A Passionate Habano Lover


“I’m a passionate lovers of Habanos, especially the Cohiba Behike vitolas, though I also prefer Partagas, Romeo y Julieta and Montecristo, and even though there’re some brands I haven’t puffed on yet,” said former German tennis star Boris Becker, the PTA number one player in the 1980s and 90s, during a press conference held within the framework of the 15th Habano Festival.

Traveling with his Dutch wife Lilly Kerssenberg, Mr. Becker explained his love and preference for Cuban cigars, an influence rubbed off on him by his father, who also adored those top-notch cigars. He started smoking some 15 years ago after his retirement. 

Becker, who traveled to Havana as a special guest for this new edition of the Habano Festival, admitted that smoking helps him to relax and think as he revels in this products he prefers mostly at night, when he’s home with his wife. 

The winner of six Grand Slam titles met Friday with Prima Ballerina Assoluta Alicia Alonso, head of Cuba’s National Ballet Company, who also invited the former tennis star to attend the coming editions of the International Ballet Festival scheduled for 2014. Mr. Becker promised to be there next year.

Even though this is his first visit to the island nation, Mr. Becker said he was quite impressed by the hospitality of the Cuban people, something he felt the moment he got to the Saratoga Hotel where he’s staying.

He also visited a cigar factory on Friday where he received a well-detailed explanation on the making of Habanos. Later in the evening, he swung by the Chinatown in Havana where he tried to learn how to dance salsa music, and then ate at the El Templete Restaurant, in Old Havana’s historic center, where he found the food stunning.

Asked about the antismoking campaigns around the world, the German sportsman said there’s a big difference between smoking cigarettes and cigar, and when it comes to Habanos, that’s really something.