How much does it cost to be an international tennis star?

Roger Federer can afford the finer things in life

Roger Federer can afford the finer things in life

With the first day of Spring less than a week away, many of us are anticipating the upcoming tennis season. From the stands, the life of a tennis superstar seems like an enviable one. Jetting off to almost every continent to play your favourite game, with every tournament scheduled for a country more glamorous than the last. Some of the ATP world tour locations listed on their website include Miami, Monte Carlo, Istanbul, Rome, Toronto, Kuala Lumpar, and Shenzhen, to name but a few. And that doesn’t even include the Grand Slam tournaments in Melbourne, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, and New York.

Yes, it is safe to say that the likes of Novak Djockovich, Serena Williams, Andy Murray, and Angelique Kerber have racked up a fair few air miles between them. And they would be wanting to make good use of those air miles, too. Today, I’m going to attempt to (roughly) calculate how much it would cost to be a jet-setting international tennis superstar. Maybe then we can begin to see why some of the sponsorship deals might look particularly attractive to cover the cost of simply getting for a to b.

For the purposes of this exercise, I’m only going to focus on Grand Slam tennis tournaments from the point of view of a rising star. Think Rafa Nadal circa 2005/2006. A great player, but still with a lot to prove. No massive entourage yet either. The only person joining us will be our coach. If you were the best of the best, you might want to charter a private jet to get you to the biggest dates in the tennis calendar, but we’re not at that stage yet. It’ll just be your regular passenger planes for now.


The Australian Open –

Well this was always going to be the expensive one. Though it must be nice to get out to Melbourne in the middle of January. We’re flying with our trainer business class, (we’re working, remember) and have ambitiously booked our return flights after the date of the final. That’ll set us back a cool £7790. 16 nights in the swanky Langham hotel in Melbourne will add another £3246 to the bill. We’d better win this one to cover the costs!

Total – £11,036


The French Open –

Well, we’re only nipping across to France, but we’ll be wanting to arrive in style, lest we be ridiculed by our world beating contemporaries. Seeing as it’s only a short flight, let’s fly first class. We’ve already played in one major tennis tournament. I think it’s about time we started enjoying the finer things in life. A quick look at the BA website. Hurray! We can get there and back with our trainer for just £400. It’s looking like we might have some money left for that diamond encrusted snake skin racket bag we’ve had our eye on. That is after we’ve shelled out for our fancy hotel for the trip. A two bedroom suite at Paris’s Maison Souquet will set us back an eye-watering £16,375. Très Bien!

Total – £16,775


Wimbledon –

This is the big one. The most prestigious tournament in the world of tennis. After we’ve stocked up on plenty of washing powder to ensure that our tennis gear is whiter than white, we can have a look at where we’ll be staying for this tournament. Assuming that our theoretical rising tennis star is UK based, and being touted as the next Andy Murray, let’s assume that we’ll be staying in a fancy hotel in central London and taking a limo to the spiritual home of tennis. Well we now have two major tournaments under our belts, so it’s goodbye to those road side Premier Inns. A few nights in an executive suite at the Ritz will set us back £19,125. Crickey!

Total – £19,125


The US Open –

Well, we’ve come to the last major tennis tournament of the season. It goes by in a flash, doesn’t it? So let’s have a look at how much it’ll cost us to get to and stay in New York. And seeing as it’s the last big tournament of the season, and we’ve enjoyed a lot of success over these last few months, let’s splash out and fly first class to Flushing Meadows. Well, it’ll cost us £6364, but considering all the prize money we’re now rolling in, that’s more or less spare change. How about accommodation? The Waldorf Astoria you say? We’ll share the suite with our trusty trainer and foot the bill for £9240.

Total – £15,604


So there you have it. A full years’ worth of tennis tournaments will cost you £62,540. And that’s just for your flights and accommodation! Never mind your trainer’s salary, internal transport in each country, food, drink, and everything else in between. However, compare that to the total prize money for coming first in the singles for each of these tournaments; roughly £8.2 million, and it seems like a reasonable amount of money to pay. I think now we can see why the men and women of the tennis world work as hard as they do to win! Game, set, and match.

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