How Much Money Do Tennis Players Make [and Are All Tennis Players Rich?]

How much money do tennis players make?

Looking to understand how much do tennis players earn every year and whether it’s enough to make a living, especially given how short the careers of sports players are? Here’s all the information on tennis player incomes at various levels and rankings.

Tennis has often been touted as a rich person’s sport but this myth was busted very quickly when tennis tournaments were suspended on both, the ATP and WTA tours due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sure, the top 50 or 75 players do make a lot of money but the suspension of tennis matches became a big issue for the lower-ranked players. So dire was the situation that the men’s world number one Novak Djokovic had to suggest to set up a fund for players ranked below 100th on the charts, and for the top 100 players to contribute towards it.

Interestingly, the then-third ranked Dominic Thiem, with a 2019 earning of $1.75 million, refused to part with his ‘hard-earned’ money for this fund because he felt some lower-ranked players weren’t trying hard enough anyway. Oh well.

The idea was later scrapped when ATP, WTA and the Grand Slams combined to form their own fund to help out the lower-ranked players but the pandemic had brought out a glaring issue; there was a big chasm in the income of the haves and the have-nots in tennis.

Which is why it is important to know how much do tennis players earn at every level, especially if you are looking to make a career out of it. Please remember, these figures are applicable to the year 2020 but one can very easily extrapolate them over the years to understand how things have changed for you.

Let’s first start with the various ways in which tennis players make money during their career.

How Do Tennis Players Earn Their Living?

There are different ways in which tennis player earn money and while all of these earning methods might not apply to all players, it still is a good starting point for this discussion. Here’s how tennis players make money.

Tournament Prize Money

This is the most basic form of earnings for all tennis players; by winning tennis matches on the ATP and WTA tours along with Grand Slams. Whatever is the player rank, and whichever tournament one is participating in, the organizers award prize money to the participating players and depending on where a player finishes in that tournament, he/she is eligible to earn that big a check.

Grand Slam tournaments like the Australian Open (prize money here), French Open (here), Wimbledon (here) and US Open (here) pay the most, with even the first round losers in the singles draw at Wimbledon earning a whopping GBP 45,000.

Below this are the second rung of tournaments, like the ATP 1000s (or the Masters) and WTA Premier Mandatory and WTA Premier. The others like ATP 500s and ATP 250s on the men’s tour and WTA International competitions on the women’s tour pay even lesser.

The next tier of competitions include the Challengers which is followed by the Futures events, where the total prize money for the entire tournament is, at times, less than $50,000.

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Sponsorship & Endorsement

For most top players, this forms a solid chunk of their overall income. Those like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka have extraordinary deals with the Nikes and the Rolexes of the world.

Here’s what an article in Forbes estimates:

“The on-court dominance [of Federer, Djokovic & Nadal] has produced a combined $373 million in career prize money for the trio. But the money off the court is even sweeter, to the tune of a cumulative $1.2 billion during their careers from endorsement partners and appearance fees.”

Even the lower-ranked players have their own sponsorship deals, especially with equipment companies. The lower a player is ranked, the lesser is the amount of money exchanged and beyond a certain point, it would be down to just the use of a set free racquets each year for example.

Appearance Fee

The top tennis players aren’t just paid by the sponsors and given prize money cheques, but also offered appearance fees to feature in the tournaments. Depending on the marketablity of the player, they are offered more or less to play in the lower-level, ATP 250 or 500 tournaments in the men’s calendar or the WTA Internationals on the women’s tour and that adds to their overall income.

Again, this isn’t something a lower-ranked player will be given and it’s more or less restricted to only the highly ‘visible’ ones.

This could work at the lower-level tournaments too. Like for example if a Challenger competition attracts players ranked between 100th and 200th on the ATP Rankings, and the organizers can get a 65th-ranked player to sign up to play in the tournament, they might have to pay him a decent sum of money over and above the prize money.


These are usually a part of a player’s sponsorship contracts and depend on how deep a player went in a competition, how many tournaments he/she participated in, in a country (for instance if the sponsor is US-based and wants more exposure in the country) and other factors.

Exhibition & Club Matches

Other than the ATP and WTA tour-level matches, there are other exhibition tournaments and club competitions which are organized for a wide variety of reasons. For example, during the coronavirus pandemic, country-specific exhibition tournaments were played, and newer formats introduced, like the Ultimate Tennis Showdown.

Even before the pandemic hit the world, players were involved in competitions like the Mubadala Tennis Tournament or the World TeamTennis, all of which included the signing up of players of different pedigree and being paid to participate in it.


Some active players coach kids on the side for a fee in order to boost their income during off times like when the tour is shut (this period is becoming shorter and shorter) or when there are no tournaments a player has played for self or during injury rehabs.

This earning pales in comparison with others but it’s something to allow players, especially the lower-ranked ones, to keep going.

Now that we have the ways of earning for tennis players out of the way, let’s look at how much do they make. We will be looking at only the prize money earnings here and while sponsorship makes for a huge chunk of earning for the top stars, that is not the case for the lower-ranked players.

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How Much Money Do Tennis Players Make?

Player salaries in tennis is rather skewed for those at the top of the rankings with the top 10 players raking in more than USD 13 million in 2019 in total, 50-100th-ranked players drawing an annual pay of little over half a million dollars while those ranked between 100th and 300th averaging around $10,000 in the year.

It’s interesting to note tennis is often called one of the most skewed sports in term of earnings; i.e. the top players earn majority of whatever is there to earn while those ranked outside the top 100 struggle to even make a decent living out of it.

In this 2018 article at The Conversation, an in-depth analysis of how the economics of tennis works has been carried out and the conclusion draw is rather gloomy. The article compares a career in tennis with gambling, given how minuscule is the percentage of players who would go on to make this into something big.

According to this research, the average earning of tennis players in 2018 was calculated to be about $300,000 but this again, doesn’t take into account how heavily skewed that is to those in the top 10. Also, if a player earns that average over his/her career, subtracting the travel, lodging, equipment, training and coaching costs (not to mention taxes), the player would be left with almost next to nothing.

John Isner, a former top-10 player from USA, has also written in a column in Forbes, how tough it is for players outside the top 50 to make an earning out of sponsorship in tennis.

He’s mentioned things have changed drastically in the last few years when it has become more difficult than earlier for even those ranked in the top 100 but outside the top 50 to get sponsorship deals with prospective clients. With escalating costs associated with travel, meals, lodging, accounting services, training, medical and racket stringing, it comes as no surprise, things get very tight for the lower-ranked players.

Here are a few examples of the earnings of some of the tennis players in the world at the time of writing. Please note we have mentioned male tennis player salaries, with the female tennis player salaries on similar lines too.

Lloyd Harris (ranked 98th at the time of writing)

South Africa’s Lloyd Harris made a career-best ranking of 72nd in 2020 but at the time when the tour was off because of the pandemic, he was at 98th in the world. The 23-year-old, by then, had earned nearly $950,000 in career prize money. Subtract the costs associated with being a professional tennis player and the final, pre-tax earning would be down to $350,000.

This obviously doesn’t include any kind of a sponsorship deal on the side or any of the other aforementioned methods of earning but trust it to not add too significantly to his overall earning. It’s only when Lloyd’s ranking begins to improve or he has a breakthrough Grand Slam performance (at the moment he hasn’t made it past the second round at any of the majors) will there be a substantial bump up.

Thiago Seyboth Wild (ranked 114th at the time of writing)

One of the reasons why Brazil’s Thiago Seyboth Wild is an excellent example to consider is because he has never broken into the top 100 at the time of writing this. More vitally though, the 114th-ranked player only recently won his maiden ATP title at the Chile Open and yet, his career earnings so far are a mere $225,000 before costs.

Again, get rid of all those costs for a tennis player and we could be looking at an earning of less than $100,000 before tax.

Now make no mistake, he is a just 20 and has hopefully a long career in front of him, but it also is an indicator of how despite winning an ATP title, it’s tough to make a solid income unless one can be a regular at doing so.

Prajnesh Gunneswaran (ranked 132nd at the time of writing)

India’s Prajnesh Gunneswaran once made it to 75th on the ATP Rankings and is currently 132nd. More typically, we are looking at a 30-year-old, who is more towards in the twilight of his career as compared to someone like the 20-year-old Seyboth Wild.

Gunneswaran is a regular on the Challenger circuit, has never won an ATP title and never made it past the first round at a Grand Slam. His career earnings are pegged at around $750,000 and if one adds up regular costs, he might not even get to $250,000.

One other thing to remember is the amount of investment a lot of these players have to make of their own to kick-start a tennis career. Not every national tennis association is a rich one and a lot of these players have to scrape through.

Dmitry Popko (ranked 176th at the time of writing)

Consider the example of the best singles player on the Futures Tennis circuit in 2019, the 23-year-old Dmitry Popko who achieved a career-high ranking of 167th in 2020. He had won seven singles and one doubles titles on the Futures circuit and reached the final at one Challenger competition too.

How much did Popko earn in 2019? Less than $50,000.

Liam Broady (ranked 211th at the time of writing)

British player Liam Broady has a career-best ranking of 154th and as a 26-year-old, his career earnings have been just over $600,000. Having played nearly 10 years at the senior tour, that makes it an earning of around $60,000 each year.

Nino Serdarušić (ranked 299th at the time of writing)

Croatia’s Nino Serdarušić has been around for five years on the senior circuit but the 23-year-old has never bettered a ranking of 192nd and earned just over $200,000 in that time. This gives him an average income of $40,000.

It gets a lot worse as we look at it even further down the ranking charts.


If you are thinking of making a career in tennis playing, you must realize that while it looked rosy all the years, the picture has gotten more clear after the coronavirus pandemic hit and voices of the lower-ranked players rose to a din.

It might not be ‘as bad as gambling’ as we spoke about earlier because a lot of it depends on your own perception of your skills but if you are looking to make a long and solid-paying career out of it, you better be ready to dedicate it all to it. Because while you might earn decent-sized pay-checks when you get even in the top 100 of the rankings, there are steady and exorbitant costs involved with the sport of tennis.

So, do give due focus on your education, whichever part of the world you belong so that you have an option to fall back on in case things don’t work out with tennis.

Stan Boone

I am the editor of Racket Sports World. I love my tennis, pickleball and most of the other racket sports played around the world and started this blog as my way to help other racquet sports fans even as I learn, explore and improve by connecting with them. Tweet at

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