Novak Djokovic and 10 Players Who Play Tennis Just for the Money
There are a lot of tennis players who play for their love of the game, but when does a big paycheck outweigh that?
This would be a great question to ask Novak Djokovic, the No. 1 ranked male tennis player. Djokovic made the decision to play Wednesday, Nov. 9 in his second-round match of the Paris Masters. He has had a back injury for a while, which makes one wonder why he would risk further injury.
There are other players who seemingly never win big matches, yet they collect large amounts of money. Then you have the players who were good five or more years ago that refuse to retire, despite their level of play dropping off significantly.
While I don't blame them for continuing to strike while the iron is hot, there comes a point where it gets ridiculous.
Let's take a look at some of the players who aren't shy about making some extra dough!
Harold Cunningham/Getty Images
Novak Djokovic is the No. 1 player in the world, and he's earned the ranking.
He has worked hard to get where he is, and it's paid off tremendously. A couple of years ago I wouldn't have believed anybody if they told me Novak would ever win 10 singles titles in one year.
Even more surprising is that he has won six straight matches over Rafael Nadal, and has knocked Roger Federer out of two US Open tournaments in a row. His 69-4 singles record in 2011 is nothing to take lightly, either.
Most importantly for Djokovic is that he has earned $10,779,803 prize money in 2011, and $31,042,760 over the course of his career. This already ranks him fifth all-time in earnings, not counting money from endorsements and appearances.
Earlier this month, Novak made a choice that many questioned. He chose to play in his second-round match of the Paris Masters despite a back injury he's had for a while.
Playing racquetball myself, if I hurt my back, I refuse to play until it feels better. Doctors will tell you one injury you should never mess with is a back injury.
So why did he choose to play in a seemingly pointless match and jeopardize his health? Perhaps it was the $1.6 million he was paid just for showing up. If he had chosen to not play on at the Paris tournament, Djokovic would have forfeited all the money.
Apparently another $1.6 was that big of a need for the superstar. After all, you can only live on $30-plus million for a little while.
Harold Cunningham/Getty Images
For a player who had all the hype and potential Andy Roddick did, you would think his career would have been a lot more successful. I certainly thought he would win more big matches than he has.
He has only won one Grand Slam in his 11 year career, the US Open in 2003. He has had some success but not enough to have deserved his $20,047,922 career earnings, which is good enough for 10th all-time. He isn't anywhere near the 10th best player right now, let alone all-time.
He was gimmicky from the start, with a huge serve and not much else. Once more big-hitters started to join the fold, Andy was no longer as intimidating.
He also comes across as a spoiled rich kid, blasting everyone from line judges to umpires. He never seems to blame mistakes or losses on himself.
Hey, you can't fault a guy for getting lucky! Must be nice to make $20 million and have a supermodel wife in Brooklyn Decker, while never reaching his full potential on the courts.
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
David Ferrer is not only overpaid, he is overrated as well.
Ferrer turned pro in 2000, and has only won 11 singles titles in his career. He is currently ranked fifth in the ATP standings, in large part because he beat another overrated player in Andy Murray. He hasn't won a single Grand Slam event either.
He is a certainly a good player, but has no serve game and is below average coming to the net. He's a flashy player who people seem to root for, but has made $11,959,747 without any big tournament wins.
He will continue to make bank, but seems content being almost great. You would think a small guy that moves well could learn to be proficient at the net if he wanted to put some extra effort in.
Don't expect Ferrer to ever threaten to win a major again, it won't happen!
Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images
David Nalbandian is another $10 million man without any Grand Slam tournament titles.
He turned pro in 2000 and has only 11 singles titles. He has a nice record overall, but seems to be playing to collect some extra cash at this point.
He and Andy Roddick had similar talent, and both should have been great and earned their millions. Instead, they both have played just well enough to earn a lot of money.
Nalbandian will stick around and play smaller tournaments so he can win enough matches to line his pockets.
Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Fabrice Santoro just retired in 2010, but it would be wrong to leave him off of this list!
Santoro played on the tour until he was 36 years old, despite being average for most of his career. He lost an ATP record 444 matches in singles play, and won 470. He won only 11 singles titles, none were in a Grand Slam event.
He was a good doubles player, but never seemed driven enough to get many titles alone.
$10,003,153 is a pretty good chunk of change for the veteran.
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Marin Cilic is still early in his career, but the 23-year-old has already banked $4,457,428.
Cilic already has six singles titles, but his recent loss to Fernando Verdasco in the first round of the ATP BNP Paribas Masters event left a lot to be desired.
He looked like he was playing half-speed and seemed alright with the loss. There were times when it looked like he was just trying to get through the match and be on his way. Maybe he had big plans later in the week and didn't feel like playing? Either way, he has a lot of work to do to earn the money he has already made.
Maybe he will earn his way off of this list, but for now he is in it for the money.
Julian Finney/Getty Images
Andy Murray has already made close to $20 million at 24 years old.
My problem with Murray is that he seems to lay down and take losses when matches get tough. He fails under pressure and lacks the heart of a champion. He is laughing all the way to the bank, though, so maybe he doesn't mind coming up short in the clutch.
Sure, he has won 21 singles titles, but he gets beat like a drum in Grand Slam events. If he is truly the third best player in tennis, why does he look like he's just going through the motions against top competition? This is a guy who can hit just about any shot in the game when he wants to.
Maybe he is the LeBron James of tennis, or he's just playing for the money.
Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images
Ernests Gulbis has answered this question himself multiple times.
I've seen a few of his interviews on television and read quotes from him online stating that he has no desire to practice. Analysts have also commented on him being undisciplined which is obvious when he throws rackets all over the place.
He acts like a spoiled rich-kid out there, much like Andy Roddick. While he hasn't quite made $3 million yet, this self proclaimed slacker is obviously in it for the money. He basically says he would like to be a top player but without all of the practice.
Way to go kid, keep counting your money!
Richard Gasquet has earned over $5 million without working hard to improve his game.
He has been a pro for nearly 10 years and has only six singles titles, and no Grand Slam tournament titles.
His groundstrokes are much too slow to develop, which forces him to swing much too early to catch up to his opponents shots. I would be shocked if his coaches haven't told him to change his shot mechanics if he had hopes of winning many titles.
With his talent, the only explanation for his lack of success at a high level is a lack of effort.
At 25 years old, Gasquet still has a few years to right the ship. I don't know what it would take for him to work on his game, but he needs to do something.
To quote the rapper Nelly, "must be the money!"
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Fernando Verdasco has made $8,070,775 over the course of his career.
He turned professional in 2001 and only has five titles, none of which are Grand slams. Whoever schedules this guys matches knows what they are doing, as he manages to stay ranked in the Top 25 in the ATP standings.
Verdasco is another player who seems content to simply remain competitive for as long as possible.
He has a good enough all-around game and serve to win more matches. His erratic play tells me all I need to know about him as a player. He doesn't look prepared for his biggest matches and is admittedly nervous and feels overmatched by the worlds best players.
Not knocking the guy, but he hasn't truly earned $8 million with his play!