LONDON — Boris Becker was declared bankrupt by a British court on Wednesday after the former tennis player failed to pay a long-standing debt.
A lawyer for the six-time Grand Slam champion pleaded with a Bankruptcy Court registrar in London for a last chance to pay a debt that Becker has owed to private bankers Arbuthnot Latham & Co. since 2015.
The registrar, Christine Derrett, said there was a lack of credible evidence that his debt would be paid soon. She refused to adjourn the case for a further 28 days and announced a bankruptcy order.
"One has the impression of a man with his head in the sand," said the registrar, who said she watched Becker play on Centre Court at Wimbledon.
The 49-year-old Becker, who was born in Germany and lives in London, recently coached Novak Djokovic and has been a TV commentator.
His lawyer, John Briggs, had argued there was sufficient evidence to show that Becker would be able to pay the debt through a refinancing arrangement, involving remortgaging a property in Mallorca, which was expected to raise 6 million euros ($6.7 million). Briggs said it was expected the deal would be approved by a Spanish bank in about one month.
Briggs also said Becker was "not a sophisticated individual when it comes to finances," and that bankruptcy was likely to have an adverse effect on Becker’s image.
"He should have thought about that a long time ago," the registrar said.