LONDON: Former German tennis star Boris Becker was declared bankrupt by a court in London on Wednesday after failing to pay a "substantial" long-standing debt since 2015.
Lawyers for the three-time Wimbledon champion pleaded with a Bankruptcy Court registrar to allow Becker a "last chance" to pay off the debt.
But Registrar Christine Derrett, who recalled watching Becker play on Centre Court, 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 six-time major winner after making the bankruptcy order following a brief hearing.
The bankruptcy application was made by private bankers Arbuthnot Latham & Co in connection with a judgment debt owed them by Becker dating back to 2015.
The German'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 six million euros ($6.7 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.
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 judgment (debt) outstanding against them since October 2015. This is a historic debt."
Becker split with former world number one Novak Djokovic last December following three successful years together, the Serb winning six of his 12 Grand Slam titles with Becker as coach.