When we think of the highest paid sports personalities on the planet, those players of basketball, American football, baseball, association football, boxers and Formula One often spring to mind. However, tennis players aren’t shy of a few notes, either. In fact, some tennis players are amongst the best-paid sports stars on the planet. As with any athlete, there is a great disparity between the top and the bottom earners. If you wanted to play professional tennis right now, though, what would you likely to be able to earn?
How Much Does a Tennis Player Earn?
As mentioned, the amount a tennis player earns varies, depending upon several factors. For starters, the average salary can be in the millions of dollars range for seasoned pros such as Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, or the Williams’ sisters and Maria Sharapova. These types of world famous tennis stars can easily rack up $5 million or more per annum (solely from tennis). At the middle-end of the top, players ranked around 100th in the world are looking at $100,000 and up. Of course, at the lowest echelons of the tennis ranking system, rank newbies seldom earn anything at all.
The amount a tennis player earns depends on the prize money they win, and any endorsements or sponsorship deals they may have. They can also supplement their income by doing television interviews, appearing in commercials and other media-orientated opportunities. In many cases, it is these endorsement and sponsorship deals which generate the vast portion of a pro tennis players income. Take Maria Sharapova’s 2012 deal with Nike, for instance. This was estimated to be worth around $70 million over several years. In 2011, Sharapova pocketed $25 million (before tax) from various deals.
The Hidden Costs of Tennis
Tennis players don’t have everything their own way, though. In fact, the pro tennis tours cost money, even for their star players. The high-ranking tennis players in both the men’s and women’s game can cost around $150,000 a campaign or season. These are largely fees for entering the tours, travel expenses and hotel costs for all the luxurious parts of the globe that they travel to, as well as expenses for coaches and assistants and managers.
Provided a tennis player has a sponsorship deal or an endorsement, they often have their clothing, shoes and rackets written off by said companies. At the bottom of the totem pole, budding tennis stars must also raise their own income for such equipment and attire.
The fact of the matter is, this isn’t harsh at all. In fact, if you were to look at any major sport, you’d see the same pattern emerge. The most successful players end up multi-millionaires from sponsorship deals and on the back of their own success, of course. However, the lower-ranking stars must pay their way. For the very best of those budding stars, they will eventually stop paying their dues and make considerable incomes in their own right. But for now, they, the same as you, must start somewhere.