Popular tennis stars who lost their fortunes

Popular tennis stars who lost their fortunes
Photo by Icon Sport

In professional sports, tales of athletes who made a lot of money only to lose it all are in rich supply – no pun intended. As for tennis stars who lost their fortunes, you needn’t look far to find some big names. Of course, I’ll be identifying these names today while explaining where it all went wrong for the individuals mentioned.

Some of the names you’re about to see might surprise you! Several of them still work in tennis in various capacities too, which makes the surprise even greater. So, as we work our way through these tennis stars who lost their fortunes, prepare to be amazed at some of the major names that pop-up.

Tennis stars who lost their fortunes – 5 big names

Rather than give you a huge range of players who’ve made good sums of money and then lost it, I’ve focused on five names. That’s because I want to keep things relevant to some of the biggest names that you wouldn’t expect to see. In doing so, you get a quick breakdown of several tennis stars who lost their fortunes without being overwhelmed by countless players you might never have heard of.

This brings me nicely to the list that I’ll be covering today, which includes the following:

  • Boris Becker
  • Mats Wilander
  • Jennifer Capriati
  • Mark Philippoussis
  • Bjorn Borg

See – I told you some of these names would shock you! Each of these players made serious cash through prize money and endorsements. However, through various reasons, they managed to burn through the vast sums of money they made in tennis and encountered financial troubles.

As for the background story for each individual, that’s what I’ll get into right now.

Boris Becker

Of the five names mentioned here, Boris Becker is probably the most documented individual when it comes to financial struggles. Then again, Becker has been at the centre of all kinds of scandals and controversies both as a player and in his personal life. Concerning the former, he’s best known for being the youngest ever Wimbledon champion – winning the tournament in 1985 at just 17 years old.

This was one of six Grand Slam titles Becker won in his career. So at least he won’t go down as one of the best tennis players who never won a Grand Slam. However, when it comes to his personal life and financial struggles, Becker’s story is truly infamous. This all started in 2002 when he received a suspended prison sentence of two years for tax evasion.

Fast forward to 2017, Becker declared bankruptcy, and he was sentenced to 2.5 years in a UK jail for failing to disclose assets and loans linked to his bankruptcy. This is all true despite Becker earning more than $25 million in his professional tennis career.

Mats Wilander

If you’ve tuned in for events like Roland Garros in recent years, Mats Wilander is a guy you’re probably familiar with. In fact, if you’ve watched any major tennis event covered by Eurosport, you’ll know who Wilander is. His rise to fame was just as emphatic as Boris Becker’s too, as he won the French Open in 1982 as a 17 year old.

Wilander then went on to win 7 Grand Slams in total during the 1980s, which is why he’s regarded as a legend of the sport. Unfortunately, he’s also known as one of those tennis stars who lost their fortunes, although this wasn’t due to illicit activities. Instead, Wilander reportedly made a string of unsuccessful investments in the build up to his retirement in 1996.

ICONSPORT 175188 0224
Photo by Icon Sport

Subsequently, despite making close to $8 million in prize money, he declared bankruptcy in Sweden in 1997.

Jennifer Capriati

Jennifer Capriati was a true sensation in the world of tennis in the 1990s and early 2000s. She made it to world number 1 and won gold at the 1992 Summer Olympics. Capriati also won three Grand Slam titles, which is why she was inducted into the International Hall of Fame after her retirement. That said, she’s another huge name of tennis stars who lost their fortunes that I had to mention here.

Capriati pulled in more than $10 million in prize money during her career, with more coming by way of endorsement deals. Most of her success came when she was very young, however, which may have contributed to some erratic behaviour that led to arrests and legal battles. She ultimately retired from the sport in 2004.

In 2017, Capriati filed for bankruptcy resulting from numerous sources of unpaid fees including legal fees, mortgages, and taxes. Reportedly, her debts amounted to millions of dollars at the time of this declaration.

Mark Philippoussis

Mark Philippoussis was the man who Federer beat to win his first Wimbledon title. He was a successful player during the late 1990s and early 2000s, reaching two Grand Slam finals and winning 11 career titles. This helped him amass almost $7 million in prize money, while he no doubt earned much more through multiple sponsorship deals.

Philippoussis retired from professional tennis in 2008, and just one year later, he publicly declared that all of his money was gone. This meant he was at risk of losing his home, and he faced legal troubles from unpaid mortgages as well as other loans. Then again, Philippoussis lived quite lavishly as a professional, and he no doubt spent wildly and played loosely with his cash.

Then, in 2017, Philippoussis declared bankruptcy. 

Bjorn Borg

Bjorn Borg is perhaps the most famous of all tennis stars who lost their fortunes. I say that because he’s the only man who has tried selling his Grand Slam trophies for profit. He’s also one of the most successful tennis players of all time, winning 11 Grand Slam titles before retiring early. 

ICONSPORT 094927 0002
Photo by Icon Sport

Additionally, he was the first professional tennis player to earn more than $1 million in a single season – a feat he achieved in 1979. But in total, he earned more than $3.5 million, which was huge for that time period. This helped him purchase a mansion, launch various businesses, and more. 

Rumour has it he had to sell his mansion to avoid declaring himself bankrupt in 2019, too, despite being one of the highest-paid athletes of his time.

Subscribe to Punditfeed on Google News for all the latest updates from the world of sports!