Tennis Pay Disparity? I Have an Explanation – It’s Geometric

Like in the real world, the income gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” of tennis continue to widen. The disparity actually exists even between the “haves”. I can offer some explanation for this. Geometric progression has something to do with it.


A lot has been said about the income disparity between the have and have nots of tennis. I’m just talking about prize money here. The disparity between endorsement money is a whole different ballgame… errr match (since we’re talking tennis here).

Apparently, the disparity exists between the “haves” themselves. The Wall Street Journal ran an article last year regarding the income gap between the 1st and 32nd ranked tennis players, and compared that gap across a variety of professional sports.

Why the number 32? In a tennis grand slam, such as the recently concluded 2015 Australian Open, there are 32 seeded players. The seeded players represent the top tier of the sport. The article is pointing out the disparity even within that top tier. Here is an infographic:


Prize money disparity between the 1st and 32nd ranked men and women tennis players
Alexa rankings pay much better. Image cropped from

Note: The data from the wsj article is as of August 22, 2014. After the 2015 Australian Open, the no. 1 ranked male and female players are Novak Djokocic and Serena Williams respectively – they also both won the Australian. The no. 32 players are Fernando Verdasco (still!) and Coco Vandeweghe.


The article¬†also showed a graphic comparing the incomes (just from playing, endorsements are excluded) of the No.1 up to the No. 32 highest paid players across many professional sports. Continue reading Tennis Pay Disparity? I Have an Explanation – It’s Geometric