How do low level pros make a living??

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by HunterST, Dec 13, 2009.

  1. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    I was looking at some of the lower ranked pro's profiles on the ATP website, guys that are in the lower end of the top 1000. The site tells their prize money from each tournament and most of them are tiny amounts like 500 dollars. I can't imagine that racquet or clothing companies are paying these guys huge amounts of money since they're virtually unknown. How do they live off of this terrible pay?
     
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  2. LafayetteHitter

    LafayetteHitter Hall of Fame

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    The majority of them most likely have family money in play to keep them on tour.
     
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  3. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    Yeah that sounds probable. That would suck to be the 700th best tennis player in the world and not even make enough money to finance your career. The 700th best basketball player in the world is probably a multi-millionaire.
     
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  4. CCNM

    CCNM Hall of Fame

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    I was reading a sports magazine not too long ago and they were interviewing a female player (I think it was Jill Craybas) about what life was like for a lower-ranked person on the tour. She said that when she plays in Australia she stays with a family that she's known since she was a junior player,
     
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  5. TennezSport

    TennezSport Hall of Fame

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    Housing Network

    Yeah, there are a multitude of "Tennis Host Housing" in a network that a lot of players use when they are coming up the ranks (or going down). They are usually tennis families or enthusiasts that have a spare room or two that will give free board and food for tickets or small favors. It costs about $45,000.00 per year to stay on tour if you are frugal with your money, so players tend to use whatever money saving tactics that they can find to stay alive.

    Cheers, TennezSport :cool:
     
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  6. nCode2010

    nCode2010 Banned

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    It's obscene how much money is concentrated in the top 50.
     
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  7. clayman2000

    clayman2000 Hall of Fame

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    Its also obscene in the difference of skill between the top 5 and top 50

    Heck theres a huge difference between the top 5 and the top 20.
     
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  8. Max G.

    Max G. Hall of Fame

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    The ones in that range don't make a living playing pro tennis. They have to have other sources of income.
     
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  9. nCode2010

    nCode2010 Banned

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    Davydenko says hello from the #6 spot.
     
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  10. clayman2000

    clayman2000 Hall of Fame

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    Fine top 7
     
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  11. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    Yes, the question the thread is asking is what are the other sources? Maybe being a teaching pro?
     
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  12. raygo

    raygo Semi-Pro

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    They may also have domestic sponsorships. The top Japanese pros are outside the ATP Top 100, but the national circuit has a big following here. The local divisions of bigger companies (Nike, Babolat and affiliates, etc) get good exposure sponsoring local players, even if they don't do all that well on the international tour--in fact, that may be a reason they aren't hungrier. The population here is more likely to buy what the local heroes are wearing rather than the apparel of some higher ranked Eastern European player whose name they can't pronounce.
     
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  13. nfor304

    nfor304 Banned

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    Most of the players ranked that low are either young players just starting out and have sponsors and dont expect to stay that low for long, or they are older players who supplement their income playing money tournaments or coaching or just being part time players while holding a regular job and hoping to make a breakthrough
     
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  14. IvanAndreevich

    IvanAndreevich Legend

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    We have players in the Top 1000 here on the forum. Maybe they can chime in.
     
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  15. malakas

    malakas Banned

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    Most of them are broke,have other financial sources,are supported by family or take up other jobs as well like tennis coach.For most of these guys tennis is a passion most of all and though they don't have much success in the pro tour they still try and take part in tournies.

    BUT don't think that in the top100 there are all millionaires.They still fly in economical flights,try to save money any way possible.
     
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  16. ttbrowne

    ttbrowne Hall of Fame

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    Got a buddy in the top 400. He's made a big move from 700's to 400's just this past year...first full year pro. He does not have a racket contract but he has some sponsors from local people he knew while he was in college. I don't believe he teaches, he's on the road most of the time 'cept right now he's visiting his parents. He lives pretty lean and mean but it seems he's enjoying himself. He's been playing, and winning, with $80 rackets. Ha!
     
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  17. IvanAndreevich

    IvanAndreevich Legend

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    That sounds like what I gather from various accounts too. Good life if you love tennis, but not really a way to get rich or get set for the future.
     
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  18. edmondsm

    edmondsm Legend

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    Once your ranking isn't high enough to qualify for tour level events money gets tight. You are probably making a middle class wage at best. Sure you might be able to enter the qualies for a tour level tourney, but what was your flight cost, hotel cost, rental car, etc? Point being, these "lower level" players are subtracting their expenses (in the thousands) from their prize money (which may or may not be in the thousands).
     
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  19. ManuGinobili

    ManuGinobili Hall of Fame

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    If you think about it, if you're trying to play alot of tourneys you wont have time to teach at tennis clubs - not very significant income.
    Head and Wilson do have pretty wide networks of local sponsorship, but thats only for equipments (not even balls I think).
    So overall, lower level tennis pros are probably the poorest among the major sports...
     
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  20. edmondsm

    edmondsm Legend

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    It all depends on where you live. Europeans have a much easier time getting tourneys in when they are lower ranked as there is always an event going on and it's just a matter of taking a long train ride usually.

    Take Bobby Reynolds. US player, ranked #333. Three of his countable tournaments were first round exits and the AO, FO, and Wimby. Two others were first round exits at IW and Miami. The French player ranked just above Bobby Reynolds, Benoit Paire, didn't play a single tour level match in 2009. Unless you count losing in the 1st round of the FO qualies. 15 of the 18 tournaments that counted toward his record were futures tourneys.

    Bobby Reynolds didn't even play a futures event in 2009.
     
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  21. GS

    GS Professional

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    A friend of mine got ranked around #250 back in the '90s. He was a doubles specialist, mostly playing with Kelly Jones. He only breaked even after expenses (traveling around the world, etc.) so he had to retire at age 26. I saw him win a San Francisco invitational tournament afterwards--he beat a great local player pretty easily. He had to go onto teaching, then started a re-surfacing business.
    Surviving on the pro circuit is a tough living. The top 50 do pretty good--below 100, it can get rough.
     
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  22. texasdoc

    texasdoc Rookie

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    Unless you think you can get into the top 100 - it seems like a painful life.

    Imagine spending all those years training and working on your game just to live the same lifestyle as a manager at Olive Garden or something.

    I enjoy playing tennis because there is no pressure on me to win - if there was pressure to put food on the table every game - it would be tough mentally.
     
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  23. Kemitak

    Kemitak Semi-Pro

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    To pay the bills they sell coke to Gasquet.
     
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  24. nfor304

    nfor304 Banned

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    If the do end up in the top 50 even if its just 6 months or a year they make around half a million dollars for that period, so I guess making it that high eventually is a big carrot dangling in front of them tempting them to keep going
     
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  25. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Sadly they probably make their money these days by modelling!

    (Obviously some can't make money this way)
     
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  26. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    I was kind of hoping Clint Thomson would see this thread and respond. I think it would be too rude to ask him how much money he made and how he made it in his thread haha.
     
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  27. Kemitak

    Kemitak Semi-Pro

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    That sounds like a dig at Stepanek!

    [​IMG]
     
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  28. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    That was a dig at him, hardly low level is he:?

    And I don't think money is his priority:twisted:
     
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  29. Kemitak

    Kemitak Semi-Pro

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    I betcha Stepanek cracks the top 10 this year.
     
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  30. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    I bet he has a crack at all of the top 10 (WTA) this year:)
     
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  31. surfvland

    surfvland Semi-Pro

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    They scrape buy, but they are living their dream.
     
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  32. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, but look at a guy like Scott Oudsema. According to ATP rankings, he's the 661st best tennis player on the planet. His year to date prize money is a whopping $4,217. That's nowhere near enough to scrape by on.
     
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  33. timeisonmyside

    timeisonmyside Semi-Pro

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    Scott Oudsema also plays WTT, so he probably gets paid for that + travel and lodging for their games.
     
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  34. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, but I think I read that a lot of WTT players only get about 5,000 dollars for the whole summer :-/.
     
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  35. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    Interesting. If Rafa's ranking starts plummeting down, he can have the spare room in my house any time. I'll throw in free meals as well if he likes :)
    Seriously, how do you volunteer for accommodating poor tennis players? By contacting ITF?
     
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  36. Rob_C

    Rob_C Hall of Fame

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    I think Reynolds was a bad example, he's been hurt this year which is why his ranking plummeted. He was top 100 not too long ago which is how he got entry into those tourneys. Also, even though he lost 1st rd at the Slams, he picked up about $20,000 for those 1st rd losses so thats going to skew the earnings comparison.

    I think you should use someone like Lester Cook, or Alex Kuznetsov, guys who've been predominantly playing Challengers, with an occasional Futures tourney.

    And to answer the OP's question, alot of them play money tournaments like the one in Palm Springs this month, or like the Ojai in April in SoCal.

    The Palm Springs tourney had a payout of $1200 to the winner and was won by Roman Borvanov, who's ranked somewhere between 400-800 at the moment, I think. Lester Cook, who's ranked in the 200s, lost in the semis.

    http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=78074
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2009
    #36
  37. tennisboygr

    tennisboygr Rookie

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    Scott got lucky when he first started out by signing a clothing contract I think with Ralph Lauren....so he was finanically set for a while, while he was on tour. Granted, he never made it past I think 250 in the world for Doubles or Singles, but still, you got to play all over the world, and the Grand Slams? That's more then most people can say. He's going to University of Michigan now.
     
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  38. TennezSport

    TennezSport Hall of Fame

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    Yup........

    Well I see you are in NY, so you can contact the USTA and they can get you in touch with the housing sponsors. I do believe there is a requirement to meet though, but check it out. BTW, you will never see Rafa on that housing list, maybe Thiago Alves though. :wink:

    Cheers, TennezSport :cool:
     
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  39. Raiden.Kaminari

    Raiden.Kaminari Semi-Pro

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    Have you actually seen how much Rafa eats?

    I've had 3 pro WTA players from Japan stay at my house. They were friends of a friend of a friend of a friend of a ...

    Other than that, when a local pro event (Challenger, Futures, etc.) occurs, you can tell the tournament director you're willing to provide help to the players.
     
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  40. raygo

    raygo Semi-Pro

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    Funny, the Japanese WTA pros are more successful than their male counterparts. Who were they??
     
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  41. pound cat

    pound cat G.O.A.T.

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    #41
  42. pound cat

    pound cat G.O.A.T.

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    Unless you have a mega amount of talent in the sport (as told to you by the tennis people gathering around you and your results.) a career in tennis is not for you.


    Otherwise ther is a club near you.
     
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  43. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    But for the love of the game, the travel, the peeps you meet, and it beats working 9-5.
    Honestly can't say what ranking I had in 1979, but maybe top 1,000, if there was such a thing. 2 Q's, one 4th round, one 5th round.
    Rackets, Yonex's, some money for going each Q round.
    Strings, VS and I guess BlueStar, free, but money if I made 1st round (never did).
    Shoes, Wilson, free, no money.
    Clothes.... whatever free I could scam during the shows preceding and around the tourneys.
    Travel... Wilson paid for some $$ to LA, but I didn't get into the draw...
    What, are you into tennis for the money or the love of the game?
    Stringer at FTC Sports, parttime shape at WiseSurfboards, and taught a few male lessons at GoldenGatePark.
    Always a step away from homeless, which I have finally achieved.
     
    #43
  44. MayDay

    MayDay Semi-Pro

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    It's one thing to love the sport, and another to try to make ends meet. It's just a different perspective when you HAVE to win to meet the minimum necessities in life.

    All the props to the tour pros that are scraping by. It's tough.
     
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  45. pound cat

    pound cat G.O.A.T.

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    Really tough, and there most be a lot of self-belief and/or misplaced self-confidence that carries you through.

    And/or a loving family or benafactor to support you.
     
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  46. texasdoc

    texasdoc Rookie

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    or you could be like Gulbis and come from millions. then you have no stress at all.
     
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  47. edmondsm

    edmondsm Legend

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    Yeah you caught me, I was using an example that was quite skewed. Still though, my point has relevance. Players in the 300's and lower, guys who play mostly Futures events, money must be extremely tight. Tennis is more popular in Europe, and it's easier to travel cheap (I could be mistaken though, I'm no expert on travel) making it much easier on a journeyman there.

    I wonder, do any of these American journeymen types get side gigs coaching at colleges?
     
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  48. CHOcobo

    CHOcobo Professional

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    they deal drugs. those people make a descent amount.
     
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  49. cmb

    cmb Semi-Pro

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    This is where there is a big difference in western european countries such as france, spain, germany, italy, belgium, switerland. They have tournaments with prizemoney like this where a low level pro can play 2 or 3 times a week. I know its the case in france, a player ranked around 600 can follow a steady circut of tourneys like this for about 8 weeks and earn up 15000 euros and does not have to pay any lodgeing or food expenses because they are provided by the tournaments.

    So the answer is, low level pros not from euro countries are strugglers and are in debt.
    Low level pros from countries I mentioned above are living a pretty good life, pulling in sometimes 5k each month during the summer just playing tournaments.

    cheers
     
    #49
  50. doom

    doom Banned

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    He's based in Germany and plays German league tennis though. The leagues in Germany, France Belgium etc from what I know usually take care of basics like accommodation, food and sometimes string/stringing and coaching for their players, as well as paying them a wage with bonuses. There are also tons of money tournaments that pay fairly well in those countries and a ton of futures events that are close by which helps with travel expenses
     
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