© Ella Ling

Rafael Nadal

Tenni$$$: Rafa and Roger's appearance fees


The Nadals have always been a canny clan when it comes to marketing their man but word from Spain this week has it that the world number two is paid 1 million euros, over two years, by Spain’s main television station TVE just to give them an interview at the end of each of his matches.

That’s clearly great work by Rafa Nadal’s management but what on earth are a state television network doing paying that kind of money? I dare say that Nadal, who is pretty generous with his time, would have spoken to them anyway because it is in his interests do so. Can you imagine the outcry if the BBC announced they were doing something similar with Andy Murray?

On the same lines, Roger Federer was the lone star in the field in Rotterdam last week. In recent years, tournament director Richard Krajicek has seen his fields ruined by injuries, coming, as it does, so soon after the Australian Open and Davis Cup. Why Federer would make the extra effort to go there is about as clear as it could be, if reports are to be believed that he was paid an appearance fee of $1 million, tax free, to make the trip. Now all the top players will tell you how well they are looked after by Krajicek but that’s really pushing the boat out.

After all, wasn’t it Federer who stepped in to insist that Krajicek might not be the right man to become the ATP’s new chief executive? Krajicek is clearly the forgiving kind and it has to be said that Federer put in a solid week’s work by winning the title. So everyone’s happy. But Federer’s probably happier than most.

Still with Federer and his Rotterdam win means he is unbeaten in ATP events with a permanent roof (indoors, in other words) since November 2010. It was his 20th indoor title and there was plenty of discussion as to how many more grand slams he might have to his name if there had been an indoor one. Well, it’s an interesting discussion and prompted me to have a look back down the years to see just who else might have benefitted. Since 1968, in terms of the percentage of matches won, Federer sits just fifth on the list.

Top of the tree is John McEnroe, with an 85.3% win-rate, including 51 indoor singles titles. Second, and this is a bit of a surprise, is Ivan Lendl, with Jimmy Connors third and Bjorn Borg fourth. The only other current player to make the top 10 is Murray, who stands eighth with a 78.1% record and nine titles to his name.


Here’s the full top 10:

1. John McEnroe        Win-loss: 419-72 (85.3%)       Titles: 51
2. Ivan Lendl             Win-loss: 344-71 (82.9%)       Titles: 41
3. Jimmy Connors      Win-loss: 460-103 (81.7%)      Titles: 52
4. Bjorn Borg             Win-loss: 215-51 (80.8%)       Titles: 23
5. Roger Federer       Win-loss: 217-52 (80.7%)        Titles: 20
6. Boris Becker          Win-loss: 297-75 (79.8%)       Titles: 30
7.   Arthur Ashe           Win-loss: 265-70 (79.1%)       Titles: 21
8. Andy Murray          Win-loss: 89-25 (78.1%)         Titles: 9
9.   Pete Sampras        Win-loss: 213-61 (77.7%)       Titles: 23
10. Rod Laver             Win-loss 136-41 (76.8%)       Titles: 14

Stats: ATP World Tour

  • Xtian

    Federer being the lone start is completely false. Moreover, you cannot claim 1 million is a lot (it really is not) when you haven’t present ANY other figures against which we can compare. You also fail to mention what bringing Federer to any tournament does in terms of revenue. Or did you just forget that conveniently. Also, the fact Fed had a different view regarding Krajicek’s candidacy for chairman, and rightly so in my opinion, does not mean anything in terms of relationship – it’s all business. I don’t see how Krajicek is the forgiving kind when he asked Roger to come personally and, in fact, Fed made him a favour by coming. Sensationalistic journalism like this is what ruins tennis for me most of the time.

    As a matter of fact, Mardy Fish got paid 300k to go Marseille this year (an ATP 250 event) and he’s nowhere near Federer in terms of popularity or achievements. He decided to go there because of the money and easier travel but that is a 250 event whilst Rotterdam is a 500 event so it is normal to expect higher appearance fees. In fact, Fish’s case is worse because he decided to skip Memphis, a 500 event, just so he can get the money. However, I would argue that if the money is paid and the incremental attendanceI agree the Nadal number is completely obscene as Spain is in trouble right now and Spanish taxplayers are essentially forking out 1 million over two years just to hear their millionaire countryman talking. That is ridiculous.

    • David Hardisty

      1. When Federer played in Estoril a couple of years ago the weekly ticket for the event literally went up by 50%. I called it the “Fed-tax”.
      2. What is very noticeable though is just how few 250s and 500s the top four play, never mind their supposed obligations. They may play a pre-AO event to warm up,  Dubai is lucrative, “local” tourneys e.g. Fed-Basle, Nole Belgrade, a grass warm-up such as Halle or Queens, but apart from that very, very  few. The reality is the top four have taken 18 of the last 20 SF places in the last five slams, so there are two tours in one with the ATP, the top four having fewer weeks/tourneys but those are hard weeks, and more weeks/not very many intense weeks. 

  • guest

    I stop reading when I see missing apostrophes. 

    • Quintessential

      And we’re only mildly impressed that you can use an ellipsis.

  • guest

    Amazed that Rafa gets paid just for doing interviews…it seems that tennis is recession proof.