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Miami 2012 - Tipsarevic tattoo

Tipsarevic column: pay in tennis is ridiculously low


Exclusive Janko Tipsarevic column: The world No 8 on why he thinks average earnings on the tour are “ridiculously low” and why the sport “needs a radical change”.

For me, the biggest problem in the sport at the moment is the average salary of a tennis player. You have guys at the very top who are making a lot of money, that’s true. And I am not talking about me – I am in the top 10 now and making a lot more money than ever before. But for the guys who are top 200 the average salary, for this level, is way too low. You sacrifice so much to play tennis as a career, all the travelling, so many weeks a year. The money is just ridiculously low if you compare it to other individual sports.

I am not talking about football; you can’t compare it to that. But golf is the best example. Golf and tennis, for me, are both from the same family of sports. So in golf, look at how many players made more than $1 million in prize money last year (94) compared to tennis (15). I feel that’s ridiculous. It is about the average salaries. If you are a player ranked about 100, if you stay about 80 or 90, I would say that you would not lose money, but you would not make any money either. Being in the top 100 in anything, in life, is a pretty good thing, I would think. And that’s not including the cost of a physio, it’s just those players and a coach. They have to pay all their expenses, pretty much, and then taxes.

The grand slams have increased the prize money for the first rounds, but I think we need a radical change. Doing it step by step, nothing’s going to really change. On the other hand, I don’t think we need a revolution either. But – and let’s just say it, the NBA players are fighting because their salaries are 51 percent of the overall revenue and we have between 11 and 13 percent (at the grand slams). I don’t want people to think we are being greedy – when they see that a winner of a grand slam wins more than £1 million they think all tennis players earn a lot of money, but for the rest of the players it’s not easy. And it’s a short career. We’re not asking for more money, as such – just a bigger percentage, a fairer percentage.

Getting 15,000 euros or whatever it is for losing in the first round, that seems good but then you have to take off taxes, paying for coaches, travelling, maybe getting to a tournament a couple of weeks before, paying for accommodation and so on.

  • Chris

    I’m with you Tipsy but…

    NBA salaries as a percentage of revenue is higher ONLY because players are unionized.

    I would guess that golf salaries may be higher on average because golf revenue may be proportionately higher than tennis.

    • Anonymous

      I’ll guarantee that golfers are getting more than 10% of the revenue at the majors.  Golf revenue and thus golfer’s incomes may be higher than tennis but the share that the tennis players are getting is shamefully low.  It’s the owners and the promoters and the organizations that are getting rich in tennis and the players definitely deserve a larger share.  They’re the ones doing all the work.

  • alwaysright

    Oh, bore off Janko. Is this before or after you suggest that the women should play for nothing? You have zero credibility and are one of the worst top 10 players EVER.

  • Dhontony

    Equal prize money with the women is an injustice, everyone knows the ATP tour is far more popular than womens tennis. Rumors are that the men players are privately very annoyed by this reality and this could be the beginning of a fierce battle.

    • Iamglengary

      Men didn’t mind making $6 for every $1 women made when women sold 6 tickets for every 1 men did. Don’t peddle your own sexist garbage as protesting an injustice. It’s expanding pay disparity, not solving it. It’s 4 tournaments. What about the rest of them? No women to screw over in those tournaments. And what about all the players that don’t make it into the Slams? Screw them, too, according to you.

  • Wil S

    The players have a union. It’s called the ATP, and from their recent crap representation at the BNP Paribas when Ray Moore wanted to INCREASE the men’s prize money all across the board, the ATP initiall REJECTED it. The ATP basically is paid off to protect the smaller tournaments that will not give a fairer share of prize money to the players. The WTA tour is fighting for their women players, money, safety, and career benefits. The ATP’s card was shown at Indian wells. It doesn’t exists to benefit all but the top ATP players. Sad…Arthur Ashe would be very disappointed.

  • Wil S

    I didn’t know much about Janko Tipsaravic before I read this article and now I appreciate this player more and more.