Today’s topic is one of the most interesting and most debated topics in modern tennis. Almost every well-known tennis blog or website has tried tackling the topic of which tennis players are the most influential on and off court.A few days ago; there was a huge debate about which tennis player was the most influential at the local club I play. Every club member had a different understanding of the topic and almost each one made a compelling argument. Although I decided to be the listening party in this argument, I am aware that the modern game has such talented but yet business savvy stars. Whom would you pick over whom? For which reasons? All tennis stars are bankable, but which ones would make a product sell quicker? Which players have revolutionized the sport?
We tried to answer as many of these questions as possible and through this came out with our top 10 picks for this year;
#10 Li Na (China)
The current women’s number 6 is a fast rising star back home and is also becoming popular in other parts of the world. Being the first Asian to ever win a Grand Slam Tournament, Li Na’s victory in the finals of the 2011 French Open was one that drew the eyes of the world on her. Although she had fallen two places from her original fourth position her influence remains the same particularly in parts of Asia.
#9 Kim Clijsters (Belgium)
Former number 1 and four-time grand slam winner, Kim Clijsters despite all her injuries, made the 9th position this year. Her outstanding comeback from retirement just 2 years ago was one that took quite a number of her fans by surprise. Although she suffered an injury during the 2011 season and was unable to make it to the French Open 2011, she still remains one of the most influential tennis players of the day.
#8. Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark)
Raking in $12.5 million has been only one of the good things happening in the 21-year-old’s life. Her recent deals with Oriflame which is a beauty care brand earns her tons of cash as also, her deals with Adidas, Turkish Airlines and Compeed. Her recent links to Golfer Rory Mcllroy has also earned her some attention in the media. Her spot this year was earned due to her position as current Women’s no.1.
#7 Andy Roddick (United States)
Andy Roddick is ranked by some to be one of the most loveable players in today’s game. His strong passion for good on and off court has been what has won him favour in the eyes of many tennis fans. After refusing to play in the in the U.A.E because a fellow tennis player (Shahar Pe’er of Israel) had been discriminated against, he lost his opportunity to defend his title but in return gained the respect and love of many tennis lovers all across the globe.Roddick also popularly known for his hard services and returns, until recently, held the world record for the fastest serve in the world at 155mph. At the end of the 2010 season, A-Rod took with him besides his Babolat racket, a whooping $13 million. He earned the bulk of his money from his endorsement deals with Babolat and Lacoste. Roddick is currently ranked World number 27.
#6 Andy Murray (Scotland)
Ranked as the 5th most consistent player today on some sites, Murray has had his fair share of criticisms over the past few years. Believed by some to have the best backhand in the game, expectations that he would have been the next best thing for the sport after the 2009 season are yet to be realized.
#5 Serena Williams (United States)
Upon returning from what seemed like a career-ending foot injury, Serena Williams has gradually started her a back to the top. The fashion-loving, book writing philanthropist seems to be on the path of victory again after almost an entire year of not playing. Her 27 Grand Slam titles placed her on our list this year in the 5th position.Her endorsement deals with EA Sports and a clothing line with Nike give Serena the right to proclaim herself a “Self-made-millionaire”. Her sister, Venus came 13th on our list this year despite also taking home $11.5 million. Serena herself received $10.5 million during the season that she was injured.
#4 Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
This is a player who has one of the most powerful yet precise backhands in tennis. He also has an aggressive play style one which easily sends his opponents playing in defense. With 27 career titles under his belt, Djokovic is one of the most promising tennis players we’ve ever seen. His recent rise to world number 1 and his winning streak going on for 43 matches is what earned him a spot on our list.Like fellow pro Andy Roddick, his jovial attitude is what makes people love him. His hard serves also contribute to his aggressive play. A cool $18 million was what he took home after the 2010 season.
#3 Rafael Nadal (Spain)
World number 2 and King of clay, Rafael Nadal is regarded as one of the best players of all-time. With 46 career titles, 10 Grand Slam wins, $43 million as career prize money, and several enviable endorsements, one may think Rafa may have already done it all. He has one of the fiercest rivalries in the history of tennis with Roger Federer, and their epic 2008 Wimbledon encounter was considered the best match of all time.
#2 Maria Sharapova (Russia)
Ranking the highest -paid female athlete in 2011 with a an estimated net worth of $90 million is reason enough for her to end up on any list. The blonde, long-legged beauty with outstanding entrepreneurship skills was also named one of the 30 Legends of Women’s Tennis by the Time. Besides her skills on the court and her charity works off court, Sharapova scores major points when it comes to her endorsement deals.In January 2010, she signed a contract with sports company Nike at an estimated value of $70 million. She is also the winner of 24 WTA titles. Titles she fought fiercely for. One of her few criticisms has been her loud grunts on court which some consider annoying.
#1 Roger Federer (Switzerland)
It may not come as a huge surprise to many tennis lovers who have been following the game that Roger Federer ranks first on this list. The one-time World No.1 has 67 career titles and may be the best player ever in the history of the game according to some tennis experts. Federer’s ball control and exceptional ability to keep his eyes on the ball have majorly contributed to this success.Federer’s 237 consecutive weeks at the World No.1 broke all previous records. He tied with Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg’s record when he went 8 consecutive years winning more than one title each year.Federer endorses product for Gillete, Mercedes-Benz,among others. His career prize money stands at an astonishing $64 million.