Being used to having financial problems since the end of his career, Boris Becker supposedly borrowed millions of euros and currently can’t reimburse his creditors. But he’s sadly not the first : before him, others have been through financial ruin.

Being used to having financial problems since the end of his career, Boris Becker supposedly borrowed millions of euros and currently can’t reimburse his creditors. But he’s sadly not the first : before him, others have been through financial ruin.


Henri Leconte, the scam


Never believe a politician’s promises. After having put an end to his remarkable career, Henri Leconte followed Nicolas Sarkoy’s advice, as the former president introduced him to Jacques Heyer. Who promised him that he would look after his finances. However, in 1997, he realized that the ex-President’s Swiss buddy actually turned out to be a crook. « I received a phone call from a lawyer one day, says the 1988 Roland-Garros finalist in his autobiography. He was clear : ‘Henri, you have nothing left !’ Not only had the crook left with millions, but he was still stealing my money, little by little, as he had been doing for years. » When tax havens turn out to be a nightmare…


Catherine Tanvier, the come-back after the fall

The world number 20 in the singles in 1984, and the number 16 in the doubles in 1986. Enough to save a little money and anticipate the end of a professional sporting career. But then again, Catherine Tanvier has always faced huge personal problems, between complicated family relationships and a hidden homosexuality. Once she put her racquets away, the Frenchwoman suffered a depression and isolated herself, living off the JSA in her mother’s flat. « I was alone, I had no friends. I wasn’t really happy. I was an impenetrable splendor, an undetectable lie. », she says in her autobiography, called Downgraded, from Roland-Garros to the JSA. To make things even worse, the tax authorities were after her, demanding up to 700 000 euros. Or what she earned in two decades of playing tennis. But the one who once tried to commit suicide finally bounced back, finding her new path in writing. And publishing one novel and two autobiographies.


Arantxa Sanchez, family matters


Careful : winning all the Grand Slam tournaments, winning four medals for his country at the Olympics, earning 45 million dollars in prize money and having been the best player in the world for many years sometimes isn’t enough to prevent yourself from going completely broke. That’s how, in December 2009, Arantxa Sanchez was sentenced to pay the Spanish tax authorities a 3,5 million euros fine for having avoiding to pay her tax between 1989 and 1993. An impossible sum of money to pay, she said at the time. The reason ? Her father and her brother, helped by a lawyer and a financial administrator, had stolen everything from her, said the one who launched a complaint for « embezzlement and fraudulent administration. » « They left me without anything, she says in her autobiography. I have contracted debts with the tax authorities and my properties are worth much less than my brother’s, for example, while Javier has earned much less money than me during his life. »


Patty Schnyder, bad choices

« I sometimes feel as if she is losing any sense of logic. She’s very welcoming, a really good person, but she has a painful habit, the one of never taking the good decision. Some people make the good decision nine out of ten times when it comes to important choices : with her, it’s the contrary. » These words from Eric van Harpen (one of her coaches), in the newspaper Sonntags Blick, are cruel for Patty Schnyder. But they seem to be not so far from the truth. After having earned more than eight million dollars with her forehands, the Swiss retired in 2011 and met with the wrong people. First Rainer Harnecker, an ex-member of the church of scientology, who she « loved against her will », according to her father. After that, it was Rainer Hofman, a private detective hired by…her father, and who she started dating. After missing to pay her rent for a few months, she completely disappeared. Leaving a huge tab : Schneider was broke, and all her goods were put up for sale at an auction. In the end, she reappeared, and even went back to tennis in 2015. With a string of good results. A good decision, at last.


Björn Borg, the dangerous career change


When he decided to retire, Björn Borg had many ideas for his after-career. After giving it a good thought, he decided to enter the fashion industry and invested quite a big sum of money. But not everyone is born an entrepreneur : things didn’t work out so well, and at the end of the 80’s, the business was running low. « I had hired some friends who I thought were honest and loyal to run the company, but all they did was swindling me, said Borg in the French magazine L’Express. 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. » Coincidence or not, Björn was banned from entering European casinos, and put his trophies up for sale at an auction a few years later. But his brand was later bought for a price close to 13 million euros, of which he received an interesting share, in 2016. Finally one for who things turned out positively.


Goran Ivanišević, the disastrous career change


How do you lose 19 million euros without doing anything ? By investing in real estate. A field which, for Ivanisevic, is crippled by corruption. « 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, he said in 2005 in Globus. It’s my fault if I wanted to enter a field where honesty doesn’t exist. People working in that field are sharks. » The reason why the nice Goran lost everything : « My investments sunk, like the Titanic. Things went bad from the start. Every time that I invested in Croatia, things went wrong. » The remedy ? Senior exhibition matches. Which earn him a little money. 


By Florian Cadu