AFP – Trophies and personal souvenirs belonging to German tennis star Boris Becker will be auctioned online from Monday by British firm Wyles Hardy to partially clear the bankrupt champion’s debts.
The youngest winner in Wimbledon’s history, who claimed the first of three titles aged just 17, is auctioning off 82 items including medals, cups, watches and photographs.
The sale will end on July 11, Wyles Hardy said on its website.
Some of the trophies up for grabs include a replica of a Challenge Cup awarded to Becker following one of his Wimbledon wins, and the three-quarter size replica of the Renshaw Cup presented after he became the youngest ever Grand Slam singles champion.
His Wimbledon finalist medal from 1990, when he was beaten by Swede Stefan Edberg, and a replica of the US Open silver cup made by jeweller Tiffany for his 1989 victory over Ivan Lendl, will also be included in the sale.
The indebted 51-year-old champion was declared bankrupt in 2017.
In June 2018, he claimed he had diplomatic status and therefore immunity, thus stopping the sale of his trophies and personal souvenirs at the last minute.
The former world number one claimed that he had been appointed by the President of the Central African Republic as a sporting, cultural and humanitarian “attache” to the European Union.
But the Central African Ministry of Foreign Affairs replied that the passport brandished by Becker was a fake one, coming from a batch of “blank passports stolen in 2014”.
– ‘Very substantial bids’ –
Becker finally ended this bizarre episode in December by waiving his right to immunity in a London court specialising in insolvency cases, leading the auction house to put the trophies back on the market.
The first attempt “attracted very substantial bids,” Mark Ford, one of the three trustees of Becker’s bankruptcy estate, said in a statement.
However, the sales will not be enough to cover debts valued at millions of pounds.
Becker has already had legal difficulties with the Spanish courts over unpaid debts for work carried out on his villa in Mallorca.
The pastor who married him in 2009 also took him to court in Switzerland and the German courts in 2002 gave him a two-year suspended sentence and a fine of 500,000 euros ($570,000) over 1.7 million euros in unpaid taxes.
The six-times Grand Slam winner, nicknamed “Boom Boom” Becker for his devastating serve, won 49 titles and more than 20 million euros in prize money during his career.
He now focuses on his tennis activities, particularly commentating, as he attempts to use his fame to wipe out his debts.