Ever wondered how much money tennis players make when winning a big tournament? The answer’s millions. Even if you manage to make it to the first round of these tournaments, you will earn a decent couple of thousand. What about sponsors? How much do tennis players make from their sponsors? Sit down for this one.
Roger Federer banked over $190 million from his numerous sponsors in the last two years. Naomi Osaka made $60 million last year, with over $50 million earned from her portfolio of over twenty sponsors. Player’s that rank consistently in the top 10 will attract the most lucrative sponsorship deals.
Sponsors and endorsement deals follow the best players. And you don’t get any better than Federer, Djokovic, and Nadal. Together they have dominated men’s tennis for decades, and from a sponsor’s point of view, it makes perfect business sense to invest your money with the cream of the crop.
Which Tennis Players Gets Paid The Most From Sponsors?
Sponsorship and endorsement deals play a big part in the wealth that elite tennis players can create for themselves and their families.
The bigger the player’s profile – grand slam wins, player ranking, longevity, and overall career success – plays a role in initially attracting sponsors. Success on the court translates to more money.
Tennis players typically get paid in the following ways:
- Tournament Prize Money
- Endorsement Deals
- Appearance Fees
- Exhibition Fees
- Club Tennis Deals
Players who are earmarked to be the next best thing will also attract sponsorship deals, as long as there is a steady upwards curve in their careers. Success on the court translates to sponsorship, endorsement deals, and at a minimum, a sponsorship deal for apparel and rackets.
Take Rodger Federer, for example. He is the best player to have ever graced a tennis court for millions of fans worldwide. Fans love him as he’s a gentleman, a family man, a philanthropist, and one hell of a competitor.
He only managed to play 13 matches in 2021, yet he still earned more than $80 million from his sponsors. At the ripe “old” age of 40, with 20 Grand Slams behind his name, Roger is making more money while not playing than the players who do.
According to bleacherreport.com, Mr. Federer was the highest-paid athlete in the world in 2020, bringing in the bacon with a mouthwatering $106 million ($714,792 of the total was his earnings in prize money.)
He earned more than star athletes such as Cristiano Ronaldo ($105 million), Lionel Messi ($103 million), Lebron James ($88.2 million), and Tiger Woods ($62.3 million.) Federer is part of
In 2021 he again led the race for the highest-paid tennis players on the planet, earning an estimated $90 million according to Forbes, with less than $1 million earned in overall prize money. Federer’s biggest sponsorship deal is with Uniqlo, worth $300 million over 10 years.
The Uniqlo deal came after his long-standing deal with Nike ended (2008 to 2018), which brought in an estimated $120 million over the ten years. The “Swiss Master” loves his watches and signed a deal with Rolex worth $15 million early on in his career.
Here are some of Roger’s other sponsors that help him to be the world’s richest tennis player:
- Moet & Chandon Champagne
- Credit Suisse
Novak “Nole” Djokovic is a legend of the modern game. He holds 20 grand slam wins, the record for the most weeks as the Nr.1 player, and has earned more prize money on the court than any other player – $154,927,064.
According to Forbes, Novak made $30 million in the period between May 1, 2020, to May 1, 2021, from his sponsors:
- Raiffeisen Bank International
- Ultimate Software Group
“Rafa,” as he is known worldwide, became the most successful grand slam-winning men’s tennis player when he won an epic battle against Danil Medvedev at the US Open 2021. His record stands at 21 grand slams, one more than Federer and Djokovic.
According to Forbes, Nadal earned an impressive $27 million last year, of which $23 million were earned off the court via endorsement deals and his sponsors:
- Richard Mille
Nadal charges around $1 million per appearance at exhibitions and smaller ATP events, increasing his off-court earnings substantially.
The former Nr. 4 men’s tennis player from Japan, Kei Nishikori (the most successful male Japanese tennis player), is currently ranked Nr. 64 on the ATP rankings. Despite the low ranking, Nishikori earned a mouthwatering $26 million from his sponsors last year.
The meteoric rise of Daniil Medvedev was spectacular to watch over the last three years. He occupies the Nr.2 ranking on the ATP ranking list, just behind Novak Djokovic.
According to Forbes, he earned around $8 million off the court last year. If he keeps on performing, his sponsorship deals will increase, as seen with a recent endorsement deal with HyperX (a gaming gear company.)
Medvedev’s other sponsors include:
- Bovet Watches
- Tinkoff Bank
Japanese female tennis player, Naomi Osaka, has topped the list of Forbes for the highest-paid female athlete in the world for the second year running. The 4-time Grand Slam winner earned an estimated $60 million, with over $50 million from sponsors and endorsement deals.
Naomi was the first-ever Japanese player to win a tennis Grand Slam Tournament. After she won the US Open in 2020, following that up with a back-to-back slam when she won the Australian Open at the beginning of 2021 – she had sponsors lining up for her signature.
Osaka has over twenty sponsors and will continue to grow them as her career grows. As long as you perform on the court, the money will roll in. That’s the name of the sponsorship game; status, performance, and marketability.
Here are some of the sponsors that pay Naomi an eye-catching $55 million per year:
- Tag Heuer
- Louis Vuitton
- Melco Crown Entertainment
- Frankies Bikinis
- Beats Electronics
- Moringa & Company
- Nissin Foods Holdings
- Wowow Inc
- Levi Strauss & Co
One of the biggest legends of woman’s tennis, constantly featuring on the Forbes highest-paid female athlete list, is the lady with the most tennis grand slams (23), Serena Williams. Serena earned a massive $41.5 million in 2021, with $40 million coming in endorsements and from the following sponsors:
- Ford Motor
- Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD)
- Beats Electronics
- JP Morgan
World Nr. 1 woman’s tennis player shocked the whole world when she retired in March 2022, at the very young age of 25. The three-time grand slam winner made $6.9 million in 2021, with $3 million from endorsements alone.
There’s no doubt had Barty continued playing that, the sponsors would be knocking her door down in the coming years.
How Much Do Lower-Ranked Players Earn From Sponsors?
At the other end of the spectrum, the sponsorship deals are not as lucrative as those found on the top. Although the lower-ranked players will have to break into the top 10 to attract bigger sponsors, playing consistent and attractive tennis can also help their cause.
Here is a quick recap of what lower-ranked players can expect to earn from sponsors:
- Top 50 players: These players do compete in some of the best tournaments, which means more exposure, and the possibility of going on a great run can result in additional sponsorships or endorsement deals. Expected income from sponsors will vary between $100,000 to $90+ million.
- Top 250 players: These lower-ranked players (50 to 250) can struggle to attract sponsors. It’s all about performing for them, entering smaller tournaments, and aiming to win them. Some might have an equipment sponsor in place or get some free merchandise here and there, but ultimately, they rely on prize money for their income.
Some professional players on tour struggle to make a living from tennis while still making their way to higher rankings. Higher rankings result in qualification for more lucrative tournaments and more money.
A player ranked 100 to 250th will have to make extra income by participating in IFT tournaments, ATP Challenger Tour, and exhibition matches.
The tennis elite (men and women players alike) get rewarded for their success through very lucrative sponsorship opportunities. The top 10 players on both sides will typically attract the most lucrative endorsement opportunities.
That’s not to say that lower-ranked players don’t have any sponsors, but they won’t receive anything close to what the top players earn. Not until they make their way to the top section of the pile.