Does old money ever go bankrupt?

Boris Becker and the bankruptcy : Can you live with 800,000 euros a year?

Oh yes, recently there was another nice piece of news about Boris Becker. That was when he had the tennis racket of his last game auctioned on the TV show "Bares for Rares". The racket brought in 10,000 euros for a good cause, as they say. In the meantime, one can wonder whether it is not also a good cause that Becker bagged the 10,000 euros himself. According to the state of affairs and a London court ruling, he may need the money.

Last Tuesday, the judge Christine Darrett declared the former world-class tennis player, the idol of a generation, the icon of success and assertiveness, bankrupt. Boris Becker has apparently immense debts with the private bank Arbuthnot Latham & Co since 2015, the amount is not known, and the court saw Becker not in a position to remedy this unfortunate circumstance in the near future. Becker himself is of a completely different opinion, and let it be known through his lawyer Christian Schertz that he could very well settle the liabilities within a month. Among other things, through the sale of his finca on Mallorca, which is expected to bring in six million euros. It's just stupid that the pompous walls were always up for sale without finding a buyer. It is also stupid that Becker's Spanish lawyers have sued him because they are of the opinion that their client had paid too little fee for the brokerage of the finca. What a Mallorcan court saw, Becker cost: 30,000 euros. New balls, please.

Peanuts, one would think

But isn't it irrelevant whether Becker is actually insolvent? Irrelevant for the question of whether Becker is finally a fallen ex-hero, a fallen angel in white gym shorts? The court found that Becker was not exactly a financial genius, but the world had known that for a long time. He was once the owner of three car dealerships, one in Stralsund, one in Greifswald, one in Ribnitz-Damgarten, and he wasn't happy with any of them. He was a partner in the Internet portal Sportgate; bankruptcy was filed in 2001. And years later he was sentenced to pay damages of 108,000 euros. Subsequent investigative proceedings on suspicion of attempted fraudulent proceedings were not exactly image-promoting, which was discontinued, but only after a monetary requirement of 40,000 euros had been paid. And he had to pay 800,000 euros to a partner in the insolvent New Food AG.

Peanuts, one would think, for someone who has won 25 million euros in prize money alone in the course of his terrific sporting career, postage, one would think, for someone who has been annoying for years as a highly paid advertising medium through the advertising blocks, ridiculous, one should think, for someone who is lavishly pampered as a TV commentator and expert. And what about his salary as the coach of world-class player Novak Djokovic? We don't even dare to dream of that, with these 800,000 euros alone you should get through life well.

"I"

Now it happens more often that once famous and highly paid athletes get lost in life and may end up having to go to jungle camp for a living. At some point, with athletes, beyond the golf and chess category, the apparent reality of sport is physically over. Then there can be an end to fun, to limitless love and appreciation, to the importance that everyone is scrambling for, as if there is no tomorrow and the money is being printed in the cellar. At Becker's peak, a sea snail was named after him, Bufonaria borisbecker, which is not only funny, but also imagines a certain meaning. And even at the peak, the “Spiegel” wrote a cover story about the Star Becker. The title was just as simple as the program: “Me!”.

It is due to Becker's height of fall that he has not yet had to argue with strangers and strangers in the Australian bush over a portion of maggots. But his income is offset by expenses that can not pay off in the long term, especially since he still does not only live on a large scale, these are gigantic galoshes. In 2011 he transferred 15 million euros to the former wife Barbara Feltus for divorce. He is liable for maintenance, and is not known to be stingy, for his three children Noah, Elias and Anna, who will certainly not be fobbed off with the student loan rate. He lives with his new family in London and Zurich, both places where livelihoods require a bigger wallet. The apartment building in London alone has a monthly budget of 35,000 euros for the Becker family. And the said finca from Mallorca, which he bought in 1997 for one million euros and had it rebuilt over and over again in the style of a Trump for years, has not yet been sold. After all, the legal dispute with various construction companies, to which he owed money totaling several hundred thousand euros, now seems to be over.

The fall is not inevitable

Germany's sporting icons and idols, we don't have many of the really, really big ones. Max Schmeling, the boxer, is one of them, Franz Beckenbauer as well, then Michael Schumacher, Steffi Graf and Boris Becker, today 49 years old, at that time the youngest Leimen of all time, who won the iconic Wimbledon tournament at the age of 17 and strawberry-blond hair , as the first German ever and thus sparked a boom in tennis that could actually only be called hysterical. Suddenly tennis was someone, not just football, the eternal sport of the proletariat. It was almost as if, after Becker's 1985 victory on the Wimbledon lawn, Germany had finally managed to arrive 40 years after the end of the war, not only in tennis, but also in the realm of climbers, those who feel in the sun who no longer have to get dirty, but can do sports dressed in white - noblesse oblige. Gone are the days that Samy Drechsel still described when he let the little boy sneak through the streets with a tennis racket without strings to hide the poverty of his parents. In fact, he only earned a few pennies as a ball boy, playing tennis himself, oh well, that's only for the rich. You have to look at the Boris Becker phenomenon sociologically and historically to understand the height of the fall.

But the fall of the icons is not inevitable. Max Schmeling navigated his way through the dark times of National Socialism skillfully and unscathed, and later became a successful businessman without injuries. Steffi Graf also cleverly and wisely eluded the overwhelming love of Germany and the tabloid media. And Michael Schumacher's fate is actual tragedy, not the fall of Boris Becker or the looming twilight of the figure of light Beckenbauer, to whom the biblical quote of the camel, which fits more easily through the eye of a needle than Beckenbauer in heaven, has long been true.

It is unclear where Boris Becker's case ends. For the time being, until the court ruling is contradicted, he is unworthy of credit. What can be devastating with his now legally certified financial knowledge. One can only hope for him that he doesn't have to go to “Bares for Rares” again, this time on his own behalf.

Now new: We give you 4 weeks of Tagesspiegel Plus! To home page