I wrote a chapter some time ago regarding the nature of tennis and just how hard the sport is to actually make any money out of. The statistics for tennis in the US were quite astounding as the overall amount of money that was earned in the game by pro's in that country in particular amounted to basically nothing.
The reality of a pro tennis player's lifestyle is that at least two thousand dollars would have to be made each week to just cover expenses, that's a lot of money. Currently ranked 100 in the World on the ATP tour is a man by the name of Victor Estrella Burgos from the Dominican Republic and currently in the form of his life, he is 33 years old. Earlier this year Victor played a tournament in Columbia and picked up $415 , that's US dollars , not quite the required two grand to cover costs.
At the end of last year he played a tournament in Brazil and lost in the first round to a guy ranked 331 , he picked up $1300 US for that effort.
In another tournament in Columbia this year in April Victor lost to a fellow by the name of Gonzalo Lama from Chile who at the time was ranked 315. Lama , rather aptly named being from South America went on to win the tournament and picked up just under six thousand US dollars. Now I hadn't heard much of either of these two players up until recently so I decided to check out their form on you tube, glad I did.
If ever a player or coach is under any illusions of just how tough the game is then I recommend that you watch these two guys play , they are quite remarkable. They have shots that the top 20 players in the World own , their thinking of course is not quite as sharp, hence their rankings and of course weekly earnings.
Tennis can of course be almost a raffle , take this year's French Open Championships for example. How did a pairing of Australian Sam Groth , currently ranked 138 and his Russian partner Andrey Golubev ranked 53 make it to the semi finals of the doubles ? They defeated World Doubles Champions of 2013 Marrero and Verdasco in round 2 and Australian Open Champs Linstedt and Kubot in the quarters, both in straight sets. Both of those results make about as much sense as Borg making a come back in 1991.
So does luck play a role in the life of a pro tennis player ? Absolutely. Look at Matosevic from Australia who just won his first Grand Slam singles match in 13 attempts. His past draws have been tough, but this year's French Open was his big chance. Look at who he drew first round, Dustin Brown another battler who is just inside the top 100 players in the World. If ever there was a chance for both of these guys to get past the first round in a Slam well this was it, the finish to the match underlined this fact.
Brown lead 5-1 in the fourth , almost a certainty to take it to a fifth set and with perhaps a 6-1 or 6-2 win in the fourth the momentum was potentially all going his way, yet he found a way to lose the match. The prize money difference was also significant. Brown picked up around $25,000 US while Matosevic received around $40,000 for getting belted by Murray in the next round.
I believe that before a family invests their life earnings into their child's tennis career they should do the following; Seek out Lama and Burgos at a clay court Challenger event in Columbia and just see how good these guys are , then look up their rankings, it may put things into perspective.
The reality of tennis is that it is a sport that does require money to learn but more importantly it requires a special kind of person to be successful at it. That old saying 'one in a million' I believe is a generous figure when finding a player who can master the intricacies of the game of tennis......