Boris Becker to headline Cuba cigar festival

Cuban rolls 80-metre-long cigar

Retired German tennis great Boris Becker will headline the XV Habanos Festival, an event in Cuba designed to promote cigars and tobacco use, organizers said Tuesday.

“It will be my first time in Cuba, and I’ve heard some great things,” Becker said, according to a statement from the Cuban-Spanish company Habanos S.A., which is organizing the event. “I can’t wait to truly get to know the great culture of the Cuban people.”

“As a Habano aficionado, Montecristo and Partagas are among my favorites, since they are two brands that can be proud of their supreme quality,” he said.

The 45-year-old Becker, who retired from professional tennis in 1999, “will attend the tastings and dinners” at the festival, which runs from February 26 through March 2.

Event organizers have also invited three Croatian chefs to “prepare, in front of guests, radically new dishes, desserts, and sauces using Cuban tobacco from Vuelta Abajo as an ingredient.”

Tobacco is one of Cuba’s top export products, after nickel and pharmaceuticals.

Habanos S.A. reported a nine percent sales growth in 2011, with sales worth $401 million. Last year’s results will be announced at the event, organizers said.

The youngest man to win Wimbledon and a six-time Grand Slam singles champion, “Boom-boom” Becker has remained an A-list celebrity in Germany. He married his second wife, Dutch model Sharlely “Lilly” Kerssenberg, in 2010.

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