Former tennis world No. 1 Boris Becker has been declared bankrupt at a High Court hearing in London. The German tennis champion had reportedly failed to pay a long-standing debt.
During Wednesday’s hearing, a lawyer representing Boris Becker asked the Bankruptcy Court to give his client “a last chance” to pay back the debt.
Private bankers Arbuthnot Latham & Co. made the bankruptcy application over a “substantial” sum Becker owed them dating back to 2015.
Becker seemed to dispute some of the details of the story later on Wednesday in a series of posts on Twitter, saying that he intended to challenge the ruling “immediately.”
“Surprised and disappointed that Arbuthnot Latham choose to bring these proceedings against me,” Becker wrote. “This order relates to one disputed loan which I was due to repay in full in one month’s time! It is disappointing that my request for today’s hearing to be postponed was refused.”
Becker said that he would be concentrating on his work, particularly presenting duties at Wimbledon for the BBC and other broadcasters.
The court registrar, Christine Derrett, said it was “with regret” she had concluded there was a lack of credible evidence the amount would be paid soon. She refused to adjourn the case for an additional 28 days and announced a bankruptcy order.
“One has the impression of a man with his head in the sand,” she said.
Becker’s lawyer, John Briggs, had argued the 49-year-old would be in a position to pay back the money in the near future through an arrangement that involved remortgaging a property in Mallorca. Briggs said the deal, expected to be approved by a Spanish bank in about a month, would free up 6 million euros ($6.7 million).
Becker, who was born in Germany and lives in London, won six major singles grand slams in the 1980s and ’90s. At age 17, he became the youngest player ever to win the Wimbledon men’s championship. In recent years, he has worked as a coach for Novak Djokovic and as a tennis commentator.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Briggs argued that Becker’s “image” would be significantly impacted by bankruptcy status, adding that his client was “not a sophisticated individual when it comes to finances.”
The registrar said: “He should have thought about that a long time ago.”
msh, nm/rc (AP, EFE)