Umpires Leave With More Cash in Their Tennis Bag Than the Tennis Players

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Money for NothingSome major athletes have made millions by showcasing their talent in public arenas, leaving matches stuffing loads of cash into their tennis bags. Roger Federer, for instance, is the top paid tennis competitor with about 41.8 million in prize winnings.  Maria Sharapova, Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick and the Williams sisters have also made a pretty penny  by playing in some of the world’s most prestigious tennis tournaments.  Although the lucky few earn a living that would be hard to spend in a lifetime, the payoff for some athletes is surprisingly small. At Futures tennis events, for example, the players may leave with less than the chair umpires.

The USTA Pro Circuit can easily be compared to the minor leagues of tennis. The circuit is composed of 88 events; “Futures” events with the prize money totaling around $10,000 to $15,000 and “Challenger” events with the total prize money running in the $50,000 to $100,000 range.

Recently, in Vero Beach, Fla. there was a $10,000 futures event where Australian player, John-Patrick Smith won the title over Brazilian, Pedro Zerbini. The crowd consisted of more than 300 tennis fans that each paid either $10 or $20 for their seat.

Smith`s prize money for his title win totaled $1,300 as well his prize money for willing the doubles title which totaled $630 which he split with his partner, American, Benjamin Rogers. Runner- up Zerbini took home $900. Zerbini was participating in Vero Beach for nine days playing eight matches; the breakdown being $100 per day.

Another player, Kriegler Brink earned $200 when he made it to the second round of the singles matches where he lost to Zerbini.

Up and coming American player, Tennys (pronounced “tennis”) Sandgren also made it to the semifinals in this Futures event and raked in a whopping $480.

The players who took place in this event were able to stay at hotels in the area and in some cases can stay for free with local families willing to help out an aspiring athlete. The hotels typically run about $125 per night. In Zerbini`s case, if he did stay in a hotel for the nine days he participated in the tournament , it would have cost him $1125, before tax, which put him at $225 in the hole!

The hotel is only one expense that the players must accept when playing at this event; although the tournament offers lunches, every other meal and expense must come out of the players pocket, so in reality, it costs some, if not all of the players money to compete in this specific event.

Surprising as it may be, however, the umpires and officials working this event may actually leave with more money in their tennis bag than the players. Vero Beach Futures tournament director, Mike Rahaley, was given $4,500 to pay the umpires and officials  (at a tournament at this level there is typically three to five umpires and officials). Not only that but the tournament pays for the official’s room and board fees which ran about $3,000.

Similar to an aspiring actor, a young tennis player trying to make it to the Grand Slams is going to have to sacrifice in more ways than one including accepting these small paychecks.  Despite the small paychecks that don`t even cover their expenses, the motivation is obvious. Leaving with less cash in their tennis bag than they came with is hopefully just a stepping stone to the “major leagues.”

Courtney Sloan is a copywriter and a college student majoring in mass media. As a copywriter with a love of tennis, Courtney has made it her assignment to research tennis news, highlights, products and more and share her findings with the tennis community. 

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  • Published: May 14th, 2012
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  • Comments: Comments Off on The History of the Grand Slam

The History of the Grand Slam

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Originally applied to golfing tournaments in the 1930s, the term “Grand Slam” was first used for tennis by John Kieran, a newspaper columnist. Today, The Grand Slam refers to the four major tournaments in the sport of tennis. The tournaments are ranked according to world tour ranking, public attention, prize-money, number of players and player field size. The four major grand slam tennis tournaments include Wimbledon, The French Open, the US Open and the Australian Open.

Image courtesy of Shreyans Bhansali, Flickr

The term grand slam is used to indicate that a player has won all the four major tennis tournaments in a single calendar year. For many years, the term grand slam has also been used to refer to the major tournaments themselves.
A Timeline of Grand Slam Tennis Tournament Wins
1938: John Donald Budge (Don Budge), the American tennis champion, won all of the four men’s singles titles
1962 & 1969: Rodney George Laver (Rod Laver), the Australian tennis champion, has won the grand slam twice in his seven years as the world’s top ranking tennis star
1969 – 1971: Margaret Smith Court, the Australian World No.1, won the grand slam three times; once for the Ladies’ singles and twice in the Mixed Doubles category – 1969 US Open to 1971 Australian Open
1983: Stefan Edberg won the grand slam in the junior discipline being the only tennis player to do so
Wimbledon Tennis Tournament
Wimbledon is held every year in June/ July and is one of the oldest, most highly respected of all tennis events ever held. Wimbledon, as it is commonly referred to, has a rich history of some of the world finest players demonstrating their skills on this prestigious tournament’s grass courts. Wimbledon is preceded by the Australian Open and the French Open tennis tournaments, coming third in the line-up of the grand slam events.
Wimbledon hosts five main events each year including: Gentlemen’s Singles; Ladies’ Singles; Ladies Doubles; Gentlemen’s Doubles; Mixed Doubles, and a number of other tournaments as well. Image courtesy of Kol Tregaskes, Flickr
Winners’ Records:
• Gentlemen’s Singles – William Renshaw and Pete Sampras have both won 7 titles each
• Ladies’ Singles – Martina Navratilova holds the record for 9 wins during her career
• Gentlemen’s Doubles – Todd Woodbridge with 9 titles
• Ladies’ Doubles – Elizabeth Ryan with 12 titles
• Mixed Doubles – Elizabeth Ryan with 12 titles
• Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova have both won 20 titles each and continue to hold the record for most number of wins at Wimbledon
The French Open 
The prestigious French tennis tournament is named after the famous aviator, Roland Garros. The event spans two weeks from late May to Early June and is played at the Stade Roland Garros in Paris, France. The second of the four grand slam events, French Open is the only grand slam event to be played on clay courts.
Considered one of the toughest tennis tournaments in terms of physical capabilities, the men’s five-set singles matches do not have the tiebreak option in the final set.
Begun in 1891, the first championship matches were one day events and did not have the world’s best players participating. When the tournament became fully international approximately 24 years later, a number of tennis stars began appearing on the courts of Roland Garros.
Rafael Nadal won his sixth title beating Roger Federer to become the current Men’s Singles winner for 2011. Li Na of China won her first grand slam title to take the Women’s singles French Open title. Image courtesy of y.caradec, Flickr The U.S. Open
The United States Open Tennis Tournament is the fourth event in the grand slam series of four. The tournament is held from August to September each year and hosts five championship titles: Men’s and Women’s singles; Men’s and Women’s Doubles; Mixed Doubles. The tournament also hosts additional matches for junior player participation.
Title wins include:
• Men’s Singles
Bill Larned, Richard Sears and Bill Tilden of the USA – 7 wins (before 1968)
Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras of the USA – 5 wins (after 1968)
• Women’s Singles
Molla Bjurstedt Mallory of the USA – 8 wins (before 1968)
Chris Evert of the USA – 7 wins (after 1968)
Image courtesy of Pabo76, Flickr
The Australian Open
The first of the four grand slam tournaments, the Australian Open is held over the last two weeks of January in Melbourne, Australia. Featuring Men’s and Women’s Singles; Mixed Doubles; Junior matches; Wheelchair matches; Legends and Exhibition events; the tournaments have been held at Melbourne Park since the late 1980s.
The Australian Open is a high attendance grand slam event and the first to introduce indoor play to cope with extreme weather conditions. The two primary courts are the Hisense Arena and Rod Laver Arena. The Australian Open is also the richest tennis tournament worldwide.
The current champions for 2012 include: Novak Djokovic – Men’s singles; Victoria Azarenka – Women’s singles; Leander Paes/ Radek Stepanek – Men’s Doubles; Svetlana Kuznetsova/ Vera Zvonareva – Women’s Doubles. Image courtesy of Two Big Paws, Flickr

This article was produced on behalf of Keith Prowse, the UK’s leading provider of corporate hospitality. With an affinity to sport, Keith Prowse offers official hospitality at some of the finest sporting events – visit their website for Wimbledon hospitality 2012.

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