Andy Murray is worth £24million according to the The Sunday Times Rich List 2012, making him the 42nd richest sportsman in the UK.
But while prize money accounts for around half of his wealth, it’s far from the only source of income the world number four has at his disposal.
How he made it
Murray's total tournament winnings since his professional debut in 2003 add up to £12.6million, with the paydays getting ever-bigger the better he has done.
His last two semi-final appearances at Wimbledon made him £525,000 and if he triumphs this year he’ll be adding a cool £1.15million to his coffers.
Murray’s come a long way from humble beginnings in Dunblane, Scotland. He started playing tennis at the age of five, soon beating his older brother Jamie who went on to make his name as a doubles specialist. The brothers’ mother Judy is also heavily involved in tennis and captains Great Britain’s Fed Cup team (the women’s equivalent of the Davis Cup).
Murray moved to Barcelona in 2002 at age 15 to train at the Sánchez-Casal Academy. The following year he started to play on the Challenger and Futures circuits and won the Junior US Open in 2004. In 2005 he started playing ATP tournaments and caught the nation’s eye at Wimbledon when he progressed to the third round and lost in five sets to David Nalbandian.
The big money started rolling in in 2007 when he signed a sponsorship deal with Highland Spring worth £1million. At the time it was reportedly the biggest shirt-sponsorship deal in tennis. The sponsorship came to an end last year.
He officially became one of the 10 best payers in the world in 2008 and reached the US Open final the same year, losing to Roger Federer. By the end of the year he was ranked number four in the world. In 2009 Murray won the title at Queen's and went on to make the semi-final at Wimbledon but lost to Andy Roddick.
The same year saw him ditch Fred Perry sportswear and sign a five-year deal with Adidas worth more than £10million to wear the company’s clothes and shoes.
That sponsorship deal was the first secured by Murray since signing with Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment management agency, which also manages David Beckham.
However, the Adidas deal still allows Murray to display other sponsors on his sleeves. One of these sponsors is Royal Bank of Scotland – the bank has sponsored Murray since 2009 when it signed a deal worth £2million a year. The endorsement was renegotiated last year and, although undisclosed, is thought to be worth considerably more now.
Earlier this month it was revealed that Luxury Swiss watch brand Rado has signed Murray to a personal endorsement agreement. Details of the deal have been kept secret but the Scot will initially endorse Rado's D-Star 200 collection throughout the 2012 spring/summer season. He’s also got a longstanding racquet sponsorship with Head, which sponsors around 30% of the top 100 tennis players as well as up and coming players via its Team Head program.
Murray still has to claim a Grand Slam title, after already playing in three finals. However, he already has 22 career titles to his name and in 2009 was briefly ranked number two in the world.
Should Murray become the first Briton to win the Wimbledon men’s title since Fred Perry in 1936, his earnings potential will go stratospheric.
Trouble away from the top
But while the tennis players at the top of the game can top-up prize winnings with sponsorship, appearance money, racquet and kit endorsements, it’s a different story further down the ranks.
Roger Federer was the fifth-highest-paid athlete on the planet last year, making £34million according to Forbes, but the 100th best player in the world last year was Italy’s Simone Bolelli, who made about £190,000 from prize-money in 2011.
This might sound like a decent salary, but when you factor in travel costs and paying support staff such as a coach, physio and fitness trainer, about half the money is spent already. And that’s before tax.
Players ranked between 25 and 100 often receive minor sponsorship deals, but below that the off-court earnings decrease significantly, as does the amount of prize money up for grabs at tournaments.
Pros typically start their careers competing in Futures and then Challengers tournaments before progressing on to the main ATP circuit. The total prize money up for grabs at a Futures tournament is either £6,300 ($10,000) or £9,500 ($15,000). Meanwhile Challenger events have a prize pot of between £22,000 and £96,000.
ATP tournaments pay more but you’ll need an ATP ranking – earned in Futures and Challenger events as well as on the ATP circuit – to take part. ATP World Tour 250 events have an average prize pot of about £320,000 and the ATP World Tour 500 about £1million. Masters events, the highest level of competition under the ATP, offer a total prize pool of between £1.9million and £3.2million.
And that’s the total prize money available to everyone at the event. By way of contrast, Wimbledon will pay out £16.1million this year, with £2.3million going to two champions alone.
Even getting into a Grand Slam can make a huge difference to a lower-ranked player’s earnings. The pay cheque for first-round losers at Wimbledon has gone up from £11,500 last year to £14,500 this year, an increase of 26%. Players that reach the last 16 of the competition will see 5% more prize money than last year. A good showing at one of these events can double a player’s income at a single stroke (quite literally in some cases).
British number four, Josh Goodall, talked about the struggles following his first round defeat at Wimbledon this year.
"These are matches you need to win," he said following his loss to Grega Zemlja. "If you need to make a good living out of this sport, the matches today are the ones that are going to make a difference.
"I'm not financially in the best state. Obviously playing Wimbledon helps a lot, but I've got rent to pay and stuff like that. I can't really afford things.
"I'm number four in Great Britain and I'm making a living, don't get me wrong. But if I want to put a deposit down on a house, which I'm looking to do, the problem lies at the moment that I'm having to win to do it.
"Those are pressures that not everyone is under, and it's quite difficult."
To make a good living playing tennis you need to be in roughly the top 50. Those ranked between 50 and 150 can make a decent living if they manage to keep control of their costs which include travel, accommodation, coaching and physiotherapy. Below that it’s a struggle unless you have the backing of an organisation such as the LTA.
Compare that to what the 150th best footballer in the world makes (and there are 500 players registered in the Premier League alone) and you can see that while the rewards are rich for the very best, tennis is far from the best sport to choose if money rather than glory is your aim.