World's richest tennis players
Kurt Badenhausen and Maya Roney, Forbes |
September 22, 2005
ower in the game of tennis is usually measured by the speed of the serve or the force of a player's ground strokes. By these measures, Andy Roddick would be considered the most powerful tennis player thanks to his world record 155-mile-per-hour serve in last year's Davis Cup and his tour-leading 758 aces this year. On the women's side, Venus Williams holds the record for fastest serve at 128 miles per hour.
At Forbes.com, we measure power in terms of the money you make and the media exposure you get. From that standpoint, 18-year-old Maria Sharapova is tennis' most powerful player. She's only won one Grand Slam tournament (last year's Wimbledon) compared to seven for Serena Williams.
But the 6-foot 1-inch Russian has secured $15 million in annual endorsement income, and her cover girl good looks make her popular on the Web and with magazine editors.
In putting together our list, we used the methodology from our annual list of the world's most powerful celebrities. We looked at the highest-paid men and women in tennis over the past 12 months. We totaled prize money, appearance fees and endorsement income.
We then looked at their media exposure as measured by Google hits, press clips and TV and radio mentions. Lastly, we took into account appearances on the cover of three tennis magazines: Tennis, Tennis Life and Tennis Week
Prize money for our list of ten players was $26 million over the past 12 months, or just 22 per cent of their total income.
The bulk of the income for the top players is from endorsements, with shoe and clothing deals leading the way. The past year has seen unprecedented turnover in these deals for the top players.
Sharapova's deal with Nike surged thanks to her Wimbledon win. Nike has the two top-ranked players in the men's game, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, under contract, so, after 17 years, it cut ties with Andre Agassi.
Reebok dropped its top player, Andy Roddick, who moved onto Lacoste. Venus Williams, who signed a $7 million a year deal with Reebok in 2000, still wears the company's sneakers and clothing -- even though Reebok didn't pick up the option on her contract.
While many top players are losing their deals, Anna Kournikova, who hasn't played a professional match in more than two years, still cashes checks from Adidas.
Slide show: World's most powerful tennis players
World Rank: No. 1
Pay: $18.2 million
Web Hits: 829,000
Press Clips: 18,057
Sharapova signed nine deals with the likes of Canon, Colgate-Palmolive and Motorola after her Wimbledon win last year. Critics say that all of these deals detract from her tennis. But this year, she's won three events and became the first Russian ever--man or woman--to be ranked number one in the world.
World Rank: No. 1
Pay: $14 million
Web Hits: 563,000
Press Clips: 24,396
Federer eschews an agent when it comes to cutting deals with the likes of Nike, Wilson and Emmi. His family handles his business affairs. On the court, he's dominated his rivals since the start of 2004. Last year, he became the first man since 1988 to win three Grand Slam titles in one year. This year, he's won nine tournaments and compiled a match record of 64 wins against only three losses.
Birthplace: Saginaw, MI
World Rank: No. 8
Pay: $12.7 million
Web Hits: 939,000
Press Clips: 18,429
When she is healthy, the youngest Williams sister is among the top players in the game. But for the past two years, injuries have derailed the former number one player. Nike is her biggest endorsement deal, and the company pays her close to $5 million a year to wear everything from hot pants to knee-high boots on the court.
Birthplace: Las Vegas
World Rank: No. 7
Pay: $26.2 million
Web Hits: 521,000
Press Clips: 16,082
In 2004, tennis's elder statesman became the oldest player to finish in the top ten since Jimmy Connors in 1988. His $30 million in career prize money is second all-time, behind Pete Sampras. Agassi's ten-year contract with Nike that ended this year was worth $140 million when you factor in the appreciation of Nike stock he was granted. He's now serving for Adidas, just like his wife Steffi Graf. Other endorsement deals are with Genworth Financial, Head and Estee Lauder's Aramis brand.
Birthplace: Omaha, NE
World Rank: No. 4
Pay: $9.7 million
Web Hits: 718,000
Press Clips: 21,507
Roddick's income will jump over the next 12 months thanks to new deals with Lacoste and Lexus. The Lacoste deal alone could be worth as much as $30 million over five years. Roddick also has deals with American Express, Babolat and Parlux Fragrances. America's top-ranked player has won 19 singles titles during his career.
World Rank: No. 3
Pay: $10.3 million
Web Hits: 299,000
Press Clips: 19,806
The former world-number one has won $16 million in prize money during his career. Australia's highest-paid sportsman played under the Nike banner his entire career until his latest contract expired this year. He recently signed a three-year clothing and footwear deal with Japanese sporting-goods firm Yonex.
Birthplace: Lynwood, Calif.
World Rank: No. 10
Pay: $6.5 million
Web Hits: 707,000
Press Clips: 13,344
Just when the tennis world was starting to think Venus was done competing for major titles; she goes out and wins her fifth Grand Slam and third Wimbledon in July. It was her first Grand Slam championship since 2001. Injuries and inconsistent play cost Williams her valuable Reebok deal, but another Grand Slam win and sponsors will be lining up at her door once again.
World Rank: No. 2
Pay: $7.2 million
Web Hits: 366,000
Press Clips: 12,533
Nadal is the hottest thing to hit tennis in years. He started the year ranked 51 in the world and has shot to number two thanks to nine tournament titles. His Nike tennis outfits have added to his appeal. They include clamdigger-style pants and sleeveless shirts that showcase the teen's muscles.
Birthplace: Palos Verdes, Calif.
World Rank: No. 2
Pay: $6 million
Web Hits: 210,000
Press Clips: 16,445
With $20 million in career-prize money, Davenport is on the verge of becoming the all-time leading money winner in women's tennis. She finished 2004 ranked number one in the world, which kicked in valuable bonuses from sponsors like Nike and Wilson.
World Rank: Not Ranked
Pay: $5 million
Web Hits: 936,000
Press Clips: 2,841
Despite not playing on the WTA Tour in more than two years, Kournikova, who is still not officially retired, is still the fifth highest-paid women's player thanks to lucrative deals with Adidas and Berlei bras. Kournikova famously never won a singles tournament, but she did manage to win 16 doubles titles during her career.
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