Tennis is one of the highest paid sports in the world. Tennis players generally rake in a lot of moolah playing on the ATP and WTA Tours, with the tournaments offering lucrative prize purses if a player manages to win it. So it comes as o surprise to anyone that some of the top tennis players in the world feature in the list of the highest paid athletes in the globe year after year.
Tennis also has a great global outreach and the top players are also an attractive proposition for brands looking for their perfect ambassadors.
But tennis stars too are human and are prone to bad investment decisions like any other rich businessmen. Here we take a look at a few tennis players who went broke due to some questionable decisions.
Considered one of the greatest tennis players of all-time and arguably the game’s first superstar, Bjorn Borg achieved it all on the tennis circuit winning 11 Grand Slam titles before taking a premature retirement from the game. After hanging up his boots, Borg decided to enter the fashion industry, but his initial ventures failed miserably. By the end of the 80’s, he and his businesses were on the verge of bankruptcy. On his initial failures, Borg told a French magazine, “I had hired some friends who I thought were honest and loyal to run the company, but all they did was swindling me. The only thing they were interested in was using my name to become rich and famous. They failed : after a few years, the company went bankrupt.”
Borg had to auction off his trophies to stay afloat. He eventually found great success as an entrepreneur with his underwear line, one of the biggest one’s in his native Sweden.
Tennis’ greatest underdog and former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic tried his hands out at the real estate business after retiring from the game, which ended costing him a fortune. According to reports, the Croat lost over 19 million Euros in the business. Speaking about his failure in real estate, Goran said in an interview, “I’m not part of a political party, or a lobby…I didn’t corrupt anyone. But in the real estate business, it’s impossible to do anything without bribing people. It’s my fault if I wanted to enter a field where honesty doesn’t exist. People working in that field are sharks. My investments sunk, like the Titanic. Things went bad from the start. Every time that I invested in Croatia, things went wrong.”
Another tennis legend who had to face bankruptcy in his life was German superstar Boris Becker. He was declared bankrupt by a London court who claimed that he owed private bank Arbuthnot Latham & Co. believed to be over €3.5m (£3.1m). To pay off the debts, Becker decided to sell off his Wimbledon trophies and various other memorabilia from his career.
Becker though in an interview with the Telegraph strongly refuted claims that he was bankrupt, claiming, “It’s crazy to think I’m broke. I have enough national and international deals to earn an income that will allow me to pay my staff on time and carry on my life as normal. I’m going to Zurich this evening, I’m going to check into a hotel and pay my own bill. If I was insolvent, I couldn’t do that. If I take a taxi, I’ll pay for it. And believe me, I haven’t stolen a thing.“