Whenever you watch a tennis match on TV, it’s often interesting to see a player glance at their coach in the stands, whether it’s for a good or bad reason. A quick fist pump, or a ‘Come on’ yell if a player is doing well, or a scream and evil glare if things aren’t going their way!
At the professional level, it’s often too easy to forget how much support tennis players have around them to ensure they are in the best physical and mental condition. For example, they may employ a nutritionist, fitness trainer and physiotherapist, but one person they cannot do without is a tennis coach. Over the years, when the tennis player hires the right tennis coach, it can make a massive difference to their success.
In this article, let’s take a look at how much tennis coaches make at the top of the game as well as at the college and recreational levels.
Despite the astronomical sums of money top tennis players make on the ATP and WTA tour, most tennis coaches generally don’t earn as much as you think. Although for players in the top 10, their tennis coaches can earn millions, for players in the top 100, it is considerably less. And moving down to the college and recreational level, it drops even further.
Do tennis coaches get a percentage of winnings?
According to an article by Christopher Beam for Slate, tennis coaches at the pro level might expect to receive 10% of a player’s prize money, plus a base salary and bonuses. Obviously the exact contract between a player and coach will never be disclosed online, we can assume that at the professional level, a coach will receive more income when a player performs better in tournaments.
However, it is unlikely coaches will get a percentage of tournament winnings at college and club level. College and club tennis coaches will probably just receive a base salary, and will likely charge by the hour for any lessons with private students.
Who is the highest paid tennis coach?
Nick Bollettieri is considered to be the highest-paid tennis coach. Over the years, he’s worked with Sharapova, Agassi, Venus and Serena Williams to name but a few. He doesn’t tour with his players though, and usually coaches players at his academy in Florida, USA. Other well-paid coaches include Marian Vajda, which is the coach of Novak Djokovic.
How much do tennis coaches make?
There are many factors that can affect how much a tennis coach makes per hour.
- Their age and experience
- What level of player are they coaching? Club, college or pro?
- Their location. You’d expect a higher salary in a city than in a small town.
- Their reputation.
- What work they’re doing. Many will be employed at tennis clubs, schools, colleges and they’ll likely top up their income by teaching private lessons.
In the UK
If we’re talking about private lessons, I think Jobted is closer to the average figure. I know experienced tennis coaches in London and in other parts of the country and they charge around £25-30 per hour for an individual lesson. I’m sure some will charge considerably more than this, and some a bit less. However, the bulk of their income comes from being employed by a tennis club where the hourly rate will be considerably lower.
In the USA
In the US, the setup is similar to the UK where tennis coaches will receive a base salary from a tennis club, school or college, and top up their earnings with some private tuition. For freelance lessons, a fairly experienced tennis coach can expect to earn around $30 per hour.
According to Zippia, tennis coaches in the USA can earn from $26,000-$69,000 a year. That’s a huge range, and the location of the work seems to be a big factor. Coaching positions in New York and Texas seem to be pay a lot higher than in other states.
How much does a college tennis coach earn?
At the college level, tennis coach salaries can vary a great deal. In the USA, there are 3 levels of competition; D1, D2, and D3.
At the D1 level, universities will have very large budgets for sport and they can often offer full scholarships for talented students. At this level, there will be a large team of sports coaches and assistants, including for tennis. A tennis coach here can earn well into 6 figures, around $150,000 per year.
At the D2 level, the salaries will be slightly lower at around $100,000 per year.
At the D3 level, you may well find younger tennis coaches trying to work their way up the career ladder, and this will be reflected in their earnings. It’ll likely be around $50,000 per year on average at D3 universities and colleges.
How much do assistant tennis coaches make?
At the club and college level, assistant tennis coaches will earn slightly less than tennis coaches, but it’s not a considerably lower salary. Ziprecruiter states that the average salary is around $46,000 a year, which works out at around $22 per hour.
Although I don’t live in the US, that figure seems quite high and I don’t imagine for a salaried position an assistant tennis coach in a school or college would be making $22 per hour. However, I’m sure they could charge at least this amount for a private lesson.
How much money do the top tennis coaches earn?
It’s impossible to know for sure as such confidential information won’t be shared online. However, we can get a rough idea. If the top coaches are getting around 10% of the prize money when their tennis player enters a tournament, you can see at the elite level, it’s a sizable amount of money.
Furthermore, according to the article from Slate, players in the top 100 might pay their coaches a basic salary between $1000-$2500 a week, which drops to around $500 a week for players out of the top 150.
Chart – Prize Money | ATP Tennis Players/Coaches | 2020
Assuming coaches get a win bonus of around 10% of their players’ prize money from ATP events, here is a chart for 2020 (up until November) showing how the money is split between the two of them.
Obviously 2020 has been affected a lot by COVID as there was no Wimbledon this year, and also the ATP finals haven’t taken place yet.
As you can see both Djokovic’s and Thiem’s tennis coaches have had a pretty good year so far!
Chart – Career Prize Money | ATP Tennis Players/Coaches
Maybe a more accurate gauge for a tennis coach’s overall income is to look at the career prize money of a player.
As you can see at the very top, they don’t do too badly!
How much does Federer’s coach earn?
Assuming Federer’s coach is at the top end of $2500 per week, that means his basic salary could be around $130,000 a year. However, as you can see from the chart above, Federer hasn’t had a great year in 2020 due to injury and arguably his favorite tournament, Wimbledon, hasn’t taken place. This means his coach will not have received much from win bonuses.
It probably makes more sense to look at Federer’s career earnings to date, which is $129 million. Although he changes his coach from time to time, between them they could well have pocketed around $12.9 million as winning bonuses alone throughout Federer’s career.
Considering Federer has been a pro for around 20 years, on average his tennis coach will have pocketed around $650,000 each year in bonuses, not including his basic salary.
How much does Nadal pay his coach?
Nadal’s prize money in 2019 was phenomenal, earning an impressive $16.3 million, so his coach could well have earned around a staggering $1.8 million when you factor winning bonuses and salary.
How much money does Djokovic’s coach make?
Djokovic is at the top of the tree in terms of career prize money with $145 million. So his tennis coaches over the years will have earned around $14.5 million, or roughly $950,000 each year (if we assume Djokovic has been a pro for around 15 years).
How much does Serena’s coach get paid?
Serena Williams is way ahead of any other female tennis player in career earnings. She’s earned $93 million, which means her coaches could have taken home around $450,000 each year on average over a 20-year career (not factoring in any salaries). However, it wasn’t until 2007 that all the grand slam events had equal prize money, so it could have been much more.