The ugly truth of being low-ranked ATP Players

Fabresque

Professional
Challenger tour and Futures are minimum wage jobs. Jason Jung is a Univ. of Michigan Grad and represents Taiwan at international level. He's been lounging between 200-800 for a while and writes blogs describing what life is in the futures tournaments week in week out.

Another player that's a great guy to follow is Alex Donski. He plays futures and his series always explains how it's a struggle to play and qualify for futures tournaments. It's on his YouTube channel "Operation Liftoff".

Also, lower ranked players are less likely to get sponsorships and endorsements. That's why a lot of challenger tour players will wear lesser known brands because they're the only ones who sponsor them.
 

jussumman

Professional
Half the money comes from tv ads for mandatory insurance, paying up front for service you won't use. If they want a piece of the insurance scheme they just need to win some tournaments.
 

JMR

Hall of Fame
Money comes from TV. Low ranked players are seldom seen on TV. Ob-la-di, ob-la-da..........
There is no direct relationship between TV appearances and player income. TV revenue is not shared with players individually. TV money comes into the tournaments and/or the national associations, which in turn decide how to allocate the prize money from the events.

Players who appear on television more often are more likely to attract rich sponsorship deals, because the corporate logos they wear and/or carry will create more viewer advertising impressions, but even that is an indirect relationship. Moreover, endorsement money is separate from the money generated by the sport itself.
 

kabob

Hall of Fame
The ATP will actually be eliminating hundreds of the bottom ranking positions in the near future to reduce this problem and strengthen the Futures and Challenger tours. Most of the below-500 rank players will be forced to pursue more lucrative careers or become teaching pros or something non-player related in tennis.
 

abhimawa

Rookie
The ATP will actually be eliminating hundreds of the bottom ranking positions in the near future to reduce this problem and strengthen the Futures and Challenger tours. Most of the below-500 rank players will be forced to pursue more lucrative careers or become teaching pros or something non-player related in tennis.
that's more reasonable, provided that they be careful with the elimination. Some talented & passionate players may have some tough luck while some ungrateful trash enjoys what they don't deserve.
 

kabob

Hall of Fame
that's more reasonable, provided that they be careful with the elimination. Some talented & passionate players may have some tough luck while some ungrateful trash enjoys what they don't deserve.
I don't know about careful elimination but the ranking cutoff will be at 750 for both tours. I made a mistake saying it was the ATP doing it, it's actually the ITF. So this is affecting both the men and women.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/tennis/tennis-overhaul-to-slash-the-number-of-worldranked-players/news-story/49e673ed1cb086879cb706f383992e13
 

abhimawa

Rookie
the first thing came to mind after reading the article was some players easily smashing their racquets on court. Toni Nadal definitely taught Rafael the right thing about respect.
 

johnnyb

Semi-Pro
Perhaps the ATP should restructure its funding management? some low-ranked are actually very interesting to watch eg. Stakhovsky, Diego Schwartzman, Dustin Brown
Schwartzman and Brown both made more than $2,000,000 in prize money only, not to mention sponsorship that should cover expenses. Stakhovsky made almost $5,000,000. Not bad at all.

If players want to make more money they need to improve their game and get more wins.
 

johnnyb

Semi-Pro
Athletes in general do it for the passion and to follow their dreams. Just a small portion rise to the millionaires club.

Guga tells in his biography that he felt dressed like a clown when he received the blue/yellow Diadora uniform in 1997 Roland Garros. He wasn't able to choose what to wear. Some may see it as a classic today, but it was not the perception back then.

Challenger tour and Futures are minimum wage jobs. Jason Jung is a Univ. of Michigan Grad and represents Taiwan at international level. He's been lounging between 200-800 for a while and writes blogs describing what life is in the futures tournaments week in week out.

Another player that's a great guy to follow is Alex Donski. He plays futures and his series always explains how it's a struggle to play and qualify for futures tournaments. It's on his YouTube channel "Operation Liftoff".

Also, lower ranked players are less likely to get sponsorships and endorsements. That's why a lot of challenger tour players will wear lesser known brands because they're the only ones who sponsor them.
 

Vrad

Professional
Athletes in general do it for the passion and to follow their dreams. Just a small portion rise to the millionaires club.

Guga tells in his biography that he felt dressed like a clown when he received the blue/yellow Diadora uniform in 1997 Roland Garros. He wasn't able to choose what to wear. Some may see it as a classic today, but it was not the perception back then.
The whole point of professional sports is that you don't do it only for passion. And if players are being filtered out in their teens and early 20s because they can't afford to continue it only means a lower level of quality going forward.

This is a problem for tennis, and if we don't want more LostGens, it's a problem that needs to be solved, not for the individuals, but for the sport.
 

Harry_Wild

G.O.A.T.
Challenger tour and Futures are minimum wage jobs. Jason Jung is a Univ. of Michigan Grad and represents Taiwan at international level. He's been lounging between 200-800 for a while and writes blogs describing what life is in the futures tournaments week in week out.

Another player that's a great guy to follow is Alex Donski. He plays futures and his series always explains how it's a struggle to play and qualify for futures tournaments. It's on his YouTube channel "Operation Liftoff".

Also, lower ranked players are less likely to get sponsorships and endorsements. That's why a lot of challenger tour players will wear lesser known brands because they're the only ones who sponsor them.
I am a subscriber to Alex Donski YouTube Channel! He is ranked at 1,250! I did not know that even in the Futures, their are levels and you have be in a certain ranking to qualify to get into qualifying so you have to win the qualifying round or rounds to get into a $10,000 Future Tournament where the winner gets like $800-$1,000 for a week or week and half of play! This basically covers travel, hotel, food, etc... only one winner out of twenty or thirty player draw! Ugh!
 

Roddick85

Hall of Fame
Very nice reality check here, confirming what a lot of us were suspecting anyways, but it's nice reminder that for the few top players enjoying the "famous/glorious" lifestyle, there's a ton of players who struggle to make ends meet even if they are cost savvy. I'd love for Tomic and even Kyrgios to live a couple of months in conditions such as these, perhaps it would knock some sense into them and they would realize how lucky they have been and how stupidly they behave. Money aside, the biggest "injustice" I can see between lower ranked players/top guys, is access to physio/medical treatment. If you are rich, you have your own team and they will likely help boost your recovery and extend your body's "lifespan". Lower ranked guys don't have these advantages, so it must reflect somehow when they step on court, giving the top guys a bit of an advantage.
 

abhimawa

Rookie
Instead of paying huge amount of money to talented players but are taking things for granted, I wonder if ATP&ATP should do the following:
  • Arrangement with some airlines & hotels so players can travel & stay with discounted price
  • Hiring several quality trainers (or ask ex-players to participate) for those who cannot afford elite-level trainers
I believe there are a lot of talented and passionate players at the same time but lack some facility. By making tennis more accessible, it might bring more talents into the sports
 

Bukmeikara

Legend
The biggest "losers" right now are the players ranked between 50-250. They are good enough to compete with the very best, they fill up the draws and they get almost nothing in exchange for their quality. IMO the ITF/ATP should calculate the yearly cost for those guys and fund them with scholarships. Lets say 200k per person, which makes 200x200= 40 mln, not that much considering how much the Tour generates right now. They would include some conditions like : his overall price winnings should be below 5mln, he shouldnt be older than 33 and he needs to play at least 70% of the planned tournaments in order to get the money. They would cut at least 50 people from the original 200 and need even less money. Those guys have what - 2-3 decent tournaments per year where they win 50k+, this way the money stays in their pockets and evalute them as they deserve.
With those below top 250, they could still offer scholarships but only for the ones younger than 23 and instead of 200k give them 100k, there are more futures localy and you may cut the travel costs and still win points.
 
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Its not that hard

When the winner of the US Open is getting paid 3.7 million dollars its clear they give zero f's about anyone but the top 10 players on tour

Thats almost 2x what the golf majors pay winners.

They could give every qualifying another 15k check and up the pay of everyone else significantly by just lowering that prize money to a still ridiculous 2.7 million
 

Bluefan75

Professional
that's more reasonable, provided that they be careful with the elimination. Some talented & passionate players may have some tough luck while some ungrateful trash enjoys what they don't deserve.
You realize that none of these proposed "solutions" will deal with the Tomics and Kyrgios' right? They're good enough to be seeded at Slams. The fact a couple thousand pros will be told to find another line of work won't do a thing about it.
 

abhimawa

Rookie
You realize that none of these proposed "solutions" will deal with the Tomics and Kyrgios' right? They're good enough to be seeded at Slams. The fact a couple thousand pros will be told to find another line of work won't do a thing about it.
It's the fact we have to deal with, just like the consequences they have to deal with, and the companies which products they endorsed.
 
Lets have a little reality check here. Playing tennis for money is a JOB. In the real world, if someone doesn't think they get paid enough, they look for another employer/job. Minor league ball players get paid squat, but they play in hopes of making the show where the big money is, thus changing employers. My first job was a furnace operator in a steel mill. As I remember it. I didn't receive appearance money for showing up for work, nor did I receive compensation for burned clothes, gas in my car for getting to work or for my lunch. I do remember I figured out underwater welding paid way more so I switched jobs. At first I wasn't the best welder and I got paid less than the better ones. My employer didn't ask the other welders to give some of their pay to me, nor did I expect it. If you're good enough to get paid well why would you want your employer, in this case the tennis tournaments to give your money to somebody not as good. Middle ranked tennis players should either get better or find other work.
 

norcal

Hall of Fame
What is the cutoff for direct entry into slams? 105?

So a player ranked around 100 is guaranteed 150k + for losing first round of the slams. Win a round or two at a couple slams and you've got over 200k. You are in the positive. Then you have all the rest of the year to make money, hopefully win and improve. Not exactly Tomic 50k party money but it's not THAT bad.

But yeah, futures guys lose money (unless they have a benefactor). Hopefully they have a degree like Jung to fall back on.
 

NuBas

Legend
The top players wouldn't need so much prize money if they didn't pay silly money for stringers lol. I wonder if top guys even know how to string their own racquet.
 

darkhorse

Semi-Pro
There was a NYT (or new Yorker, can't quite remember) article that followed two women on the lower end of the rankings, very interesting read. One was Wozniak, after an injury and trying to work her way up, the other was a younger player supported by her parents and national federation. I'd imagine the women have it even tougher, there was a lot about lodging and how a lot of players are taken in by locals free of charge durign the tournament so they can lower costs.
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
I don't know about careful elimination but the ranking cutoff will be at 750 for both tours. I made a mistake saying it was the ATP doing it, it's actually the ITF. So this is affecting both the men and women.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/tennis/tennis-overhaul-to-slash-the-number-of-worldranked-players/news-story/49e673ed1cb086879cb706f383992e13
Your link is behind a pay wall unfortunately. Hadn't heard that - thanks for posting.

But those new limits won't stop tournaments from handing out wildcards will they?

OP, welcome to the boards. We've had this debate before; Stakhovsky said #100 wasn't doing very well. The majors, at the urging of Fed and others, has increased the money to 1st round losers recently.

I have mixed emotions: the top guys are the draws and deserve the money they receive. And should guys aged 25-28 still be getting wildcards? If you don't make it on tour in 3 or 4 years, time to move on. The other end of the spectrum - only those from very wealthy families get a chance isn't good either.
 

Bluefan75

Professional
Your link is behind a pay wall unfortunately. Hadn't heard that - thanks for posting.

But those new limits won't stop tournaments from handing out wildcards will they?

OP, welcome to the boards. We've had this debate before; Stakhovsky said #100 wasn't doing very well. The majors, at the urging of Fed and others, has increased the money to 1st round losers recently.

I have mixed emotions: the top guys are the draws and deserve the money they receive. And should guys aged 25-28 still be getting wildcards? If you don't make it on tour in 3 or 4 years, time to move on. The other end of the spectrum - only those from very wealthy families get a chance isn't good either.
What I don't understand is why people don't want there to be a lot of tennis pros? Sure there is a jackwagon or two, but that is in every line of work. But where does a guy get ranking points if there is no one to play? I think the risk is beyond just the rich kids being the only ones, it's going to be a closed shop that you can't break into without some form of intervention.

I think it's better for tennis if there are a lot of pros making a good amount of money. Might as well have 8 man grand slams if it's only about stars.
 

noobforehand20

Professional
i have always said that its good that whenever more money comes around you should increase prize money for later rounds, but if you think of it, do you think that high ranked players that make the last stages constantly really need that money? it would be better spent if you distribute it more to smaller events and second rounds for exmaple, i mean its not like those below the 100th rank are lazy or anything
 
A

AllCourtHeathen

Guest
Instead of paying huge amount of money to talented players but are taking things for granted, I wonder if ATP&ATP should do the following:
  • Arrangement with some airlines & hotels so players can travel & stay with discounted price
  • Hiring several quality trainers (or ask ex-players to participate) for those who cannot afford elite-level trainers
I believe there are a lot of talented and passionate players at the same time but lack some facility. By making tennis more accessible, it might bring more talents into the sports
Good post.
The structure of tennis, or the way tennis has evolved, has unfortunately led to a situation in which (I believe) an awful lot of extreme talent just rots on the vine.
The ITF should invest in talent scouting/aptitude testing, and have some way of subsidizing travel/accommodation.

If you wanted to grow roses, you wouldn't just leave it to chance and fling a heap of seeds in the wind. You'd cultivate them carefully.

Imagine an ATP tour where there were 10 or 12 players of Federer and Nadal's calibre, or more.

As it stands tennis is a strange sport that is inaccessible to the average person.
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
What I don't understand is why people don't want there to be a lot of tennis pros? Sure there is a jackwagon or two, but that is in every line of work. But where does a guy get ranking points if there is no one to play? I think the risk is beyond just the rich kids being the only ones, it's going to be a closed shop that you can't break into without some form of intervention.

I think it's better for tennis if there are a lot of pros making a good amount of money. Might as well have 8 man grand slams if it's only about stars.
I don't want to see only 1%er's kids playing either. The quality would go down for sure. But once you start subsidizing the lower players, where does it stop? And for how long?

And does every player need a full time physio, coach that travels with them?

And funny you should mention '8 man grand slams'. Not sure how old you are or if you know the history. But that's kinda what happened - players got fed up getting crumbs under the table while the tournament directors and national federations got most of the money. Upset Fed, Rafa and the top 20 and someone starts a rival tour paying them a lot more.
 

bjk

Hall of Fame
Here's what the tennis players should do. Set up a tennis tournament in NY the same weeks as US Open. Hold the low-ranked matches in some other facility, like Forest Hills, if that still exists. Then the top players play in Madison Garden. Get some good TV contracts. Completely cut out the USTA. Then threaten the other tournaments that the ATP will do the same. The high ranked players will go along with it because they will get paid the same. The current system is unsustainable, with most of the revenue from the biggest tournaments going to the USTA and the other national tennis organizations. The first round at Winston Salem paid like $3,000, which is why Dolgopolov was throwing the match. It was peanuts.
 

BGod

Legend
Rule of Thumb is anyone outside Top 50 might be just scraping by.

However it wasn't always like that and honestly even today it's how you advertise yourself. A guy ranked #1,000 could make good money at a private club but they don't want that.

Furthermore it really depends on country. More money in France than in Egypt and so forth. Some Israeli players of lower ranking have done well for example because they stayed local.

Then there's subsidies.

But tennis is a rich kid sport and regular kids are better off playing basketball or baseball. You'll get a decent paycheck being #5,000 in basketball.
 

bjk

Hall of Fame
I see some players promoting tennis camps on Twitter and Instagram. Apparently you go to some camp in Hawaii and Steve Johnson or Allie Riske will play doubles with you? I don't know. But if Johnson is doing that in his offseason he can't be that wealthy.
 

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
This is the ugliest of truths:

In actual fact, since 2006, the prize money at the Grand Slams has almost doubled, whereas the money at ATP 250 tournaments has only increased by 20%. Not to mention that the Grand Slams pay players an abnormally low percentage of their income in prize money. For instance, the US Open spends 4-6% of its income on prize money, compared with ATP tournaments which spend around 30% on prize money. Since 2004, the prize money at major tournaments has grown at lower rates than inflation.
 

Notirouswithag

Professional
There was a NYT (or new Yorker, can't quite remember) article that followed two women on the lower end of the rankings, very interesting read. One was Wozniak, after an injury and trying to work her way up, the other was a younger player supported by her parents and national federation. I'd imagine the women have it even tougher, there was a lot about lodging and how a lot of players are taken in by locals free of charge durign the tournament so they can lower costs.

I read that article and have it saved on my phone. It's very realistic and gives a reality check to at least the WTA side of things. Woz and the other girl Stoddard usually dont have enough for a plane ticket and most times are in the red so they drive to tournaments. They were saying that they split cost by staying for free with families or an air bnb. Stoddard had a trainer at least where Woz didn't.

Very eye opening article
 

Goosehead

Legend
100th player 2017 prize money list upto last night won $317'000,

and 200th player has won $79'800. not sure if dubz is included tho.
 
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norcal

Hall of Fame
I see some players promoting tennis camps on Twitter and Instagram. Apparently you go to some camp in Hawaii and Steve Johnson or Allie Riske will play doubles with you? I don't know. But if Johnson is doing that in his offseason he can't be that wealthy.
Tons of mid and upper level baseball, basketball and football players host kids' camps in their respective sports. I imagine the same in soccer. Does not mean they're not wealthy, maybe they like kids, maybe they like the easy paycheck, maybe they want to give back, maybe their agent makes them do it...
 

NuBas

Legend
So when they say the US Open champ will get 3.7 million, that is only for that one match right? They get other amounts for their previous matches as well? So that means its over 3.7 million if they win the entire tournament close to 4 million?
 

bjk

Hall of Fame
Maybe. It does seem to be organized by the agent. By the way, if you follow US tennis players on Twitter they are all super conservative. Tennys Sandgren is way out there and John Isner is pretty mainstream Republican but definitely very opinionated. Kind of surprising considering that the only athletes you hear from are protesting the national anthem. It might have something to do with tennis being an eat what you kill sport.
 

Bluefan75

Professional
So when they say the US Open champ will get 3.7 million, that is only for that one match right? They get other amounts for their previous matches as well? So that means its over 3.7 million if they win the entire tournament close to 4 million?
No, the winner gets the $3.7 million. The other amounts are what you get for reaching that round.
 

kabob

Hall of Fame
Your link is behind a pay wall unfortunately. Hadn't heard that - thanks for posting.

But those new limits won't stop tournaments from handing out wildcards will they?

OP, welcome to the boards. We've had this debate before; Stakhovsky said #100 wasn't doing very well. The majors, at the urging of Fed and others, has increased the money to 1st round losers recently.

I have mixed emotions: the top guys are the draws and deserve the money they receive. And should guys aged 25-28 still be getting wildcards? If you don't make it on tour in 3 or 4 years, time to move on. The other end of the spectrum - only those from very wealthy families get a chance isn't good either.
"The ITF’s proposed restructuring will radically reduce the number of professional players competing for ATP and WTA ranking points. The ITF’s extensive modelling work has led to a recommended professional player group of no more than 750 men and 750 women players. This new approach will introduce a clearer and more effective professional pathway and ensure that prize money levels at ITF Pro Circuit events are better targeted to ensure that more players can make a living from the professional game."

Read more at http://www.itftennis.com/news/256730.aspx#UfQDyVluFzok45sK.99
 

Bluefan75

Professional
I don't want to see only 1%er's kids playing either. The quality would go down for sure. But once you start subsidizing the lower players, where does it stop? And for how long?

And does every player need a full time physio, coach that travels with them?

And funny you should mention '8 man grand slams'. Not sure how old you are or if you know the history. But that's kinda what happened - players got fed up getting crumbs under the table while the tournament directors and national federations got most of the money. Upset Fed, Rafa and the top 20 and someone starts a rival tour paying them a lot more.
Subsidizing? There is a ton of money in tennis. Why should it go so heavily to 50 players? I'm not saying everyone should have the luxuries, but if you're decently smart with your money and can win some matches, you shouldn't be in the poorhouse either.

I'm old enough to recall the MTC and all that. I was watching tennis but wasn't quite business savvy enough the year Feinstein wrote Hard Courts. What I find cool is that unlike the big players back then, Federer was willing to push for the lesser ranked players to get something.

Butit's like golf about 45 years ago, when the PGA Tour went to the all-exempt tour. People complained too many guys could just sail along, make money only by top tens and not by winning, but as was said by the commish at the time: "The stars need people to play against, or else people won't want to watch." And since that time, you now have a secondary tour that you can make a living on, and as anyone will tell you, so many good players it's incredibly tough to make it out there. I realize not all things are parallel, as golf by its nature is very different, but I think it's a romanticized notion people have of the "if you can't win get out of here" eras. It's much better when more guys can actually see a reason to stay out there.
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
Subsidizing? There is a ton of money in tennis. Why should it go so heavily to 50 players.
Yes. When you take money from one group and give it to another group, that's a subsidy. The fact that Fed and the others make huge amounts on and off the court doesn't change that.

And yes, there's a lot of money in tennis - because of the top guys. I respect how good 100-200 are - but no one is paying to watch them.

Fed did help get the 1st round losers more money - once. Now you and a few others are back for more. Lady Thatcher was right 'you run out of people to tax'.

And what's wrong with the 750 number? How many pro tennis players does the world need? And how many years should they be able to try (and apparently get subsidized) to chase their dream? There were guys earlier this year that were 28 getting wildcards. Shouldn't they get sent home and let some 19-22 yr old have that chance?
 

reaper

Legend
Yes. When you take money from one group and give it to another group, that's a subsidy. The fact that Fed and the others make huge amounts on and off the court doesn't change that.

And yes, there's a lot of money in tennis - because of the top guys. I respect how good 100-200 are - but no one is paying to watch them.

Fed did help get the 1st round losers more money - once. Now you and a few others are back for more. Lady Thatcher was right 'you run out of people to tax'.

And what's wrong with the 750 number? How many pro tennis players does the world need? And how many years should they be able to try (and apparently get subsidized) to chase their dream? There were guys earlier this year that were 28 getting wildcards. Shouldn't they get sent home and let some 19-22 yr old have that chance?
Realistically the tour only needs about 300 pros. The 128 for the slam draw, enough for a 64 player qualifying draw (is it currently128?) plus an additional pool of players competing for access to the qualifying draw. Where the article was interesting was that Becker said he quit, then was blessed with a benefactor to sponsor him. That suggests a lot of legitimate circuit pros are lost in their early 20's due to finance. Perhaps there's a place for an age restricted tour to keep guys aged (say) 19-22 who aren't quite ready to break through in the pro ranks in the game. If someone's 24 years old, ranked 400 in the world, it's a hobby not a profession.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
Why is this a problem? The quality of tennis I watch is plenty good. Those guys in the bottom can get a regular job like the rest of us. Oh wait... do they have no other skill/education to fall back on?

No one is owed a living. It's a choice they made. These guys just happened to chose a profession where the top ~100 or so people in that industry can earn a decent living (the top 25+ a ridiculous living).
 
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