When world tennis cashes in

May 5, 2016, 2:20:53 AM

The winners of Wimbledon’s next edition will earn 200 000 euros more in prize money than what they earned in 2015. A significant rise in a sport which has been enriching its champions more and more since the beginning of the Open era. Here’s the proof

The Wimbledon tournament’s organizers have just announced that the winners of the men’s and women’s table of the next edition will earn 200 000 euros more in prize money than what they earned in 2015. A significant rise in a sport which has been enriching its champions more and more since the beginning of the Open era. The proof with numbers which could make a few heads spin.


Wimbledon, multiplied by 1000 in 48 years

Kling, Kling ! The news just arrived these last few days : almost 200 000 euros will be added on the cheques given to the winners of the men’s and women’s table in the next edition of Wimbledon. Those who will succeed Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams on the records will earn the tidy sum of 2 million pounds, or 2,58 million euros. The rise will concern every player, including those who’ll be knocked out in the first round of the main draw, who will console themselves of this early blow with 39 000 more euros in their pockets. But to truly evaluate the spectacular evolution of the prize money, it’s best to put things into perspective. 10 years ago, Roger Federer, who had just won, had earned 853 763 euros. It’s more than three times less than what will earn the winners of the 2016 edition ! 2006 was also the last year in which the winner of the women’s table earned less than her counterpart in the men’s draw. Unlucky for Amélie Mauresmo, who had won and « only » earned 797 484 euros. The first professional edition of Wimbledon was played in 1968. That year, Rod Laver and Billie Jean King had respectively received a cheque of 2552 and 957 euros (2000 pounds and 750 pounds). Ancient times…


The US Open, a higher prize money each year

If the organizers at Wimbledon are showing themselves to be more and more generous each year, it’s however not the most lucrative Grand Slam tournament. At the US Open, last year’s winners, Novak Djokovic and Flavia Pennetta, have each earned 3,3 million dollars, or 2,9 million euros. It’s more than the 2,58 million euros promised to Wimbledon’s next winners, but also more that the prize money offered at Roland Garros (2 million euros in 2015) and Melbourne (2,4 million euros during this year’s edition). The total of the bonuses granted to the players who take part in the men’s and women’s tables represents a budget of more than 29 millions euros, to compare with the 102 000 euros of prize money initially granted in 1972.  To put things in perspective, that’s not even what a player who had qualified for the third round of the 2015 edition earned (105 000 euros).


Djokovic has already surpassed Federer

The head-spinning numbers can also be found while taking a closer look in the current best players bank account. The world number 1 Novak Djokovic is still a long way from retirement but he already holds the absolute record in terms of prize money earned. Since his professional start in 2003, he has already piled up 98,2 million dollars in prize money only, or 85,9 million euros ! The 100 million euros mark could be reached very quickly…in any case, he has just overtook Roger Federer (85,6 million euros earned in prize money), thanks to an exceptional 2015 season : last year, Djoko earned 18,8 million dollars in prize money. It’s almost as much as the total of the sum earned in 2015 by his three chasers at the ATP Race, Murray (7,2 million euros), Federer (7,5 million euros) and Wawrinka (5,7 million euros).


Serena Williams… and the rest

On the women’s side, Serena Williams is also the recordwoman in terms of prize money, with 66,3 million euros earned in tournaments since her professional debuts. It’s twice as much as Sharapova, who has earned 32 million euros in prize money, and three times more than the current world number 2, Radwanska, with 20 million euros.


The « old » champions left behind

What are Djokovic’s 85,9 million euros and Serena Williams’ 66,3 million euros worth ? To truly evaluate these astronomical sums, it’s best to compare them with the earnings of precedent champions. Therefore, in the women’s records, Steffi Graff has earned « only » 19,1 million euros in prize money between 1982 and 1999, Martina Navratilova 18,9 million euros and Chris Evert, 7,3 million euros. The difference between generations is even more astounding in the men’s table with a Pete Sampras having earned 37,9 million euros in prize money, Ivan Lendl 18,6 million euros, Jimmy Connors 7,5 million euros, and Ilie Nastase, the Open Era’s first world number 1, 1,7 million euros ! It’s less than what Nick Kyrgios, 21, less than 4 years on the circuit and only one title won (Marseille, this season), has already earned : the Australian bad boy has already earned 2,1 million euros in prize money. Tennis makes players rich. Richer and richer.


By Régis Delanoë