Tennis Legend Boris Becker Battles for Custody of Daughter

11/08/2007 at 02:40 PM EST

Tennis Legend Boris Becker Battles for Custody of Daughter
PA Photos/Landov; LIMELIGHT
When news first surfaced seven years ago that tennis legend Boris Becker had a baby from his fling with a Russian model, he wanted nothing to do with the situation. He demanded a DNA test and bad-mouthed Angela Ermokowa, the London-based woman who gave birth to the little girl, Anna, who looks so much like Becker that a DNA test seemed truly unnecessary.

But the situation has turned – and now Becker, 39, is fighting for custody of his child. The former Wimbledon champ emerged smiling Wednesday from London Family Court after a six-hour hearing. "Now I can see my daughter on a regular basis," he told the German Bild newspaper.

Becker says he has fully accepted his daughter and enjoys spending time with her. His two sons by ex-wife Barbara Becker love their sister, but Ermakowa had full custody of Anna and reportedly was hesitant about letting Becker see his daughter regularly.

At the same time, Ermakowa has kept Anna in the public eye – modeling in a fashion show in Florence, a part in a TV series, interviews. Anna's appearances made headlines in October when a cosmetics company was fined for violating child-labor regulations by having Anna appear in a promotion for their children's cosmetics line.

"I hurts me deeply in my soul how this year in particular my daughter has been put on public display, be it in TV interviews or children's fashion shows," he tells the weekly newsmagazine Stern. "In my opinion, it's the duty of the parents to protect their children. With my sons, I have joint custody, but unfortunately not with my daughter. You can believe me that I'm fighting for it."

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