Paris – Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are poised to become the first $100 million men in tennis in 2016, in a gripping sub-plot to the new Grand Slam season.
No player in the history of the sport has broken through the $100 million on-court earnings barrier but world number one Djokovic and Federer, the number three, should reach the landmark next year.
Djokovic, 28, has just over $94 million in prize money while Federer, six years the Serb’s senior, has banked $97.3 million.
With $3.85 million on offer for the winner of January’s Australian Open, the season’s first major, the veteran Swiss would be the first man to the magical number even if the odds are heavily stacked against a player who won the last of his 17 Grand Slam titles in 2012.
The staggering rewards for the modern player, all boosted by lucrative off-court earnings through sponsorship and endorsements, are a far cry from the heavyweights of the sport who starred in earlier eras.
Rod Laver, the last man to complete the calendar Grand Slam – something that eluded Djokovic courtesy of a French Open final loss in 2015 – ended his playing career with $1.5 million, still a huge sum by the standards of the late 1960s.
John McEnroe earned $12.5 million while Federer’s hero, Pete Sampras banked $43 million before he retired in 2002. — AFP