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Costanza
Sep 10th, 2009, 06:24 PM
Service Job
How good does a tennis pro have to be to make a living?
By Christopher Beam

During Andy Roddick's match against Marc Gicquel at the U.S. Open Thursday night, commentator John McEnroe quipped on ESPN that Gicquel, now ranked No. 81, might have to start looking for another job. How good does a tennis player have to be to make a living?

In the top 200 or so, depending on what you consider a comfortable wage. Say we draw the line at $100,000 a year—before expenses (more on that below). In 2008, slightly more than 200 men made at least $100,000 in prize money. For women, the numbers were slightly lower: In 2008, 143 women players made at least $100,000 or more in prize money, while 200 of them made at least $50,000 in prize money.

Tennis pros typically make money through sponsorships, appearance fees, and, of course, by doing well at tournaments. The amount of prize money a pro earns depends on how many tournaments he plays and which ones. The four Grand Slams—the U.S. Open, Wimbledon, the French Open, and the Australian Open—all pay the most. The winner of the U.S. Open, for example, gets $1.6 million. The runner-up gets $800,000, and the semi-finalists take $350,000. But even if you don't win a single match, you still get $19,000. (The main draws of the U.S. Open feature 128 men and 128 women.) On the men's circuit, the second-most-lucrative tournaments are the nine Masters 1000. Top-ranked players end up making millions in prize money alone. Roger Federer, for example, has raked in $50 million over his career. The 100th ranked player, Kevin Kim, has made $1.3 million in prize money since 1997.

Sponsorships, meanwhile, go to the very top-ranked players. Federer has a 10-year contract with Nike, which earns him $10 million every year, plus other deals totaling nearly $28 million. Maria Sharapova earned an estimated $22 million from sponsorships in 2008. (That is out of a total of roughly $580 million in tennis sponsorship spending this year.) Players ranked between No. 25 and No. 100 might get minor sponsorship deals, too, but they tend to be less lucrative.

Another source of income is so-called "appearance fees." To attract media attention, certain minor tournaments offer highly ranked players money just to show up, regardless of how they play. Players outside the top 10 might make between $50,000 and $150,000 per appearance, while the most elite athletes can make high six-figures. The Dubai Tennis Championships, for instance, offered Rafael Nadal nearly $1 million to play in 2009. (He declined.) Technically, appearance fees are illegal in women's tennis, but the rule is often circumvented.

Of course, a tennis player's income is offset by expenses. The biggest cost is travel. In 2009 alone, the 50th-seed on the men's circuit played tournaments in Connecticut, Ohio, Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Montreal, Switzerland, Germany, France, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Great Britain, South Africa, and Australia. Tournaments give players a daily allowance to cover hotel and food, but they don't cover travel costs. Airfare therefore comes out of a player's earnings. The next biggest cost is paying a coach or trainer. Coaches for players ranked below No. 150 might make $500 a week. If the player is in the top 100, his coach might get between $1,000 and $2,500 a week, plus 10 percent of the player's prize money, plus bonuses. If a player jumps in ranking, for example, the coach often takes an end-of-year bonus. Coaches for elite players, like the players themselves, make millions:o. Other costs include fees for practice space, and, for some, interns.

Not all earnings are created equal. Male tennis players typically make more than females, although the gap is closing. The top 10 tournaments, for example, all offer equal prize money to men and women. Singles players, meanwhile, rake in more than doubles. The prize money for doubles winners is smaller than for singles—$420,000 in the U.S. Open, for example, as opposed to $1.6 million. Plus, the doubles teams split the cash.

Great article!

ED fan forever
Sep 10th, 2009, 06:30 PM
I've often wondered just how much money was sometimes involved in luring players to play some tournaments. Now I undersatnd why Serena played in Marbella:hatoff:

St.Sebastian
Sep 10th, 2009, 06:42 PM
Domachowska once said that players can make a living if they are ranked 60-80.

davidmario
Sep 10th, 2009, 08:21 PM
petkovic said you have to be top50 to be able to live and live from the money you made after the career.
anca barna said you have to make 75k dollars a year to make a living.
Kveta Peschke said you only get a free hotel and stuff at the big events Tier1/Tier2.
I just wonder what players outside the top 200 do to survive, the have no clothing deals and don't get a lot of prizemoney, yet there are still players tumbling around 200-500 for years!

drake3781
Sep 10th, 2009, 11:22 PM
100K gross is bare bones making a living, considering all the expenses, and the time invested from the player and her support people. But I guess that is about the right place to cut it in making a living vs. not.

Jem
Sep 11th, 2009, 02:54 AM
A player not too long ago gave me this rule of thumb:
If you can earn between $40,000 and $50,000 per year in prize money, you can support yourself. There's not much left over, if anything, but you can pay the bills and play without too many worries. In fact, even you can make a grand slam such as Wimbledon, in doubles or singles or mixed, the per diem you get as a player will tide you over for about three months if you're thrifty. That's why making the grand slams is so lucrative for players. The player said if you can make at least $100,000, you live pretty well and can save a little money in the process. You're not wealthy by any means, but neither are you struggling.

I know several players who make about $50,000 to $60,000 a year and think it's smart to keep playing in hopes they'll score the big payday.

Consider what happened to Gullickson and Parrot today. They each walked away with $75,000, plus the tournament per diem. Not to shabby for players of their stature!

jefrilibra
Sep 11th, 2009, 03:10 AM
Ive often wondered how those doubles specialists make their living. There are not so many tournaments and most of them dont even play singles and even if they do, most are really crap at it. And Im pretty sure their endorsements are not that massive either.

darrinbaker00
Sep 11th, 2009, 03:20 AM
Ive often wondered how those doubles specialists make their living. There are not so many tournaments and most of them dont even play singles and even if they do, most are really crap at it. And Im pretty sure their endorsements are not that massive either.
The doubles players make up for the lack of available prize money by playing almost every week.

SIN DIOS NI LEY
Sep 11th, 2009, 03:24 AM
Massu said that he lost money last year. Hard to believe cos Massu earned 350 000 dollars

fufuqifuqishahah
Sep 11th, 2009, 04:24 AM
Massu said that he lost money last year. Hard to believe cos Massu earned 350 000 dollars

He could have spent it unwell?

ArturoAce.
Sep 11th, 2009, 05:18 AM
your better off being a coach lol :lol:
$500 for a week (not even top 100), :D

SIN DIOS NI LEY
Sep 11th, 2009, 05:27 AM
He could have spent it unwell?

Massu can not spend so much time at his country unlike the europeans , nort-americans

It could be a reason

RND
Sep 11th, 2009, 06:21 AM
I always consider some Japanese players smart. Players like Namigata and Sema rarely play outside of Japan ITFs. That saves some travel expense. And given the fact that there are so many Japanese ITFs every month, and that, say, a winner in a 50k singles event gets like $7,700, I think they can actually live pretty well even without going to the Grand Slams.

Talula
Sep 11th, 2009, 06:50 AM
Ive often wondered how those doubles specialists make their living. There are not so many tournaments and most of them dont even play singles and even if they do, most are really crap at it. And Im pretty sure their endorsements are not that massive either.

If you're a good doubles player you can make a fortune. And still call yourself a Grand Slam champion if you win.

Talula
Sep 11th, 2009, 06:55 AM
$19,000 is nothing for the 1st round. 1st round doesn't seem much of an achievement. But if you think how many pro tennis players in a Slam there actually are from all over the world, there is a very small number compared to the number of soccer players worldwide who get paid far more. Tennis is not as lucrative for many people compared to other sports. The few get riches but they are a small number of people. I think it's one reason why tennis doesn't attract so many young people to play - you have to risk a lot of time, effort, investment with not a great chance of major success. Whereas in other sports you have a much greater chance of success for often less effort.

DutchieGirl
Sep 11th, 2009, 06:56 AM
Ive often wondered how those doubles specialists make their living. There are not so many tournaments and most of them dont even play singles and even if they do, most are really crap at it. And Im pretty sure their endorsements are not that massive either.
Doubles specialists tend not to have a (travelling)coach, they can play alot more often as they don't get quite so tired. You are right, the endorsements don't tend to be much, but if you are a decent doubles player, you can at least make $50-$60k a year, and then if you are not paying for a coach and you are travelling close to home it doesn't cost so much.

SIN DIOS NI LEY
Sep 11th, 2009, 07:03 AM
$19,000 is nothing for the 1st round. 1st round doesn't seem much of an achievement. But if you think how many pro tennis players in a Slam there actually are from all over the world, there is a very small number compared to the number of soccer players worldwide who get paid far more. Tennis is not as lucrative for many people compared to other sports. The few get riches but they are a small number of people. I think it's one reason why tennis doesn't attract so many young people to play - you have to risk a lot of time, effort, investment with not a great chance of major success. Whereas in other sports you have a much greater chance of success for often less effort.

You are british , say football please

Bingain
Sep 11th, 2009, 07:04 AM
your better off being a coach lol :lol:
$500 for a week (not even top 100), :D

According to Brad Gilbert, these $500/week coaches may have to pay for their own airfare.

The Rough Business Of Coaching (http://www.forbes.com/2008/08/22/brad-gilbert-coaching-tennisbiz08-biz-sports-cx_bg_0822coach.html) by Brad Gilbert is a pretty good read. How much truth he's telling, I don't know.

Beat
Sep 11th, 2009, 08:08 AM
That's why making the grand slams is so lucrative for players.

it's not only lucrative, but vital to players with lower rankings. i mention this regarding to the "equal pay"-discussion, because it's easily forgotten how important the good money from the grand slams is for these players to be able to survive.

Rix643
Sep 11th, 2009, 08:35 AM
I only remember a few quotes from the ATP.
A former Dutch pro stated he needed to make around $250.000 to make a living on tour, Baghdatis said in an interview you've got to reach round 2 at a Masters tournament to break even for that week.
Mind you, these are guys who travel all around the world to play, accompanied by coaches, assistants and stuff. If you stay more or less in one place (continent) and play ITF's with just a parent, you can go around with much less.

Morrissey
Sep 11th, 2009, 09:56 AM
I think that's the reason players play doubles you CAN make a living through doubles. In the USA the Bryan Twins are rare they are tennis stars despite being doubles players. Also, the grand slams pay WELL for doubles the winning team can gets $200,000 each for winning the US OPEN. And in mixed doubles I think the winning team at the US OPEN gets a nice cheque too.

davidmario
Sep 23rd, 2009, 01:31 PM
Any idea how much they pay for hitting patners?
and at what ranking area players have their own full time hitting partner?
I wanna be one:angel:

DutchieGirl
Sep 23rd, 2009, 01:35 PM
Any idea how much they pay for hitting patners?
and at what ranking area players have their own full time hitting partner?
I wanna be one:angel:
Many players don't have a "hitting partner", they either hit with their coach or with other players at the tournament or their club.

KournikovaFan91
Sep 23rd, 2009, 01:38 PM
Don't certain countries give players grants for expenses, so then they keep the majority of their prize money.

Like the Kazakh players get 65k a year from the Kazakh gov.

DutchieGirl
Sep 23rd, 2009, 01:42 PM
Also possible. In NL they have certain "schemes" - like if you are in what they call "Jong Oranje" (it's like the best prospects) then you do get some expenses paid for - but it's usually just till you are 21.

Bingain
Sep 23rd, 2009, 01:54 PM
Any idea how much they pay for hitting patners?
and at what ranking area players have their own full time hitting partner?
I wanna be one:angel:

1. Like DutchieGirl said, few have hitting partners. In fact I think very, very few have. Most paid coaches are very competent hitting partners.

2. I think hitting partners are paid very little, other than accommodation, meals, and traveling. Imagine your daughter is 16 yo, about to start her pro career. Serena wants your daughter to be her hitting partner while training at home. Heck, you'd probably jump at it and/or pay to have the chance taken. I think I've read that Ivan Lendl had been Conners' hitting partner for a while.