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Wednesday, 7 February, 2001, 18:06 GMT
Becker admits paternity
Sabrina Setler and Boris Becker
Mr Becker in Spain on Wednesday with his companion Sabrina Setler
Former German tennis champion Boris Becker has admitted he is the father of a 10-month-old girl born to Russian model Angela Ermakova.

"I acknowledge the fatherhood. I take responsibility and will provide for little Anna," he said, in a statement issued through a spokesperson.

His admission followed the results of a paternity test which the three-times Wimbledon champion had sought.

Angela Ermakova
Angela Ermakova now lives in London
Mr Becker, who had initially denied he was the father, said: "I hope that with this declaration all the speculations of the last weeks are ended.

"I will do whatever I can to see that Anna is a happy little girl in the future."

Ms Ermakova said she was "relieved" at the announcement.

"The last few months have been very difficult for Anna and I, especially given some of the allegations made about me in the media," she said in a statement issued through her solicitors.

Normal life

"I hope to be able to resolve financial matters with Boris Becker in the near future.

"I look forward to beginning a more normal life with my daughter."

Legal proceedings in the paternity case had begun on Monday with lawyers for the two sides meeting briefly at the High Court in London.

Neither side had made any immediate comments after the 20-minute hearing on whether Miss Ermakova's paternity suit would go ahead.

Broom cupboard

Ms Ermakova, 33, says she met Mr Becker in a bar in London's Metropolitan Hotel and later had sex with him in a broom cupboard in Nobu, a Japanese restaurant on the premises.

The baby was conceived in 1999 during the Wimbledon tennis tournament - Mr Becker's last as a professional player.

Barbara Becker
Barbara Becker was divorced from the tennis star last month
The court hearing was the second this year for Mr Becker, who in January was granted a divorce from his 34-year-old wife Barbara after a seven-year marriage.

Barbara Becker reportedly won a million-dollar settlement, and custody of their two sons, six-year-old Noah and one-year-old Elias.

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See also:

09 Jan 01 | Europe
Germany gripped by Becker case
04 Jan 01 | Americas
Judge rejects Becker trial plea
06 Dec 00 | Tennis
Becker loses love game
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