FILE – This is a June 29, 2016, file photo showing Boris Becker at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London. Becker has been declared bankrupt by a British court after he failed to pay a long-standing debt. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, FIle)
LONDON (AP) — 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 another 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.
Becker took to Twitter later Wednesday, saying he was “surprised and disappointed” that proceedings had been brought against him and that it was “disappointing” that his request for a postponement had been refused.
He said that he intends to challenge the ruling “immediately.”
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.
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