Tennis

The cost of being a professional tennis player

Published 3:49 PM ET, Tue June 30, 2015
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Life for tennis professionals like Bethanie Mattek-Sands isn't just about turning up on court at major events like Wimbledon. To get there costs more money than you might imagine, and requires a lot of organization. Daniel Kopatsch/Bongarts/Getty Images/file
When touring within North America, Mattek-Sands is often joined by her 140-pound Boerboel Mastiff, Ruger Magnum. "If (players) can kind of take a little bit of home with them, it helps with the mind," she says. Justin Sands
Mattek-Sands (R) celebrates her 2015 French Open title with doubles partner Lucie Safarova. The American is accompanied on the road with her husband, Justin Sands, as well as her coach Adam Altschuler and his girlfriend Brenda, who helps with travel coordination. PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images
Mattek-Sands enjoys a striking view from her Wimbledon accommodation, a serviced Battersea apartment. The 30-year-old -- who won the women's doubles and mixed-doubles titles at the 2015 French Open -- has spent just two weeks in her Arizona home so far this year.
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, ranked 32nd in the men's game, felt a creak in his neck after a rough night's sleep at his central London hotel. The Spaniard says travel planning can be "a really, really serious problem" for tennis pros. Motez Bishara
Pablo Andujar (left) bunked in the spare bedroom of his best friend Inaki, who recently moved to London, during the pre-Wimbledon Aegon Championships played at Queen's Club. Motez Bishara
Irina Falconi credits her success in reaching round three at the 2015 French Open with finding housing just a 10-minute walk from Roland Garros through the booking site Airbnb. The Ecuador-born American insists on personally arranging all her travel plans. Dan Istitene/Getty Images
Frederik Nielsen of Denmark -- who partnered with Britain's Jonathan Marray to win the men's doubles title at Wimbledon in 2012 -- saves $3,000 a year stringing his own rackets, and considers finding cheap flights a sport of its own. He has earned $820,000 since turning pro in 2002. Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
German player Dustin Brown lived in a Volkswagen camper van as a way to save costs before he broke into the top 100. His prize money was spent on gas and equipment before splurging on food, according to a 2010 New York Times article.
Bjorn Borg shocked the tennis world in 1983, retiring at 26 with five Wimbledon and six French Open titles under his belt. In the past, players retired in their prime due to the rigors of the tennis lifestyle, according to doubles champion Mattek-Sands. Tony Duffy/ALLSPORT
Top-10 players find tour life to be more comfortable. Rafael Nadal posed with his prize, a $160,000 Mercedes AMG GT S, after winning a tournament in Stuttgart, Germany in June 2015. "It's not a Kia, but it's still good," he joked. Nadal has been sponsored by the Korean car maker for 10 years. THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP/Getty Images
Nadal wore a $775,000 watch at the 2015 French Open, as part of one of his endorsement deals. His fellow Spaniards in the top 50 struggle to receive any sponsorships apart from free clothing and rackets. Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Roger Federer -- still the world No. 2 at age 33 -- has amassed hundreds of millions of dollars in sponsorship deals and tournament wins. With the support of "Team Federer," he has stayed focused on the court despite his many business interests and four children. Getty Images
Novak Djokovic (middle) celebrates his Wimbledon 2014 championship surrounded by his friends, family and staff. Top players will often splurge on added housing for their friends and family on the road. Meanwhile, not all players in the top 100 can afford to travel with a coach full-time. Pool/Getty Images