Tuesday 17 October 2017

Three-time former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker declared bankrupt

Boris Becker during the ATP Media Breakfast at The Shard on May 25, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Patrik Lundin/Getty Images)
Boris Becker during the ATP Media Breakfast at The Shard on May 25, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Patrik Lundin/Getty Images)

John Aston

Tennis champion Boris Becker has been declared bankrupt - by a court official who watched him play on Centre Court.

Lawyers for the three-time Wimbledon winner pleaded with a Bankruptcy Court registrar in London on Wednesday for "a last chance" to pay a long-standing debt.

But Miss Registrar Christine Derrett, who recalled watching him play, said it was "with regret" she had concluded there was a lack of credible evidence that his "substantial" debt would be paid soon and she refused to adjourn the case for a further 28 days.

She announced after a brief hearing: "I make this bankruptcy order at 11.23am."

She said of Becker, Wimbledon men's singles champion in 1985, 1986 and 1989: "One has the impression of a man with his head in the sand."

The bankruptcy application was made by private bankers Arbuthnot Latham & Co in connection with a judgment debt owed them by Becker dating as far back as 2015.

The 49-year-old German's lawyers had argued there was sufficient evidence to show that the tennis ace would be able to pay the debt soon through a refinancing arrangement, involving remortgaging a property in Majorca, which was expected to raise six million euros (£5.27million).

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.

The advocate said: "I don't want to play around in court. It is clearly in the interests (of Arbuthnot Latham) for there to be refinancing."

When the registrar was told Becker was a television commentator, she replied that she knew who he was, adding: "I remember watching him play on Centre Court, which probably shows my age."

His advocate, John Briggs, told the registrar that someone in Becker's position would not be prone to benefit from bankruptcy and it was likely to have an adverse effect on his "image".

The judge said: "He should have thought about that a long time ago."

She added: "It is not often the case that a professional person has a judgment (debt) outstanding against them since October 2015. This is a historic debt.

"One has the impression of a man with his head in the sand."

Briggs said: "He is not a sophisticated individual when it comes to finances.

"I am asking for a real last chance for Mr Becker to come good...It has just taken longer than anticipated."

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