becker and Alex Gibney, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: Yes, and good to see you, Boris.

BECKER: Thank you very much for having us.

AMANPOUR: Yes, it's good to see you out and about, Boris. And I just wanted to ask you, what does it feel like now? I mean, how do you feel like

being free? Do you feel free?

BECKER: It feels great. You only appreciate freedom once you've been incarcerated. Let me tell you, it's a different lifestyle, it's a different

world. I've been out now over three months and I'm happy to be, you know, here alive and speaking to you.

AMANPOUR: So, as it was written, you were inmate number 82923EV, first at Wandsworth Prison and then at a different one. I think everybody will want

to know what it was like. Were you scared inside? Was it violent as we hear it can be in a prison? Were you given special celebrity status?

BECKER: Well, it was at HMP Wandsworth and then at HMP Huntercombe. And prison life is a very dangerous place. I watched a couple of movies before,

anxious to prepare myself a little bit. But I didn't expect it like that. It's very scary. It's a real punishment. I mean, prison is supposed to be

like that, but it's a real punishment, taking away, you know, your freedom, your livelihood. The only thing, the only currency you have is your

character and your personality literally. And you better make friends with the strong boys because you need protection. You need a group of people

that look out for you.

AMANPOUR: Alex, what was it about Boris and, you know, you used -- divide the two halves into triumph and disaster which reflects the famous Rudyard

Kipling line of a poem that the players see as they exit the dressing rooms onto the center court at Wimbledon. What was it about Boris that made you

want to, you know, commit four or so hours of TV to his story?

GIBNEY: Well, it didn't originally start as a four-hour docu, it was going to be a feature doc. But I was originally intrigued by doing a doc about

Boris because I was a huge tennis fan, of course. And Boris was -- is one of the great players of all time. So, when John Battsek approached me and

said, you know, would you be interested in doing this? I, you know, I told him you had me at Boris.

But I think that the other thing that was interesting to me. I'd seen a Boris play a kind of a cameo role in a film called "Love Means Zero". And

it's rare when you get an athlete of Boris's stature who can talk as eloquently as Boris can about the sport. And also, about kind of the

interior game, the psychological elements of tennis. So, it was Boris's skill as a player but also as a storyteller that really intrigued me to do

the story.

AMANPOUR: And was it a little bit, Alex, a sort of a redemption story, if indeed, we believe we're at redemption point right now. Because you've done

several personal profiles of, you know, big name people who've had their rise and their fall and maybe their rise again.

GIBNEY: That's right. And I think the film ends -- I mean, you know, we began to explore a little bit more deeply some of the circumstances that

led Boris into prison, and indeed we did a long interview with Boris just three days before he was sentenced, when he didn't know what exactly was

going to happen to him. And it was at that moment that he was reckoning very honestly with his life in a way that's quite powerful, I think in the

film. But at the very end of the story, the glimpse which -- the glimpse at the end of the story is of a redemption story.


That is to say, he made some mistakes. He's paid for them. And now there's an opportunity for Boris to write a new chapter.

AMANPOUR: So, Boris before we talk about your new chapter, and actually a little bit more about everything that went into the prison chapter. I want

to play a clip from the film, and I'm sure everybody who's a tennis fan or anybody who's a Boris fan, who knows about you will remember this. This is

one of your major victories, in fact, during your comeback. This is against Andre Agassi. We're just going to play this for a moment.


AMANPOUR: Well, there you are. It's a bit of a comeback. It's typical you, the facial expressions, the shots. It was you at your height. And I wonder,

I know you can hear it, I don't know whether you could see it but I watched you listening to that clip. What is the flashback you have when you

remember the glory days.

BECKER: First of all, it was never easy. There was always a bit of a struggle. I usually would lose the first set, sometimes even the second

set. But the most important point is the last point, not the first point, and I'm my plan is to win my last point. And that's sort of the red line in

all my professional life and private life is that, yes, I go through trials and tribulations. Sometimes, sort of, right or wrong reasons, but I never

give up.

And you know, when Alex talked about the next chapter, I am building my third chapter, you know, probably the last one as we speak. And it's a

challenge. I've had hard life lessons. I'm a curious boy. I always wanted to know whether the plate on the kitchen is hot. And I wouldn't believe my

father when he said it is, I had to put my own hand on it, and I burnt myself. And that's sort of a statement that fits.

I -- yes, I, you know, should have done this, you know, should have done that, but in hindsight you're always smarter. But I've done what I've done.

I've paid my dues and I'm ready for a comeback.

AMANPOUR: There's so much to unpick in what you just said. Do you actually feel humbled?

BECKER: Look, if prison doesn't humble you, I don't know what will. You know, when you literally lose everything and you go into a really small

cell for 231 days, if that doesn't humble you then you lost anyway. So, yes, there's enough time of reflection. There's enough time of, you know,

feeling sorry for yourself. But you have to stop that quickly because you have to get up the next day and literally survive every single day you're

inside you. You fight for survival.

And then, of course, you think about the things that shouldn't have done. I mean, you do have good memories, too. I did think about the Agassi match,

maybe once or twice. But then once you get, you know, after a couple of months, you start to be a bit more positive. You think about, you know,

what's going to happen after. You know, at the time, I didn't know yet. I was going to be released after, you know, eight months and six days. I

thought it will be 15 months.

But because of the new law they implemented for me to be deported back to Germany, I took the chance and I signed the document so that's why they

released me on December the 15th last year. And ever since then I've -- I have, you know, time, of course, to not forget where I'm coming from but it

wasn't always bad. You know, I've got some good things. I've got some victories.

I've met, you know, good people along the way, especially the last couple of years when you do struggle. When you're really lost and out and about

you, you know, the amount of people that are with you are leaving by the minute, just a handful of people stayed. And because of them, I never lost

hope. And now they're part of my new group, my new team that is trying to help me come back.

AMANPOUR: OK. So, Alex, let's talk about teams because this is the theme throughout your investigation of Boris for this particular profile. And by

the way, what's with all that western music? Huh?

GIBNEY: Well, that was fun for me to do. I was a big fan of spaghetti westerns. And I kind of wanted to take the game of tennis out of the

genteel world of the tennis club into the into the world of the gunfight. And so, we play that spaghetti western music a number of times --



GIBNEY: -- and even have flashes of certain key players just like they introduced Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef in "The Good, the Bad and the

Ugly". So, I kind of wanted to really get into tennis matches as gunfights between classic rivals. And so, the -- we leaned into that.

AMANPOUR: Well, -- so, in the gunfight, and Boris just talked about how it was the last point that mattered, not the first set, or the second set that

he would lose. And you do talk a little bit about the Houdini effect that Boris had, almost getting himself into a hole in order to get him out of

that hole and win at the end. Was that interesting to you psychologically, Alex? And how do you think it played into the character you investigated

who got himself into such financial trouble?

GIBNEY: Yes, it is interesting -- I mean, a lot of this film is about the psychology of tennis and also, in some ways, the psychology of life. And

what you say this sort of Houdini aspect of Boris's career is something that Boris himself said which was -- you know, we had access to these, sort

of, rushes of a documentary that was made way back in the day, in 1991. And Boris talked about how sometimes he would allow himself or not pay much

attention for the first set or two, until suddenly he was down and down deep. And that caused him to kind of hyperfocus to raise his level of


And on the Tennis court that could be breathtaking to watch. I mean, I remember, you know, him getting down against Evan Lindahl in the finals of

the Australian Open, and then suddenly he came roaring back and then just destroyed Lindahl. But what can be an effective strategy for tennis is not

always a great strategy for life.

And it may be that Boris felt that he could take risks and allow himself into get into holes, thinking that he could get out of them and there are -

- that's harder to do in real life. Particularly when, you know, as an athlete you haven't paid that much attention to financial matters in terms

of taking care of your own business. I mean, at one point, Boris in the film says, you know, I asked him, what other lessons you learned? And he

said, take care of your own stuff. He doesn't say stuff, but you know, we're on CNN.


GIBNEY: So, I think that's -- that Houdini aspect is very impressive on the court and tougher to manage in real life, I think. That's my

interpretation. You will have to ask Boris whether he agrees.

AMANPOUR: Well, I am going to ask Boris that now because I also want you to comment on what Alex just said, Boris, and put it in context to the fact

that you were famous beyond famous. You were the youngest ever and it's still stands. Man, boy at 17 to win Wimbledon. You were -- you became a

total object of, you know, of the public. Everything you did, especially in Germany was under the microscope.

So, comment on what Alex said about the risk taking, the Houdini aspect, the maybe aura of invincibility that followed you throughout your -- not

just your tennis life, but obviously to calamity in your personal life.

BECKER: Look, just the fact that winning Wimbledon at 17 was possible really speaks for that Houdini effect. It's -- you know, you do the

impossible and even more impossible was to defend it at 18 because I still would have been the youngest. So, naturally you feel invincible. You feel,

throw me to the walls, I end up eating them at the end, not the other way around. And that works in the tennis world because we like the great

comebacks of, you know, some of the superstars in the world, you know, golf. You can mention Tiger Woods or basketball, Michael Jordan. You know,

Messi winning the world cup of 35.

This is the great comeback story and I lived it. And naturally when you've been part of that life for 16, 17 years as a professional, that's you.

That's your DNA. That's your mindset. And you don't really hear the word, no. Now, you as a sportsman, they call you, all the 35, you have to start

something new. A second career where you don't know anything.

Of course, you know when you are in a comfortable situation in your comfort zone, you surround yourself with the wrong people. You're not going to get

somebody who criticizes you, you're not going to get somebody that says, that's impossible. I go, who you're talking to? I'm Boris Becker, nothing

is impossible for you.

Well, 20 years later, I've learned the lesson. But at the time, it's just a different philosophy. And of course, I'm a curious guy. Of course, I want

to be in my second career as good as my first year. And of course, I'm bound to take chances, but that's bound to lead to mistakes.


AMANPOUR: OK. So, I want to continue by playing another clip that we're able to play. And this does bring up the whole triumph and disaster element

of this, you know, of this story of your life. Let's just play this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boris Becker, let's start with the basics. Are you bankrupt?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did someone who had won all of these championships, had such a successful life work himself into this situation?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Three-time Wimbledon winner Boris Becker has to answer to court in London today.

BECKER: This is what they're playing for. Turn around. This is the famous poem. It's called "If" by Rudyard Kipling. This is where we wait before we

go out on the center court. We look up and we get a little nervous.

AMANPOUR: You know, so, we heard you say that. We heard the montage of headlines over 2019, sort of, appearance you made on central court looking,

you know, quite reflective. In retrospect, Boris, what should you have done differently? Would -- should you have had been advised differently? Should

you have kept Ion Tiriac? What should you have done, do you think, that could protect you? And when you think of people now like -- I don't know,

Rafael Nadal -- you know, Federer, the others who have managed actually, by and large, to get through pretty much unscathed.

BECKER: Well, I hope for the best for these boys, but they're still playing. Now, in my playing days, everything was fine. It was really in my

second phase then problems occurred. And Ion Tiriac, I would like to mention, he was my most important mentor in my playing days. And I,

probably, I wouldn't get into trouble if I would have stayed with him. But that didn't happen.

And I was, quite frankly, I was probably surrounded by the wrong people, but I picked them, so it's not their fault, it's ultimately my

responsibility and my fault. But you know, I wanted to learn something new. I wanted to make new experiences. I wanted to, you know, get better in a

field that I didn't know about.

We're talking finance. We're talking business. I was a sportsman. I didn't go to university. I didn't study that, but I wanted to learn it, you know.

I was always a curious boy. I wanted to get better in things that I didn't know about. But obviously in finance, if you do make a mistake or two, they

are very expensive, and you can't really come back to it because there's no fifth set.

AMANPOUR: So, just quickly because we're almost out of time. What is your third chapter? You're not able to come back, I don't think, yet to Britain

because you're a very beloved commentator at Wimbledon and other sports tennis events. What is your third chapter then, Boris, now?

BECKER: Just quickly, I mean, I miss London. I miss Wimbledon in particular, the best tennis club in the world, and my license goes until 24

in October. I don't think I'll be entering before that. But look from all the good and the bad, I would be foolish not to surround myself with a

different group. They've been already helping me the last couple of years.

Thankfully all my partners didn't drop me. You know, they waited. They took a break because I took a break and they let me back into the television

world, the tennis world, the, you know, sponsoring world. So, now it's up to me to give them back my professionalism. You know, I have to earn their

trust. I have to earn their belief that I am better than I was before. And so, it's up to me. I mean, if I wouldn't have learned from so many mistakes

I've done before now and make it better, I wouldn't have learned anything.

AMANPOUR: Alex Gibney, Boris is a very likable fellow. Did you find it difficult? What is it that you want to say to the world about this young

man who had everything and flew too close to the sun and fell and now he's trying to get up again?

GIBNEY: Boris reached the very -- the highest heights of Tennis, and then he felt very low and he ended up in prison. And it's a cautionary tale, but

it's also, in some ways, an inspirational one because now Boris is forthright. He's really reckoned with his life. He's reckoned with his

mistakes, and he's going forward into the future to try to become a better person.

AMANPOUR: Alex Gibney and, of course, Boris Becker, thank you very much for joining us. And we wish you good luck.

GIBNEY: Thank you.

BECKER: Thank you very much, Christiane.


AMANPOUR: And the documentary starts streaming on Apple TV, April 7th.

And finally, tonight, thousands took to the street in Paris today, continuing their protests against the government's pension reform for the

10th day.


The piles of garbage that have filled the streets and now becoming monstrous, really, with the help of one street artist. Bisk used the

unusual canvas to turn trash into treasure all over the city. But everybody will be glad to know this reeking art form won't be around for long as

garbage collectors are suspending their weeks long strike tomorrow. That's it for now. Thank you for watching. Goodbye from London.