Tennis is a royal sport filled with excitement, thrills, compelling stories, fame, glory and loads of money. Recently, tennis has enjoyed sort of an explosion of interest with the viewers and crowd numbers at an all-time high.
Not only is it helping the players get more popularity and fame, but it is also helping the sponsors and organisers generate more revenue which in turn means that players enjoy the benefits of millions of dollars in prize money. Apart from the prize money, the more famous the players are; the better sponsorship deal they are supposed to get, which means more money.
I’m sure you will be intrigued to know which players make the list of richest tennis players right now. So continue reading this list to find out if your favorite player has made the cut or not.
List of top 10 Richest and Highest Paid Tennis Players in the world in 2017-2018
1. Anna Kournikova – $50 Million
Starting off this list is the extremely beautiful and highly talented Russian Anna Kournikova. Anna came from a sporting family; her mother was a successful athlete while her father was a Greco-Roman wrestling champion. Anna began playing tennis at a young age of just five. She started tennis as a means of fun and recreation but the early promise she showed clearly meant she had some serious talent.
She started playing junior tournaments in 1989 and started receiving attention from scouts from all around the world. In 1991, she moved to Florida to join Nick Bollettieri tennis academy and within no time, became prominent in the tennis world. At just 14 years old, she won the European Championships and was awarded the ITF Junior World Championship.
She also had a successful partnership with Martina Hingis, as the pair bagged several trophies while they also earned the nickname of “Spice Girls of Tennis”. However, before she was able to reach her potential, her career was cut short at just 21 as she suffered serious back injuries. She went on to become a model and also started dating the musical sensation Enrique Iglesias. The pair currently resides in Florida while Anna also earned US citizenship in 2010.
2. Andy Murray – $70 Million
Number 9 is the Scottish sensation and current world number 1 Andy Murray. In his early years, Andy went through a lot which helped him develop a rough and tough mental strength. In the year 1996 when Andy was just 9 years old, he and his older brother Jamie somehow managed to survive the infamous Dunblane school massacre in which crazed gunman shot down 16 young and innocent students. Andy Murray comes from a sporting background as his dad had been a professional soccer player in the 50’s. Andy was also offered the chance to train with Scottish giants Rangers but he chose to concentrate more on Tennis.
Andy became a professional tennis player at just 16 years of age. One year later, he defeated the legendary Roger Federer and became the only player to do so in 2006 apart from Rafael Nadal. By the time 2009 rolled in, he was already the World no. 2 and just four years later Andy was elevated to legendary status in all of Great Britain as he became the first British tennis player since 1938 to win the Wimbledon Championships. Another feather was added to his cap in 2016 when he became the first tennis player ever to win back-to-back gold medals at the Olympics.
3. Venus Williams – $75 Million
Next on the list is the evergreen Venus Williams. The Williams family has continued to dominate the women’s tennis scene for the past two decades and Venus is a big part of this massive domination. She along with her sister Serena has managed to look other players look like amateurs thanks to her amazing ground strokes and bullet-like serves. Venus was coached by her dad Richard and she started out by playing on neglected public courts in L.A. at places that were full of pot holes.
This laid the foundation for her humble beginnings that would later make her success even sweeter. She became a professional in 1994 and ever since then, she has accumulated 7 grand slam singles titles as well as 14 grand slam doubles titles along with Serena. She has also won three gold medals with Serena as well as one singles gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics which made her only the second women in the history to win both singles and doubles gold at the same Olympics event.
4. Rafael Nadal – $100 Million
Next on the list is the Spanish Matador better known as Rafael Nadal. Nadal has been a revelation in the game of tennis and his continued dominance at the clay court has earned him the nickname of “The King of Clay”. He is also considered as one of the greatest clay-court players ever thanks to his dominating ground strokes and lethal service game. His uncle, Toni Nadal who was a former professional tennis player was the reason why Nadal was so drawn towards tennis.
His uncle would encourage him to play from the age of 3. His potential was seen early on and his successes in the regional championships helped him turn professional in 2001. He was immediately seen as the future of tennis, mostly due to his excellence on clay court. Till date, Nadal has won 14 Grand Slams including all the French Open titles from 2005 to 2014 excluding the 2009 edition. Aged 30 now, Nadal has been battling injury problems ever since 2012 yet he still remains one of the top players on tour. Recently, he made the finals of 2017 Australian Open where he lost the closely contested match to his old rival Roger Federer.
5. Maria Sharapova – $135 Million
Number 6 on the list is the Queen of Tennis, the Russian Maria Sharapova. The Six foot two inch Sharapova is best known for her blistering power, silky movement on court and the deadly accuracy of her serve. She became a professional in 2001 and immediately attracted millions of fans thanks to her Wimbledon win in 2004 which made her the third youngest tennis player to win the Wimbledon Championship. At just 17 years old, she was the name on everyone’s lips as the Maria Mania was just beginning.
She went on to achieve more and more success and soon went on to become the number one female tennis player in the WTA rankings. However, she is also having quite a successful career outside of the court thanks to her glamorous looks and personality that have earned her numerous photoshoots, endorsements and sponsorship deals. Unfortunately in 2016, her career took a turn for the worse when she was tested positive for an anti-ischemic drug which was banned for competitors from 2016. As a result, she was given a two year suspension which was later reduced and in April 2017, Sharapova will be making her much-awaited return to the court.
6. Pete Sampras – $150 Million
Starting the top 5 is the legendary Pete Sampras. Pete showed his immense talent and abilities during his early years when his great athletic ability would help him conquer his rivals easily. However, his talent didn’t really blossom until his family made a move to the warmer climate of Palos Verde, California and soon tennis became an obsession for Pete who was a huge fan of Aussie legend Rod Laver.
Pete Sampras became a professional in 1988 and quickly rose through the ranks thanks to his incredibly accurate serve and his aggressive style of play. He led the way by mastering the style known as “serve and volley”. He would take merely two years to win his first grand slam as his victory at US Open in 1990 established him as one of the players to watch out for in the years to come. His serve would often cross 200km/h mark which earned him the nickname “Pistol Pete”. He would dominate the 90s and was ranked as number one for six consecutive years, starting in 1993 which is still a record to this day.
7. Serena Williams – $160 Million
The fourth on the list is the younger Williams sister, the iconic Serena Williams. Even though she is just one year younger than her elder sister Venus, yet her impact on the game has been far greater. When playing alongside her sister, they are unbeatable but when contested in a singles match, she has always maintained an edge over her elder sister.
She is the joint record holder for most Olympic gold medals in ladies tennis with Venus with 4 each. However, her biggest achievement will be the record of most grand slam wins ever with 39 Grand Slam wins including Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles while she is also the joint record holder for most Singles Grand Slam wins (23) in the Open Era.
Serena is always involved in charity work as she has funded numerous schools in Africa and is also an International Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF since 2011.
8. Novak Djokovic – $165 Million
Making the third place on the list is the Current Men’s number two, Novak Djokovic. Novak’s family has a strong sporting connection where they operate a tennis academy which is how he discovered tennis as a sport. Novak was noticed by former tennis star Jelena Genic when he was just 6.
She then coached him until he moved to Munich at just 12 to continue his training. He was coached by the German superstar Boris Becker as Novak turned professional in 2003 and quickly became a breakthrough star known for his athleticism and speed. He was not only quick and athletic but he also had excellent technique as well as the most devastating backhand. The trajectory of his career has been upward and upward only, with him becoming a dominant force in recent years.
His success has resulted in Novak reaching the pinnacle of tennis world as he won all 4 grand slam titles as well as the number one rank in ATP ranking. Novak also holds the record of being the all-time leader in career earnings as he was won more than $100 Million during his career. He was the first and only player till date to achieve this amazing feat.
9. Andre Agassi – $175 Million
Second on the list is the amazingly talented Andre Agassi. He started out well and showed great promise early on. He was sent to the Nick Bollettieri tennis academy in Florida at just 13. However, his father was only able to afford his coaching for three months. But destiny had other plans, as Bollettieri saw Agassi play for about half an hour and immediately called his father and told him that his son could train there for free as he was easily the most talented player he had ever seen.
Agassi made the most of this chance and soon turned pro. His career stretched over two decades which saw several highs as well as few lows. He was known as the bad boy of tennis due to his short temperament as well as his exciting and risky style of play. He is known to have revitalised the excitement in tennis in the 90s thanks to his legendary rivalry with Pete Sampras. Unfortunately, Agassi retired in 2006 due to back problems.
10. Roger Federer – $180 Million
Number one on the list is the player often referred to as arguably the greatest player to have ever graced the tennis court, Roger Federer. This Swiss legend is easily one of the all-time greats and to sum that up, we just have to quote Jimmy Connors; “In an era of specialists, you’re either a clay court specialist, a grass court specialist, or a hard court specialist…..or you’re Roger Federer.”
His amazing talent, technique, skills and versatility to play on different types of surfaces has elevated him into a league of his own. He has an amazing serve, an exceptional return, hammer-like forehand and an iconic backhand which has helped him become the legend he is today.
The current world number 4 is second on the list of all-time career winnings with $98 million. Recently, he made a triumphic return to the tennis court with an Australian Open win in which he defeated his biggest rival Rafael Nadal.
Roger holds the record for most grand slam wins with 18 wins. What is even more impressive is that he has done it in an era which is more competitive than ever. He has been ranked number one several times, 302 weeks in total with his most memorable stint being for four consecutive years.
Tennis is a great sport, not only is it beautiful, competitive and more intense than ever. The players these days are more energetic, hardworking and willing to give their all in every match they play. With careers of legends such as Nadal and Federer coming to a sad end, tennis world still has some amazing players to look forward to in future. Players like Djokovic, Murray, Wawrinka and Raonic will surely pick up where these legends are leaving and light up the tennis court time and time again.