Game, set, match to the IRS

Just before the start of this year’s French Open Tournament, news spread that Murphy Jensen,a doubles champion from the 1993 French Open, was neck deep in hot water with the Internal Revenue Service and two state tax agencies.

Jensen, age 41, is a former Atlanta resident now living in Santa Monica, California. Here’s a summary of what he owes: $759,294 in delinquent federal taxes to the IRS, $121,464 to the state of California for back taxes from 2000 to 2003 and 2005 to 2007, and $156,007 in back taxes to the state of Georgia relating to income from 1995 to 1998.

Jensen and his brother Luke competed as doubles partners in the 1993 French Open. The two entered Roland Garros (the official title of the French Open, named for a French aviator and fighter pilot) as an unseeded duo and won. The press at the time lauded the brothers for bringing a great deal of personality to the tennis world, which had a reputation for being rather stuffy.

The news of Jensen’s tax woes came as he was still reeling from filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in December 2009. Bankruptcy records showed liabilities of more than $1 million and assets of about $29,000. His bankruptcy was discharged on May 4.
 
How did he wind up in such deep debt? Jensen could not be reached for comment, but court records indicate there was a long history of non-payment.
 
His career tennis winnings total nearly $682,000. In recent years he has earned six-figure salaries from various pursuits. After dating actress Robin Givens, he had an inroad to Hollywood which landed him a role in the 2004 romantic comedy entitled Wimbledon, and later a job hosting a Tennis Channel show called Open Access.
 
A tennis player in the 2010 French Open also is playing a match against the IRS. Jan-Michael Gambill owes the fed a bundle in back taxes.
 
On March 9, an IRS lien was filed against him with the Honolulu Bureau of Conveyances in the amount of $1,739,383.
 
The 32-year-old resident of Hawaii made People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" list in 2000. At that time, onlookers believed he would be the next great American tennis pro. Missing that mark, the highlight of his career was in 2001 when he was ranked 14th in the world.
 
Gambill’s lifetime tennis earnings total approximately $3.6 million. The Association of Tennis Professionals World Tour currently has him ranked at 818. Last year, Gambill appeared on the reality show, VH1’s Tough Love.
 
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