TENNIS - Rich 'racquet' for some players
The Globe & Mail
January 3, 1987
In the year in which the governing powers finally put the tennis calendar in some meaningful order - a move creating two year-ending championships for each sex - Martina Navratilova and Ivan Lendl topped the charts for the second consecutive time.
Navratilova, winner of Wimbledon, U.S. Open and both Virginia Slims championships, received $1,905,841 (U.S.) in official prize money, including $280,157 in bonuses for heading the singles and doubles over-all standings. Lendl, winner of the French and U.S. Opens and both Masters titles, received $1,987,537, including an $800,000 bonus.
Navratilova played 18 tournaments over 21 weeks and Lendl 14 over 17.
Although the bonus made Lendl the first male to exceed $10-million in official career prize money - $10,292,129 - he trails Navratilova, the top female money winner with $11,792,315.
Incidentally, Lendl looks as if he will follow Navratilova and switch his citizenship to U.S. from Czechoslovakian. A homeowner in Greenwich, Conn., for five years, Lendl has applied for permanent U.S. residency and, if recently reported rifts with Czechoslovakia's Government are true, he will apply for U.S. citizenship when the residency requirement is fulfilled. Two other men cracked the million-dollar mark in 1986 - second-ranked Wimbledon champion Boris Becker, who netted $1,434,324, including $550,000 in bonus payments, and third-ranked Stefan Edberg of Sweden, Australian Open defending champ, who made $1,008,906, including $400,000 in bonuses.
By comparison, second-ranked and French Open champion Chris Evert Lloyd, sidelined with a knee injury for the final quarter of the year, won only $833,755, while third-ranked Steffi Graf of West Germany, winner of eight singles and five doubles titles, pulled in $695,846.
All told, 52 men and 22 women players won in excess of $100,000 last year. Among the new members of the $100,000 club are two players who made splashes in Canada - Czechoslovak Milan Srejber, runnerup in the defunct Corel indoor championships in Toronto, and Californian Jonathan Canter. Currently ranked No. 27, Srejber, who arrived in Canada broke and with holes in his tennis shoes, ended up with $136,633. No. 38-ranked Canter, who reached the semi-finals of last summer's Player's International, made $102,802.
Last year wasn't kind to Canadians. On Jan. 1, Canada had an unprecedented four players in the top 100 - two in the top 50. This year, while a dozen homegrown players are ranked in the top 300 - eight men and four women - only two remain in the top 100.
Although national champion Carling Bassett put together a wonderful spring campaign, her results tailed off drastically after Wimbledon - undoubtedly because of the death of her father, John F. Bassett. The 19-year-old from Toronto was fortunate to end the year at No. 20, down five places from 1985, when she achieved a career-high ranking, No. 8. Despite an erratic year, Bassett's on-court earnings were respectable - $83,823.
On the other hand, Helen Kelesi of Edmonton, who last fall won her first professional title, the Japan and Asian Open, improved marginally, rising to No. 39 from No. 48 and winning $58,213 - up substantially from $29,165 last year.
The men fared less well. Glenn Michibata of Toronto failed to duplicate his successful 1985 fall schedule and watched his ranking slip to No. 206 from No. 76 by year's end. However, Michibata's winnings increased to $58,337, compared with $26,031 in 1985.
Martin Wostenholme of Oakville, Ont., also dropped out of the top 100, but, like Michibata, he ended up winning more - $38,863, compared with $24,902.
The current top-ranked Canadian is Martin Laurendeau of Montreal, No. 119.
Briton John Lloyd won a paltry $38,066. However, if gossip mongers are correct, the estranged husband of Chris Evert Lloyd isn't in dire financial straits. Word is that Chris, alleged to be worth $20-million, offered John a $2-million settlement, leaving wags to christen John the "10 per cent man." To which other wiseacres retorted, "Not after their agent, International Management Group, takes its 27 per cent cut."