World No 1 tennis star and Swiss ace are poised to be the first men in the history of the sport to cross USD100 million in career on-court earnings in 2016
Paris: Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are poised to become the first USD100 million (approx Rs 660 crore ) men in tennis in 2016, in a gripping sub-plot to the new Grand Slam season. No player in the history of the sport has broken through the USD100 million on-court earnings barrier but World No 1 Djokovic and Federer, the number three, should reach the landmark next year.
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Pics/Getty Images
Djokovic, 28, has just over $94 million in prize money while Federer, six years the Serb's senior, has banked USD97.3 million (approx R643 crore). With USD3.85 million (approx 25 crore) on offer for the winner of January's Australian Open, the season's first major, the veteran Swiss would be the first man to the magical number even if the odds are heavily stacked against a player who won the last of his 17 Grand Slam titles in 2012.
The staggering rewards for the modern player, all boosted by lucrative off-court earnings through sponsorship and endorsements, are a far cry from the heavyweights of the sport who starred in earlier eras. Rod Laver, the last man to complete the calendar Grand Slam — something that eluded Djokovic courtesy of a French Open final loss in 2015 — ended his playing career with USD1.5 million, still a huge sum by the standards of the late 1960s.
John McEnroe earned USD12.5 million (approx R82 crore)while Federer's hero, Pete Sampras banked USD43 million (approx R284 crore) before he retired in 2002. Djokovic earned a season record USD21.5 million (approx R142 crore) in 2015, a year which saw him win three of the four majors — taking his total to 10 in total.
Best season for Djoko
"My season was the best of my career with many highlights. It inspires me even more to keep on going, and I hope to continue to play at this level in 2016," said Djokovic. Despite his dominance of the sport, Djokovic still has some catching up to do when it comes to matching Federer's overall personal fortune.
According to Forbes' rich list, Federer was the fifth highest-earning sportsman in 2015 thanks to USD58 million (approx R383 crore) in endorsements. Djokovic was 13th, his on-court wealth boosted by USD31 million (approx R204 crore) worth of commercial riches.
The staggering wealth in the men's game dwarfs the women's tour. Serena Williams' on-court earnings stood at just over USD74 million ((approx R489 crore) after a 2015 season which saw the American also claim three of the the four Grand Slam titles.