LONDON • Tennis legend Boris Becker has been declared bankrupt by a court in London after failing to pay a "substantial" longstanding debt since 2015.
Lawyers for the the three-time Wimbledon champion pleaded with a Bankruptcy Court registrar yesterday to allow the German a "last chance" to pay off the debt.
But registrar Christine Derrett, who recalled watching Becker play on Centre Court at Wimbledon, ruled there was a lack of credible evidence the outstanding payment would be forthcoming and refused to adjourn the case.
"One has the impression of a man with his head in the sand," she said of the 49-year-old after making the bankruptcy order following a brief hearing.
The bankruptcy application was made by private bankers Arbuthnot Latham & Co in connection with a judgement debt owed them by the six-time Grand Slam champion dating back to 2015.
The former tennis star's lawyers had argued there was sufficient evidence to show that he would be able to pay the debt soon through a refinancing arrangement, involving remortgaging a property in Mallorca which was expected to raise €6 million (S$9.3 million).
His advocate told the registrar his instructions from Becker were that it was expected the deal would be approved by a Spanish bank in approximately one month.
One has the impression of a man with his head in the sand.
CHRISTINE DERRETT , British Bankruptcy Court registrar, admonishing retired tennis great Boris Becker for not settling his debt.
Becker's advocate said his client was not likely to benefit from bankruptcy and it could have an adverse effect on his "image".
But the judge responded: "He should have thought about that a long time ago."
She added: "It is not often the case that a professional person has a judgement (debt) outstanding against them since October 2015. This is a historic debt."
Becker split with former world No. 1 Novak Djokovic last December following three successful years together.
The Serb won six of his 12 Grand Slam titles with Becker as coach.
Djokovic has since turned to eight-time Grand Slam champion Andre Agassi for help.
Becker, who amassed over US$25 million (S$34.7 million) in earnings from a 16-year playing career, became a Eurosport pundit this year.
The father of four resides in London, where he became the youngest Wimbledon men's champion at 17 years old.