Tennis is one of the most popular sports in the world, enjoyed by about 60 million men and women from different countries. Even though the game is not as dynamic and spectacular as football or hockey, tens of thousands of spectators visit tennis stadiums, and hundreds of millions follow their favourite athletes on TV. How much do they earn? Read below.

It All Starts with a Large Investment

The preparation of the best players begins at an early age. To hire a trainer for a child, buy equipment, rent a court, parents spend at least $20 thousand per year. Without the help of relatives or sponsors, it is simply impossible to get into the top players. At least, you can calculate how much the services of a physiotherapist, psychologist, and agent cost. To take part in the best competitions, you need funds for air tickets, hotel accommodation, and meals. Some parents even click here to get some extra money.

Considering all these nuances, not every strong athlete can get into the leaders. Participation in international competitions of the Australian Open level can become a huge step in career growth. This is an open tournament for everyone who has passed the qualifying rounds, with a prize pool of $55 million. You can only imagine how much money you need to just go there and make yourself known to the whole world.

The biggest expenses start after winning international competitions. This is due to taxes that will have to be paid:

  • Roland Garros — 15%
  • Wimbledon — 20%
  • US Open — 30%

Most professionals earn between $76,000 and $110,000 a year which—according to a simple income tax calculator—falls into a higher tax bracket than most folks. However, the expenses of players below the 300 level are significantly higher than the income. To reach a net profit, you need to enter the list of the 150 strongest athletes.

Income of Tennis Players

According to Forbes, three tennis players were included in the 2020 TOP-30 richest athletes in the world:

  1. Swiss Roger Federer — $106.3 million (salary — $6.3 million, and advertising — $100 million)
  2. Serb Novak Djokovic — $44.6 million (salary — $12.6 million, and advertising — $32 million)
  3. Spaniard Rafael Nadal — $40 million (salary — $14 million, and advertising — $26 million)

These stars make tens of millions of dollars a year just like the famous football and basketball players. Moreover, the lion’s share of income comes from advertising contracts. Roger Federer made $106 million in 2020, overtaking Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, and thus became the athlete with the highest annual income.

Of course, only a few are capable of achieving such a level of skill in professional sports, which will make it possible to earn millions of dollars. The first income for tennis players begins at the young age of 16-17 years. But these funds do not even cover current expenses. The real money comes to tennis players after getting into the TOP-100 and participating in major tournaments as part of the ATP tour for men and the WTA tour for women.

The salary of a tennis player depends entirely on the number of tournaments won, which, in turn, affects the number of sponsorship contracts. The gap between the incomes of athletes of different levels in tennis is huge.

The winners and participants of the tournaments receive not only prize money, but also points, based on which world ratings are built and fame comes, allowing them to earn money on advertising of various brands. The most prestigious and highly profitable are the Grand Slam tournaments:

  • the Australian Open — $4,120,000 for a win 
  • Roland Garros — €1,600,000 for the first place
  • Wimbledon — £2,350,000 for a win
  • the US Open — $3,000,000 for the first place

Not surprisingly, even despite the fabulous property prices, many eminent tennis players, including Serb Novak Djokovic, Croat Marina Cilic, and Danish Karolina Wozniacki, prefer to live in Monaco, where there is no personal income tax and comfortable conditions for training and living are created. In addition to the Grand Slam series, professional tennis players take part in less prestigious tournaments with different prize pools throughout the year.

In Conclusion

Top tennis players of the Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic level are sometimes specially invited to participate in the tournaments from the ATP 250 series. At the same time, only for participation, athletes can get 1-2 million dollars. Still, most of the earnings come from sponsorship contracts. Roger Federer has been earning at least $50-60 million a year on advertising for quite a long time. In women’s tennis, Russian Anna Kournikova enjoyed similar success among advertisers. Her revenues from advertising of world brands in the best years could be 25 times higher than earnings from participating in tournaments.


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