LONDON (AP) — Former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker has told a London court he felt “shocked” and “embarrassed” after being declared bankrupt days before the 2017 tournament at the All England Club.
The six-time Grand Slam winner said the negative publicity had hurt the “Becker brand” and left him struggling to earn enough money to pay off his debts.
Becker was declared bankrupt in June 2017 and is currently on trial for failing to hand over assets including nine trophies and medals from his glittering tennis career.
The 54-year-old German said he was seeking to repay a loan of more than £3 million ($3.9 million) from private bank Arbuthnot Latham, including through the sale of his property in Spain.
The court heard the bankruptcy ruling was made days before Wimbledon, where Becker worked for the BBC as well as Australian and Japanese television stations.
“As you can imagine, I was very shocked by the fact. Because it was all over the world, and I walked through the door to Wimbledon and everyone knew it. I was embarrassed because I was bankrupt,” Becker said.
He told jurors the bankruptcy was also amid a “stressful time” with his wife Sharlely “Lilly” Becker, as they lived in “separate quarters” at his rented house in Wimbledon.
Describing an incident while commentating on the men’s quarter-final, he said: “My son called to tell me my wife was breaking up the house – the furniture, the windows. The police came… while I was there.
Becker took the witness stand Monday to testify.
He said he faced damaging publicity “all over the world”, but especially in Germany and the UK, which affected his ability to earn money.
“It’s very difficult when you’re bankrupt and making headlines every week because of it. It’s very difficult to make a lot of money from my name,” he said.
The former world number one, who was helped to give evidence by a German translator, denies 24 charges under insolvency law.
They include nine counts of failure to deliver trophies and other awards, seven of concealment of property, five of non-disclosure of estate, two of removal of property and one of concealment of debts.
He is accused of failing to hand over nine trophies, including two of his three Wimbledon men’s singles titles, an Olympic gold medal, his 1991 and 1996 Australian Open trophies and his Cup trophy. Davis and his gold coin.