The 2023 US Open in New York brought to light an issue that affects professional tennis players around the world. Recently, Vox Video spoke with players and the head of the Professional Tennis Players Association to discuss the pay problem in our sport.
It turns out that tennis is unique in how players are paid, what costs they are responsible for, and how they are categorized as independent contractors. Unfortunately, this means that unless you are consistently among the very top-ranked players like Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Coco Gauff, and Iga Swiatek, it’s nearly impossible to make a living with income from tennis alone.
It’s concerning that, unlike other sports (like football, baseball, and basketball) that provide support for athletes outside the very top performers, tennis leaves them high and dry. Professional tennis players not only have to pay for coaching, training, travel, and accommodations for tournaments, food, equipment, and all medical needs.
- A shocking 80% of the top 1000 players don’t earn enough from the sport to cover the expenses of playing at the top level.
- Even players ranked between 751-1000 earn between $5500-$4400 compared to the top 10, who bring in between $6.5-3.69 million.
It’s important that we hear from professional players like Taylor Townsend, Hubert Hurkacz, and Alycia Parks, as well as the Executive Director of the Professional Tennis Players Association, Ahmad Nassar, to understand the challenges they face and work towards a solution.
Yes, we understand that Taylor Townsend is currently on a come-back winning streak, with year-to-date earnings of $988,223. And Hubert Hurzack has earned $1,988,312 so far this year. Alycia Parks has also had a good year with $690,400 in earnings. So why do they appear in this video discussing tennis players who are struggling to make a living? Simple – they used to be those players, and are open to talking about it. And if they get injured and need expensive surgery(ies) and treatment, they can easily become those players again.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you feel that the lower-level professional tennis players should earn more for their matches? Or do you feel that the system is fair as it is? Let’s discuss in the comments below.