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How much does it cost for a young player to become a tennis professional?

January 5, 2024


In this article we are going to talk about money: The question is how much does it cost for a young player to become a tennis professional?

  1. How much does it cost ?
  2. How do we finance?
  3. Conclusion

How much does it cost: (An arm and a half lol)

For a young player in training: (approximately 8 - 14 years old) the main expenses will be:

  • In training: (Training / Individual lessons)   depending on the quantity it can vary from 500 to 1500 € / year (or more)
  • In tournaments: even if most of them are local, there is travel (back and forth every day to the organizing club) + Registration fees (Between €12 and €18/table): Let's say we do 10 tournaments in the year with 2 tables in each tournament that's 300€ registration fees + 3 to 4 full tanks of gas: 4*80 = 320€ or roughly 620€ / year
  • In the equipment:
    • The balls cost an arm and a leg (€1.2 per ball minimum and they last 2 weeks to break everything... it's a financial pit), plus I need hundreds of them for the ball machine (400). ..    Personally with the ball machine I have spent more than €600 worth of balls per year
    • Sneakers wear out quickly (5 to 8 pairs per year): €60 * 8 = €480 / year in shoes.
    • Overgrip and other small accessories: €250/year
    • Textile (sportswear): €200/year
    • Rope: I break my rope every 2 to 3 weeks... (more and more frequently because I hit harder and harder)... At 15€ per installation it costs hundreds of euros over the year ... €150/year (I now have a stringing machine to reduce costs: we string ourselves)
  • And finally, when we go on tour to another region, we have additional accommodation/travel costs: €600/year

In short, for a young person like me there is not necessarily a need to spend a lot of money to progress but still... For me it still represents an annual budget between 1500 and 3000 €/year which is already not so bad. (For the 2022-2023 season we have exceeded €4,000 in expenses)

Be careful though:  Don't think that all 11 year olds spend that much to play tennis. For a “classic leisure/competition” player the expense is much lower (300 to 600€/year)...Tennis is a sport that has become relatively accessible to everyone.

For a junior in the process of becoming a “pro”:

I lack information, but I know some so I will ask them... however I imagine that the costs of a young junior player depending on the organization and the (numerous) trips can be very high.

For a “pro” player on the ATP circuit

The "pro" connotation could lead one to believe that the ATP circuit player earns his living playing tennis: there is nothing further from the truth.
The reality on the ground is that beyond the top 100/top 200, the vast majority of players on the ATP circuit are warriors who live in anonymity, poverty and in the hope of succeeding in playing the tables. finals of major tournaments in order to hit “the jackpot”

For the ATP circuit player: the bulk of expenses go to:

  • Travel (plane/taxi/train, etc.)
  • Accommodation costs: (hotel / rbnb...etc)
  • On staff salary (if you can afford it): Coach / Physiotherapist...
  • Roping: (After each match)
  • Equipment

Generally speaking, players on the ATP circuit estimate that a year on the circuit costs between €30,000 and €60,000... (A first round of a Grand Slam pretty much allows you to finance the year, you still have to arrive to qualify, players on the ATP circuit spend the year in secondary tournaments trying to earn a few ATP points to move up in the rankings and hope for qualification in the final draw of a Grand Slam tournament)

Some reference videos to watch: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_CWw58GXI8gY0XnFrlxXtYQzpuTAeITv

2) So how do we finance? (well it’s not easy..)

The FFT helps players financially: Yes, but just a few players.

Most people think that it is enough to be a good player and then there is help from the French tennis federation which identifies good players and finances part of their journey... this is only valid for a small handful of players selected by the FFT.

NB: This does not detract from the talent of the players not selected, all player profiles are simply not compatible with the federal program: For example for me: the approach we have to my project can make compatibility with the complicated FFT approach. I'm not a bad player, I'm just taking a different path... and there are no bad paths: some paths will suit certain players better, others will suit other players...

Sponsors are scrambling to finance: unfortunately no lol

Generally speaking, a sponsor will only finance a player if it brings him visibility...  and to bring visibility to the sponsor you have to be popular. Knowing how to play tennis well is one thing, it doesn't make you popular (not enough in any case to satisfy the expectations of a sponsor)...

In my case for example at the time of writing this article, my popularity is very low, I am not yet a known player...  so I am not yet attracting sponsors. ...But who knows maybe tomorrow ;)...

Self-financing of your professionalization project:

As you will have understood, if you are not supported by the Federation, you will most certainly have to finance your project yourself: (I am in this situation).

- The family helps: they still have to have the means.
- We make do with the financial means at hand... often it's very light... and it doesn't allow us to last very long..

3) Conclusion... Well it's really not easy lol

As you can see, making a living playing tennis is not easy... Being a very good player is one thing, financing your career as a professional tennis player is a whole other thing... winning his life as a professional player on the ATP circuit is reserved at the top of the top of the pyramid... it is not surprising if a large number of players on the ATP circuit last 1 year or even 2 years then stop for lack of financial means. ..

On a personal level, my father and I identified very early on that financing was going to be a barrier: that's why even though I'm only 11 years old, we're already working on ideas to finance... (The store from this site is one of the ideas) Yes, it's a whole project that has been set up and the adventure is much bigger, much larger than it seems: Level of play / Financing / Education / Well-being.. .  I don't know if that's the reality on the ground for all young players like me who dream of going to the top... in any case it's mine.

It's a great adventure, real teamwork: A project that is built and progresses slowly, step by step.

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