Can Roger Federer win a total of 115 titles

How the tennis prizes reach absurd heights

Dominic Thiem has already earned more prize money than Thomas Muster - and Novak Djokovic will trump Roger Federer in the near future.

Thomas Muster is Austria's most successful tennis player of all time. The Styrian won 44 titles during his career, his greatest triumph was winning the French Open in 1995. The reward for his hard work: $ 12.26 million in career prize money. The check with the highest payout was presented to Muster in Paris 23 years ago, and his only Grand Slam title was rewarded with $ 637,236. Compared to today's earning potential, Muster was literally "fobbed off". As in other sports, the prize money in tennis has now reached absurd heights.

The numbers at the US Open are particularly striking, there are no other tournaments where higher sums (total endowment 53 million dollars) are paid out. Anyone who lost in the first round in 2018 got a proud $ 54,000, with the winner waiting for $ 3.8 million. By comparison, in 2010, just eight years ago, first-round losers earned $ 19,000, almost a third of what they are today. Champion Rafael Nadal received $ 1.7 million at the time. Dominic Thiem has not won as many matches and titles (10) as Muster, but has already won more prize money (12.62 million) than the former world number one.

The calculation is simple: the later you start your professional career, the more you can earn. This also explains why the 37-year-old prize money king Roger Federer (117.5 million / 98 titles) only brought in insignificantly more prize money than the six years younger Novak Djoković (115.3 million / 70 titles). Federer has been successful before, with 15 years between his first and, to date, last Grand Slam title.
His Wimbledon victory in 2003 was endowed with 956,802 dollars, this year's triumph in Australia at the beginning of the year was sweetened with four million dollars. There is no end in sight to the madness in prize money, and there will be even more to earn in 2019.

("Die Presse", print edition 09/05/2018)