ATP All-Time Career Prize Money Leaders: The Riches of Tennis Royalty

Updated: 913 Tennis

Unveiling the ATP's all-time career prize money leaderboard. Explore the financial triumphs of tennis icons like Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal.

ATP All-Time Career Prize Money Leaders: The Riches of Tennis Royalty

Clive Brunskill // Getty Images

James Banting Tipster Competition Assistant

James has worked for the jockey club and has 20 years sports betting experience he utilises his skills in our tipster competitions and writes sports betting content.

Dive into the elite realm of tennis where financial rewards mirror athletic excellence. This comprehensive list of ATP all-time career prize money leaders not only showcases the staggering earnings of legends like Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer but also invites you to understand the economic landscape of professional tennis.

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ATP All Time Career Prize Money Leaderboard

They say we are in a golden era with the sport of tennis and although that was certainly the case a couple of years ago, there is a sense that we are now entering a new generation. Even though Novak Djokovic is still the king of the court, his closest foes are not the competition they once were.

With Roger Federer finally calling time on his playing time and Rafael Nadal having a frustrating battle with injuries, Britain’s Andy Murray also seems to be in the final phase of what has been a lucrative career to date.

A lucrative career can be summed up by tournament or Grand Slam wins but usually, it is summed up by earning ability. The best in the sport are certainly well compensated, but are the rich simply getting even richer?

The first way to try and answer this is by looking at the top 100 all-time earners in men’s ATP tennis: 

Rank Player Career Turned Pro Retired
1 Novak Djokovic $175,281,484 2003 Current
2 Rafael Nadal $134,640,719 2001 Current
3 Roger Federer $130,594,339 1998 2022
4 Andy Murray $64,187,601 2005 Current
5 Pete Sampras $43,280,489 1988 2002
6 Alexander Zverev $36,565,128 2013 Current
7 Stan Wawrinka $36,505,406 2002 Current
8 Daniil Medvedev $34,433,626 2014 Current
9 David Ferrer $31,483,911 2000 2019
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To the surprise of not very many, it is the four players who led the ‘golden generation’ of men’s tennis who find themselves locking out the top four berths in the all-time earnings table. Novak Djokovic sits top with $175.2m in career earnings, just over $40m more than Rafa Nadal in second.

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Even though injuries are seemingly getting the better of Nadal, he still has the ability to add to that figure of $134.6m. The same cannot be said for Roger Federer after his 2022 retirement and although it was a rather tearful moment, the Swiss star will not be crying with $130m in the bank.

Twice as much as what Andy Murray has managed to earn since turning pro in 2005. $64.1m has been snared by the former Wimbledon winner, but that is a considerable distance behind the three contemporaries ahead of him. 

While the man in fifth place would at one time believed he would be top forever and when you think of tennis in the 1990’s, you think of only one man in particular – that being the legendary talent of America’s Pete Sampras.

Between 1988 and 2002, Sampras earned no less than $43.2m – a figure that even ninth-place David Ferrer could not beat between 2000 and 2019 after earning $31.4m with greater amounts of prize money available, an amount that three current world-class stars cannot beat either.

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The trio of Alexander Zverev, Stan Warwinka and Dannii Medvedev find themselves lying sixth through to eighth in the earnings list, neither of the trio mentioned have managed to even surpass $40m.

They all may do one day; they all may finally get the better of Sampras in fifth and push the long since retired player further down the list. At the same time, this only reinforces how dominant ‘Pistol Pete’ really was. 

The fact that Sampras played in the generation before arguably does him a disservice when it comes to earning power. To put this into context, we can see what $43.2m would look like in 2002 if it went through an inflation calculator.

By Craig ONeal - cropped version of Pete Sampras, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5100846

That $43.2m now becomes $73.9m instead and therefore, an inflation adjustment on that figure would slot the now 52-year-old past Andy Murray but still nearly $55m behind Roger Federer – then again, I doubt Sampras will be worrying too much about inflation with $43.2m in the bank.

As mentioned, it is David Ferrer who sits ninth in the standings and the 10th seed in terms of earnings is Marin Cilic. The Croat currently has total earnings of $31.2m and has recently surpassed another great and retired American Andre Agassi.

By Shinya Suzuki from New York, U.S.A. - Andre Agassi, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19844935

Agassi’s $31.1m was previously worthy of a top-10 berth but since Cilic has recently surpassed that figure with $31.2m to his name, the 1992 Wimbledon champion now has to keep the likes of Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas at bay. 

Another way to look at this is by doing a quick count of how many of the current top 100 are still playing and how many are retired:

status count
Current 52
Retired 48
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Something that suggests that this figure is only going to be tipped further towards the ‘Current’ status as the year’s go by and this is because the prize money and the amount of touring has only increased over the years.

Of those 48 players that are now retired, we can also look at whether they find themselves in the top or bottom 50 of the overall top 100. 

status count
Top 50 24
Bottom 50 24
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As we can see here, it is a clean split between the two categories but to add a bit more credence to the fact that retired players are getting pushed further down the list, the average position of all top-100 retired players is 52.37.

Therefore, if you are a retired player, you are just more likely to be positioned between 51 and 100 at present but with the inability to earn any further prize money – that is unless they step out of retirement, that average is only going to get higher.

Especially if you took away the earnings of Roger Federer and Pete Sampras and their third and fifth rankings. With these two doing so much of the heavy lifting for the 48 retired players, the average excluding these two greats increases to 54.47.

While the gold rush that comes with modern men’s tennis can be encapsulated by the increase in winning prize money at Wimbledon. To reflect this further, here is a table of winning prize money since 1994.

Year Men's Winner (£)
1994 345,000
1995 365,000
1996 392,500
1997 415,000
1998 435,000
1999 455,000
2000 477,500
2001 500,000
2002 525,000
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From £345,000 that Pete Sampras won in 1994 to the £2.35m that Carlos Alcaraz won in the summer of 2023. This is a prize money increase of 581% - nearly six-fold in the space of 29 editions of the tournament (not contested in 2020 due to Covid-19.

Therefore, those who are playing the modern game are going to be able to turbocharge their overall earnings and you do not even need to win to get your hands on a decent payout at SW19. 

2023 Event W F SF QF Round of 16 Round of 32 Round of 64 Round of 1281
Singles £2,350,000 £1,175,000 £600,000 £340,000 £207,000 £131,000 £85,000 £55,000
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Pete Sampras earned £345,000 for his 1994 success; four losing quarter finalists would have earned just £5,000 less when reaching the last eight in 2023. Even Novak Djokovic would have earned more for finishing runner-up that year compared to winning the same tournament in 2011.

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It took from 1994 to 2007 for the winning prize money at Wimbledon to double in size, since it being worth £700,000 in 2007 that figure has now more than troubled. Add that scale into the other three Grand Slam’s and you can understand how easy it is to start racking up the millions.

To shine further light on the step change in earnings, we can also look at players who are outside the top 100 in the all-time earnings list but also topped the ATP rankings at the end of a year.

Year Player All-time
1973 Ilie Năstase $2,076,761
1974-1978 Jimmy Connors $8,641,040
1979-1980 Björn Borg $3,655,751
1988 Mats Wilander $7,948,601
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1973 would see Ilie Nastase top the ATP rankings and the Romanian would go on to win $2.0m over his career – a figure that if corrected for inflation today would be $13.8m 50 years later. For the next five years it would be Jimmy Connors at the top and he eventually earned $8.6m across his career.

Before the 1970’s had come to an end, it was Bjorn Borg who was the best player in the world but by comparison, the Swede would only manage to earn $3.6m for his efforts – a figure that was eventually doubled and more by 1988’s number one Mats Wilander. 

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🔙🎾 Ilie Nastase's $2M in '73 is worth $13.8M today! Jimmy Connors ruled with $8.6M, while Bjorn Borg scooped up $3.6M. The journey to tennis riches may be long, but each era has its icons. Who's your favorite vintage champ?

With all this being said, the career of a tennis star can be a long one and therefore, it makes sense to look at the average earnings per year. It is all very well earning an eye-watering amount of money but if it takes two decades or more to collect it, the toil is slightly less glamorous.

If we take the top 20 of the all-time earnings list and then rank them by average earnings per year, the table looks as follows: 

Overall Rank Player Career Turned Pro Active Years Average Per Year
1 Novak Djokovic $175,281,484 2003 21 $8,346,737.33
2 Rafael Nadal $134,640,719 2001 23 $5,853,944.30
3 Roger Federer $130,594,339 1998 25 $5,223,773.56
8 Daniil Medvedev $34,433,626 2014 10 $3,443,362.60
14 Stefanos Tsitsipas $27,325,433 2016 8 $3,415,679.13
4 Andy Murray $64,187,601 2005 19 $3,378,294.79
6 Alexander Zverev $36,565,128 2013 11 $3,324,102.55
5 Pete Sampras $43,280,489 1988 15 $2,885,365.93
12 Dominic Thiem $29,983,300 2011 13 $2,306,407.69
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Novak Djokovic once again finds himself top of proceedings and with him being in his 21st of active playing service, it means he is currently earning an average of $8.3m a year - $2.5m more than Rafa Nadal in second. 

Just as in the all-time table, the top three is rounded off by Roger Federer and with 25 years’ worth of tennis activity to look back upon, his $130.5m ended up paying him an average of $5.2m every 12 months.

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However, things start to get slightly more interesting after this and when we look at the two players that round out the average top five, it further highlights how the new breed of the sport are beginning to reap the rewards.

Fourth place is currently a straight shootout between Dannii Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Russian earns an average of $3.44m a year, his Greek counterpart earns $3.41m by comparison and the key to all of this is that neither has surpassed more than 10 years of ATP tennis.

In just 10 years on the court for Medvedev and eight for Tsitsipas, their average figures have already surpassed what Andy Murray earns per annum and it took the son of Judy some 19 years to amass his total of $64.1m.

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In a short span, 🌟 Medvedev & Tsitsipas have eclipsed Murray's annual earnings! 🎾 With their eye on the prize, these tennis prodigies are set to outearn the greats. Will they break records? Time will tell!

If Medvedev plays for 19 years himself, his current projected earnings will amass just over $65m and this is before the expected increases in prize money are facilitated to any future Grand Slam tournaments.

Which means it is match point for those who are ready to finally fill the tennis shoes of the previous awesome foursome and with Medvedev, Tsitsipas and Carlos Alcaraz already capable of mixing it with the best, they will soon be maxing out their earning potential to even greater effect.

 

Contributor and Source Information

This article started as an idea to find the top earners in Tennis, so we set Dan Tracey, our data scientist, on the task of collecting and crunching. He also added his commentary throughout, with our Tennis Specialist Editor James Banting fact-checking and editing before publication

James Banting

Tennis Betting Specialist

James is a knowledgeable sports betting specialist with over 20 years of experience in the sports betting and horse racing industry. Today James focuses on producing informative betting content on the major sporting events throughout the year in Horse Racing and Tennis, as well as contributing to our Cricket and Golf Content.

👨‍🏫 Specialist Subjects🔬📚

🏇 James is a huge Horse racing fan and aficionado, attending scores of meetings each year around his work with OLBG. With experience working in the Jockey Club, he has a unique insight into the inner workings of the industry.

🎾 From a betting perspective, James also has an eye on Tennis throughout the season and produces much of our Tennis content including collecting statistics and information for our Tennis events previews

🏏 ⛳ James also produces preview content for our cricket sections and is always looking for value on the fairway in our Golf Majors previews too.

- James Banting, Tipster competition assistant

Dan Tracey

The Numbers Man

Dan Tracey is a multi-talented writer, data analyst and podcaster whose six-year career in the sports data sphere has seen incredible successes. From helping UEFA create their annual technical reports to writing articles for Sports Betting Websites including sites like TheLinesUS and Goal - there's no shortage of areas where his expertise shines through! In addition, he can be heard on podcasts lending an insightful voice as well as providing weekly betting angles - all culminating with him teaming up OLBG.com in the present day. Simply put: wherever you find angled data being crunched? You'll also likely find Dan not far behind!

👨‍🏫 Specialist Subjects🔬📚

Dan's specialist area is data; and lots of it! Wherever we need numbers to create our unique deep dive articles, Dan is our go-to. Dan is also a Tottenham Fan and a football commentator for Newcastle Blue Star

- Dan Tracey, Data scientist and football editor

Sources

Earnings Data https://www.perfect-tennis.com/prize-money/atp-all-time-career-prize-money/<

Inflation Calculator - https://www.usinflationcalculator.com/

Correct as of October 2023

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