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Former tennis player Boris Becker poses for photographers at the world premiere of the film I am Bolt in London, Britain, on Nov. 28, 2016.Neil Hall/Reuters

The sale of a collection of trophies belonging to tennis great Boris Becker has been suspended after the former Wimbledon champion argued it would be humiliating with the tournament about to begin Monday.

Becker, a BBC commentator for Wimbledon, is believed to owe about £50-million ($87-million) to a variety of creditors he has been battling in a London bankruptcy court for a year. Court-appointed bankruptcy trustees had begun the process of seizing and selling his assets and recently put 81 items up for sale on an online auction site run by Wyles Hardy & Co.

The items included miniature trophies he received after each of his three Wimbledon victories, as well as the runner-up tray he won in 1995. Also for sale are his medals for making the semi-finals in 1993 and 1994 and replica trophies he received for winning the U.S. Open in 1989 and the Davis Cup in 1988. Bidders can also buy a selection of his watches, including a “Top Gun Wrist Watch,” or bid on T-shirts, socks, a tennis racquet and even a pair of shoes he wore when he won the Australian Open in 1996. The auction was supposed to end Thursday, and some of the trophies had generated bids in excess of £10,000.

Becker, 50, has been trying to block the sale and recently argued that he had diplomatic immunity from the bankruptcy proceedings because he’d been named a special attaché to the European Union for the Central African Republic, one of the world’s poorest countries. The creditors and trustees have challenged that move, but on Thursday the trustees agreed to stop the sale pending a hearing on Becker’s diplomatic status.

“Having discussed the forthcoming auction with our agents, we believe that recent events may have deflated potential realizations of the memorabilia, as bidders experience uncertainty resulting from Mr. Becker’s newly made claims (which, for the avoidance of doubt, we believe to be wholly fallacious),” the trustees said in a statement. “This is notwithstanding the fact that the auction had attracted very substantial bids – our experience is that, absent Mr. Becker’s intervention, last-minute bids would have significantly increased the return for his creditors.”

The trustees have also said Becker has not been forthcoming about his assets and has frustrated the bankruptcy process. They have won an order that will force him to cover any costs associated with a delay in the auction.

Becker welcomed the decision to stop the sale, noting that it would have been embarrassing with Wimbledon about to begin. In a statement he 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.”

Becker gained fame on the tennis court for his booming serve, six Grand Slam titles and stunning victory at Wimbledon at the tender age of 17. He is believed to have earned about £100-million during his 15-year playing career, but he was pushed into bankruptcy last year by a British High Court judge who chastised him for having “his head in the sand” when it came to paying bills. Since then, more creditors have surfaced, including his former business adviser, Hans-Dieter Cleven, who is owed €36-million ($55-million).

Becker’s financial problems go beyond the bankruptcy. In May he split from his second wife, Dutch model Lilly Kerssenberg, setting up another hefty divorce tab. The couple had been married for nine years and have an eight-year-old son, Amadeus. Mr. Becker’s first marriage, to Barbara Feltus, ended in 2001 after he had a fling in a broom closet at a London restaurant, with waitress Angela Ermakova, while Feltus was in the hospital about to give birth to their second son. Feltus got £10-million in the divorce, as well as the couple’s condo in Miami and custody of their two children. Mr. Becker also had to pay Ermakova about £3-million in child support.

His business interests, too, appear to be souring. German media have reported that he has not fared well from several Nigerian oil ventures, and a building project he backed in Dubai collapsed a few years ago. His sports website venture also failed, as did an organic food business. And he’s been hampered by a conviction for tax evasion in Germany in 2002 that dried up several business opportunities. That case led to a suspended jail sentence, a £315,000 fine and a bill for €3-million in back taxes and interest.

Then there’s his 62-acre property and mansion in Spain, which he has had to remortgage twice. The villa has been empty and on the market for years, although it has lately become home to a group of squatters who call themselves the “Intergalactic Auxiliary and Rescue Command.”

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