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Top 5 Earning Tennis Players

Updated on January 30, 2010

We have all seen the top tennis players lift Grand Slam trophies up above their heads and envy them for the prize money they were earning. But these players are not making millions strictly on the court. From endorsement deals and sponsorships, the bulk of the action is off the court. What's more interesting is that sponsors are not always looking for high achievements (though of course, that would certainly help) but rather personalities that stand above the crowd. So which of your favourite tennis players are cashing in big time?

Follow me as I count down the top 5 earning tennis players. Read on and weep with envy.

#5 Andy Roddick $16mil/year

This may come as a bit of a surprise but Roddick sits at #5 on the money tree. In 2003, Roddick climbed to the very top of his game by winning the US Open singles title as well as claiming the World No. 1 position. Unfortunately, shortly afterwards, he was unseated by Roger Federer, who then sat in that position for a record 237 consecutive weeks. Since 2003, Roddick is still playing top tennis but despite managing to advance into four Grand Slam finals, Roddick has been defeated by his rival Federer every single time.

Despite his career shortcomings, Andy Roddick has a good personality both on and off the court, attracting fans and sponsors alike. In addition, being the top American tennis player, Andy Roddick has a lot of marketing potential and boy does he cash it in. He has signed up with several big sponsors such as Lacoste. While he can earn a couple of millions a year in prize money, the bulk of his annual earnings come from his endorsement deals, pocketing him a nice cool $16 million dollars per year.

#4 Serena Williams $18mil/year

2009 was a spectacular year for Serena Williams. Not only did she manage to win two Grand Slam singles titles as well as three Grand Slam doubles titles with her sister Venus, she also managed to recapture her World No. 1 ranking - 8 years after she claimed it for the first time in 2002. However, her 2009 tennis season was tarnished somewhat by her outburt at the US Open semi-final.

Nevertheless, Serena Williams remains a powerful money-making machine. She has signed huge endorsement deals with similarly huge sponsors including Nike and Gatorade. Serena is a very smart business woman, always mindful of the fact that she need to advertise her sponsors' products. I have watched her at a press conference where she brought out her Gatorade's drink bottle and placed it on the table. She then casually took the drink bottle that was set there previously by the organisers (obviously of another brand) and put it away underneath the table. Due to a combination of her formidable reputation as well as her powerful presence wherever she goes, Serena Williams cashes in $18 million dollars every year.

#3 Rafael Nadal $20mil/year

Rafael Nadal has established a formidable reputation on clay court as well as being one of a select few tennis players that can consistently defeat Roger Federer. In 2008-09, Rafael Nadal proved that he's not just good on clay when he finally defeated Federer at Wimbledon and then at the Australian Open. During that period of time, he also overtook Federer in the rankings. Unfortunately, in 2009, he had to hand the World No. 1 position back to Federer due to a knee injury that prevented him from defending his Wimbledon title.

With huge sponsors including Australian Open's major sponsor Kia, Nadal has padded his career prize money nicely with endorsement deals, bringing his annual earnings to $20 million.

#2 Maria Sharapova $22.5mil/year

Maria Sharapova is undoubtedly the glamous girl of tennis. Nike has recently decided to sign on Sharapova for another 8 years for a record $75 million. Sharapova also dabbles in fashion designing and the picture on the right was her signature outfit for the 2010 Australian Open. There, she lost in the opening round to Maria Kirilinko in a match that went for over three hours.

Sharapova proves that you don't have to be exceptionally successful on court to earn the big money. Having said that, it must be conceded that she has won three Grand Slam singles titles. Consistency in form is her main problem.

#1 Roger Federer $36 mil/year

Three guesses on who's the top earning tennis player and you'll get it in one. After completely rewriting the history books, how can Roger Federer not be the top earning tennis player? Sponsors practically salivate at the thought of their own potential earnings whenever Federer wins another Grand Slam and boy, do they flock to him like bees to honey. If you think Sharapova's deal with Nike was excessive, wait till you hear about Federer's contract. Nike signed Federer on for 10 years, promising $100 million in return - that's $10 million in earning from Nike alone!

Nike aside, Federer also has many endorsement deals with Mercedes, Gillette, Rolex, Wilson etc. etc. The concept to consumers is simple, if these products are good enough for Federer, it's good enough for me. Federer's annual earnings is estimated to be around the $36 million mark.


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    • Jinesh07 profile image

      Jinesh07 6 years ago from Leamington Spa

      Great article! I did not realise that Andy Roddick would be so far up the list, but I guess he must strongly appeal to the American market.

    • NNazir profile image

      Nauman Nazir 7 years ago from Pakistan

      they have to practice for hours every day consistently for years to get these figures....

    • suzielopez91 profile image

      suzielopez91 7 years ago from Colorado, USA

      I didn't know tennis players can make so much money. I guess when you very good at anything, you deserve to make money.