Wimbledon is fast approaching, and – in the UK at least – tennis is one of the sports at the forefront of everybody’s minds. With just over a month until it all kicks off, tennis fans all over the world are trying frantically to find tickets to attend in person, or failing that, buying large quantities of strawberries and cream to at least feel as though they’re there while watching the action on TV. No matter how you feel about sports in general, tennis seems to be a global unifier. There’s something for everyone, be it the sport itself, the pleasing aesthetic of the all-white outfits in the sun, the genteel feel of the game, or just the excuse it gives you to drink champagne in the middle of the day (specific to Wimbledon, but the point still stands).
Along with the general joys associated with the sport itself, there are the fantastic stars of the sport who’ve risen to celebrity status. Those interested in tennis will be au fait with stars of the court such as Caroline Wozniacki and David Ferrer, who have enjoyed enormous commercial success over the years. Even for those who have no idea about the sport there are numerous names it’s virtually impossible to escape, with figures like Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Venus and Serena Williams firmly in the international spotlight. Indeed, it’s the well-known names in the game who’ve made the millions from both their game and celebrity sports endorsement deals that lay claim to the title of the world’s richest tennis players as of 2014.
10. Andy Murray — $37 million
At number ten is Scottish tennis player Andy Murray, whose wealth is estimated at around thirty-seven million dollars, although recent wins may have bumped him up a few more million. Andy is currently ranked at World number eight and British number one, and is the reigning Wimbledon champion. Born in 1987, Andy first became a tennis champion in an under-10s tournament in his hometown in Scotland, and won his first ATP in 2006, after turning pro the year before. He is revered in Britain thanks to his breaking a seventy-seven year streak of there being no British male champion at Wimbledon in July of 2013.
9. Anna Kournikova — $50 million
At number nine is Russian tennis player Anna Kournikova, who’s worth an estimated fifty million dollars. Born in Moscow in 1981, Anna played tennis from a young age and achieved success early on — being declared Junior World Champion in 1995, getting to the fourth round of the U.S. Open in at the age of fifteen, and reaching the semi-finals of Wimbledon at sixteen. As an adult, however, her success was not quite so incredible; she only reached four finals out of 160 singles tournaments. As such, most of her net worth comes courtesy of her modelling career and celebrity status, having previously been romantically linked with stars such as singer Enrique Iglesias.
8. Novak Djokovic — $60 million
With a net worth of around sixty million dollars, Novak Djokovic is at number eight in terms of the world’s richest tennis pros. Having first held a tennis racquet at the age of four, Novak showed enormous promise as a tennis player from a young age. The political situation in his home country of Serbia made it impossible for him to get sufficient training there, so Novak moved to Munich at the age of thirteen to further his skills. From 2001, at the age of fourteen, Novak was winning competitions such as the French La Boule, and won his first ATP Challenger tournament in 2004. After winning the Australian Open in 2008 things seem to have just kept improving, with Novak holding an impressive ATP world number two ranking today.
7. Venus Williams — $62 million
At number eight is one half of the famed Williams sisters, Venus Williams, with about sixty-two million dollars to her name. Venus was subjected to a gruelling training routine from her childhood, with an average of four to five hours of tennis playing a day, but she never struggled under the pressure. In fact, she enrolled in an interior designing programme in the early 2000s, when her domination of women’s tennis was at its most formidable. She began playing pro at the Women’s Tennis Association when she was fourteen, and to date has won forty-three WTA titles and three Olympic Gold medals, has broken the record for the fastest serve ever recorded (at an impressive 129 mph) and has also competed in Wimbledon’s longest finals match, which lasted two hours and forty-five minutes.
6. Rafael Nadal — $70 million
Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal is at number six, with an estimated net worth of somewhere between seventy and eighty million dollars. Born in 1986, Rafael has been consistently ranked among the world’s top five tennis players since 2003, and currently holds the number one spot according to ATP. At the age of twenty four, he became the youngest player ever to complete the Grand Slam career. His uncle, professional tennis player Toni Nadal, encouraged Rafael to play left-handed as a child, in order to give him an edge on the court. Rafael is also the second player ever to achieve the Career Golden Slam, winning the Australian, French and U.S. Opens, Wimbledon, and the Olympics Gold.
5. Maria Sharapova — $90 million
Maria Sharapova is worth around ninety million dollars. Maria was born in Russia in 1986, and became a professional tennis player at the age of fourteen, after enrolling in a tennis academy in Florida five years earlier. In 2012, after winning the French Open, she became the tenth female tennis player to complete the career Grand Slam. She was also the first Russian woman to win the Wimbledon singles title, a feat achieved in 2004. As well as being a world-renowned tennis player, Maria has established a solid career in modelling, and has had numerous deals with companies such as Nike and Tiffany & Co.
4. Serena Williams — $90 million
At number four is other half of the Williams sisters, Serena Williams, with a net worth of somewhere between ninety million and a hundred million dollars. Serena was born in Michigan in 1981, and first began to play tennis at the age of four. In an incredible feat she won both a Singles and Doubles Gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, and has also won a title at all four Grand Slam tournaments. She has won fifty-six singles championships and twenty-two doubles championships over the course of her career, and like her sister continues also to excel in areas off the court, such as the fields of fashion and philanthropy.
3. Pete Sampras — $150 million
Retired tennis player Pete Sampras is at number three, with his wealth estimated at around an impressive hundred and fifty million dollars. Born to Greek immigrant parents in Maryland in 1971, Pete turned professional at the age of sixteen and during his career won the U.S. Open five times, and Wimbledon seven times. His measured and reserved manner meant that often fans were drawn to the more charismatic and emotive players of the time, such as Andre Agassi, but Pete had a devoted following which he delighted when he beat Andre at the final of the U.S. Open in 2002 at the age of thirty-one, making him the oldest Open champion since 1970.
2. Andre Agassi — $175 million
Andre Agassi is worth about one hundred and seventy-five million dollars. Born in 1970, Andre lived in Las Vegas as a child and was first encouraged to take up tennis by his father. He turned professional in 1986, and attracted enormous attention thanks to his confidence and almost flashy presentation, obtaining an endorsement from Nike before he’d even won a title. He went through a difficult time around 1997 and allegedly struggled with drug abuse, dropping from his place as world number one. However, by 1999 he’d turned it around, and won several more titles before his retirement in 2006.
1. Roger Federer — $180 million
ATP world number four Roger Federer is the number one richest tennis player in the world as of 2014, with a net worth of a hundred and eighty million dollars. He was the first Swiss man to win a Grand Slam title, and in 2012 became a seven-time Wimbledon champion. Roger showed great promise in numerous sports as a child, but made the decision to focus on tennis as it was the sport at which he felt he excelled most naturally. Although an unlucky last few years has seen his ranking drop significantly, he is still hugely popular with tennis fans worldwide. His wife, Mirka, herself a former pro tennis player, has recently given birth to her second set of twins. This has led to hopeful speculation that should they follow in their parents’ footsteps we may someday see a Federer-Federer v. Federer-Federer mixed doubles match.