Is tennis a sport for rich people ?


Is tennis a sport for rich people ?

Tennis is a racket sport played on a rectangular court, delimited by lines and divided by a net. It is played between two players or between two pairs.


The object of the game is to throw a ball by hitting it with the racquet so that it bounces on the other court past the net within the limits of the opponent’s court, making sure that the opponent cannot return it in order to get a second bounce on the ground and thus a point.


It originated in Europe at the end of the 18th century and initially spread throughout the English-speaking countries, especially among their upper classes. Today tennis has become universal, and is played in almost every country in the world. Since 1926, with the creation of the first tour, it has been a professional sport.


There are many skills necessary for this game but I will summarize them in 8:


  • Competitiveness, the hunger to win is key.
  • Motivation, without it we can easily lose.
  • Concentration, it is a sport that requires a lot of focus.
  • Resolving ability, it is a fast game that requires mental speed.
  • Physical fitness, talking mainly about health and general condition.
  • Balance, since each shot is very complex at a physical level.
  • Coordination, between each part of the body with the elements.
  • Reading the game, both at the operational level and at the emotional level of the opponent.


Tennis is a wonderful sport, it has great health benefits for those who practice it and it is beautiful in the eyes of the spectator. However, there has always been a belief that it can only be practiced by wealthy people and it is usually labeled as « elitist ». This idea is based on the high cost of equipment, courts and private lessons. However, there are several stories of people who have risen from poverty and succeeded. This article aims to address the issue of poverty in tennis and contribute a grain of sand to the eradication of this stereotype.


When a person wants to learn to play tennis, he or she needs certain things that are basic: a racquet, balls and a court. When these items are of good quality and in good condition, the tennis player is more likely to optimize his game, that is, while the implements are in better condition, the learning process can be facilitated a little. Training with old balls is not the same as training with newly opened balls, and all of us who have ever played this discipline know this.


The problem arises when a person who earns little income sets out to learn to play, the high costs that can represent the training process often « intimidate » these people. However, the hardest part comes at the moment of finding a place to practice or play, since the acquisition of rackets and balls is a one-time expense, while the use of a private court is a constant investment that merits a considerable cost. The most viable solution for this, is the construction of places subsidized by the state, by a private company or a community where you can play for free, or at least, have the possibility to play without being a member of a club by paying per hour of court at an affordable price, that’s right, public courts can solve this problem!


However, these sports areas do not seem to be part of the government’s priorities. When we examine this situation in most Spanish-speaking countries we can see that these places are scarce, for example in Spain there are very few free courts and low-income people usually play in sports centers or places open to the public but where you have to pay.

In countries such as Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela the situation is the same, there are not many free courts and low-income people tend to prefer more « accessible » sports such as soccer or basketball.

Despite all this, history has given us great players who came out of a difficult economic situation and triumphed in tennis.


Is tennis a rich sport?

To say that this discipline is not expensive is like trying to cover the sun with a finger, however tennis is like life itself, sometimes it puts obstacles in our way that we must learn to overcome and from which we have to strengthen ourselves. There are thousands of other stories in which the protagonists do not have the necessary resources and in the relentless pursuit of self-improvement they find alternatives that help them to get ahead.


We can watch matches in private and public courts, in both places the magic that radiates from this game is preserved, in both ways it is played with the heart and each stroke distills the same dreams. Therefore we can assure that tennis is not a sport for the rich, but rather for the passionate. In any case, at the end of the day we all pursue the same goal; to be happy and to be able to play with the same passion.


For many years there has been a kind of legend surrounding professional tennis players that places them as privileged, privileged and installed in a rhythm of life full of luxuries and favors. It is true that the theory affects a few, the top ten in the world, for example. Well, according to the protagonists themselves, this is a profession that does not pay as it should.


Are tennis players underpaid?

« Earning little is relative, those in the top100 earn a good living, » says Roberto Carballés, current world number 110. « The Grand Slams, which are the referent tournaments, should ensure a fixed money to the players so that they can then afford the whole year and that allows them to travel with a coach, for example. The percentage they give in the Grand Slams is very low, now they are giving 12% but it is 12% of previous years, because they are having more and more profits, » says the Tenerife native.


In relation to the data cited by Carballés, a veteran like David Marrero continues to pull the blanket. « Each Grand Slam has about 300 million dollars net in profits and we are paid 7%, a crap percentage if we take into account that we are the ones who generate it. We are really underpaid, » says the doubles player.


« I think we earn very little, a person who is 250 in the world should have a salary that at least comes out profitable at the end of the year and allows you to travel with a coach, without having to be aware of every penny, » adds Pedro Martinez, of the 1997 generation. « The prize money is very low and if you get injured then you can say goodbye, that’s when you stop earning money. I’ve tried to play some bigger tournaments this year, but don’t think I’m making much more money. The ATP and the ITF should rethink this dilemma and increase the prizes below », determines the Valencian.


Already away from the courts, but completely installed on the benches, Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo also joins the debate. « It’s a complicated question. Those at the top I think are well paid, although they complain, if it were up to me what I would do would be to raise the prizes at the bottom. People who play tennis very well and who have been fighting all their lives, a guy who is 200, is very poorly paid, » says the 41-year-old.


As you can see, they all converge in the same direction, whatever the status. « On the basis that there are different levels within the ranking, I think that currently the professional tennis player is not paid well enough if we take into account the sacrifice he makes, » says Marrero. « A player who is 500 and travels all over the world loses money in every way. A top 100 player who travels with his coach and physical trainer is not well paid either because sometimes he doesn’t have enough money to cover his expenses. Those at the top are better paid, but the final reward is not balanced, » adds the Canarian.


« The goal at the end of the year is still not to lose money, although I am 150 and I make sure I play the Grand Slams and some ATP qualifiers, that’s where I’m pulling from, » says Pedro, who this week is at his best professional ranking. « I try to do things right, always traveling with a coach and even someone else, but all that costs a lot of money. It can’t be that the 80th in the world closes the year with $300,000 insured and the one who is 110th earns $80,000. From one ranking to another there is not much difference, but the money is in the Grand Slams », he certifies.


In conclusion, we think tennis can be played by anyone that is really inspired and loves this sport, no matter what your economic status is, if you like it, do it!

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