A planned auction of Boris Becker’s trophies and memorabilia has been put on hold ahead of a British High Court action over his bankruptcy.
The former world tennis number one was declared bankrupt in June 2017, but has recently asserted his right to diplomatic immunity following his appointment as an attache for the Central African Republic.
His lawyers said the proposed sale was worth an estimated €226,000 and includes his “most important sporting trophies” and “highly personal memorabilia”.
They said it also includes a certificate commemorating his men’s doubles gold medal win, with Michael Stich, in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and a lot containing a sweater, wrist bands and socks.
The sale was due to go ahead on Thursday but his trustees in bankruptcy agreed to postpone it today after Mr Becker’s legal team applied for an injunction.
In a statement, Mr Becker, 50, said: “I am delighted that this auction has been called off and that the tide is now starting, at last, to turn in my favour.
“Many of my friends in the sporting world were horrified to learn that these suits were auctioning off my socks.
“Perhaps they would like to sell my underwear as well. Their whole conduct has been really odd.
“They seem to be driven by some kind of mission and their decision to auction off all my personal stuff in public and online was very humiliating to me.”
During a hearing in London today Judge Catherine Addy QC approved an order agreed between the parties to postpone the auction.
Diplomatic honours for me ! I have been appointed by the Central African Republic 🇨🇫 as its Attache’ for Sports/Humanitarian/Cultural Affairs in the European Union 🇪🇺
— Boris Becker (@TheBorisBecker) April 27, 2018
The order also includes a legal undertaking by Mr Becker and a third party to cover any costs or shortfall arising from the sale being delayed.
The court heard the auction had been planned for shortly before this year’s Wimbledon tournament to “maximise” the proceeds of the sale.
But Ben Emmerson QC, for Mr Becker, said the timing appeared to the three-time Wimbledon champion – who will be commentating on the tournament for the BBC – to be a “deliberate decision made to humiliate him”.
Mr Becker was appointed a cultural, sporting and humanitarian attache to the EU by the Central African Republic in April.
The bankruptcy application was made by bankers Arbuthnot Latham in connection with a judgment debt dating back to 2015.
Lawyers representing the trustees said Mr Becker’s claim for diplomatic immunity potentially raises an “important point of principle”.
Tony Beswetherick, for the trustees, said: “It could have serious ramifications if individuals were able effectively to trump the law of this state in a way that we understand Mr Becker wants to argue.”
A further hearing in the case is due to be held some time after October 5.
In a statement earlier this month from the Central African Republic’s embassy in Brussels, a spokesman said: “Mr Becker is in mission for our country and our embassy in the field of sport, culture and humanitarian affairs.
“He promotes peaceful co-existence, using his contacts in sports and culture and international connections.
“The embassy sees no reason to comment on Mr Becker’s private insolvency.
“It does not affect the sincere efforts of Mr Boris Becker for our country.”