Is tennis only for rich?
There is an old cliché surrounding tennis, wanting it to be a sport for well-off, both for those who sit comfortably in the grandstand and those who can afford to pursue a career as a player. It might be true that an attempt has been made over the years to disprove this urban legend, but letters and outlets of professionals have lately been multiplying, stating they can’t cover the costs of their career with their whole year salary.
Obviously, we are not talking about superstars like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic here, as there is no dispute that they pass through month calmly. The problem is that coming out of the top 100/150, life starts to become complicated. Over time the costs have escalated – there are travel, logistics and various staff like psychologists or mental coaches which represent substantial expenses. In the end, a top 50 player will spend anywhere from $100,000 – $2,000,000 in expenses, with many in the $150,000 – $500,000 range.
Support should come from the various federations, but often that’s not enough. If it’s true that in sport there are no social differences, it all comes to a negative view when looking at tennis.
Years ago the USTA came to clarify some information about the topic. The study in North America highlighted how tennis is a sport only for families with a high level of degree and education, for families where a course of study is supported by an important capital power. For those who are starting out, it’s, therefore, far from being rosy. Everything from renting the fields, to purchase of equipment and initial travel, can reach skyrocket costs. It’s easy for those who can’t sustain such costs to leave the field to those who have bigger paychecks. In tennis, social differences start to create unbridgeable mountains.
One of the main causes of the persistence of such problems is also the disparity of the distributed awards. Except for the Slam trials, in which even first round results in a nice paycheck, life in the circuit can become complicated. In this sense, the market with its sponsors could help, but instead, it loses it’s focus elsewhere. The US, for example, loses it’s viewers since it rather focuses on contact sports where social differences don’t count as much when becoming a pro.
A tennis player among the top 100 and below should not just survive, he should be guaranteed to have a rosy future. But only time will tell if the reforms in progress is going to help or if tennis will remain an unattainable destination for many. In the meantime, SportyCo might be a solution. By collecting funds on our platform, there is a chance especially for young players, to make it trough their junior years and pursue a professional career afterwards.