Boris Becker was a tennis phenom in the 1980s and 1990s. The former world No. 1 won 49 titles, six Grand Slams, and an Olympic gold medal during his pro career. Over the course of his career, Becker made $25 million in prize money and $130 million in total earnings. Despite his massive riches from tennis, Becker was declared bankrupt in 2017. At one point, Becker had such a massive debt a judge could only describe it as “historic.”
Boris Becker’s tennis career
Boris Becker was a bonafide star in the tennis world by the time he was a teenager. In 1985, Becker won his first Wimbledon title when he was just 17 years old. He became the youngest men’s singles player to win at Wimbledon in the process.
Becker went on to win six singles Grand Slam titles throughout his career. He was ranked No. 1 in the world two separate times in 1991, and he stuck in the top five for three straight years.
The tennis great won a total of 49 titles during his illustrious career. He also won a gold medal in men’s doubles at the 1992 Summer Olympics.
Boris Becker made $130 million from prize money and endorsements
Becker was one of the most dominant men’s tennis players in the late 1980s and early 1990s. With his success on the court came great financial success off the court as well.
Over the course of his career, Becker earned $25 million in prize money alone. He could’ve been set for life financially from only his tournament winnings.
Endorsements and other earnings brought Becker’s career earnings to $130 million. Most people couldn’t even begin to think about spending $130 million, but Becker was careless with his wealth. His poor financial decisions finally came back to bite him in 2017.
Becker built up a “historic” debt and went bankrupt in 2017
Despite making $130 million during his tennis career, Becker nearly lost it all in retirement. In 2017, a British judge declared Becker bankrupt, stating his debts were substantial. A dollar figure was never released, but the judge called his debts “historic.” The former tennis star had debts dating back to October of 2015 at the time.
“He is not a sophisticated individual when it comes to finances,” Becker’s advocate John Briggs told The Guardian. “I am asking for a real last chance for Mr. Becker to come good…It has just taken longer than anticipated.”
Becker’s financial situation was so grim he turned to selling his tennis memorabilia in 2018. Becker auctioned off trophies and equipment from his playing days, signaling he truly had no other options left.
Becker’s financial troubles didn’t start in 2015, however. In 2001, Becker owed his home country of Germany $7 million in back taxes. His divorce with his first wife also cost him at least $10 million the same year.