Why Tennis Is One Of The Most Lucrative & Overlooked Sports In 2020

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By Javon Dimitri

  • Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka brought in $37.4M and $36M respectively in 2020
  • In 2019, Serena Williams was the only African American woman in the top 40 of the highest paid Black athletes of the decade

With the U.S. Open in full swing people are easily reminded that sports have long been the great equalizer, allowing historically oppressed African Americans to compete at the highest levels, while building generational wealth. Specifically, tennis which has been a winning strategy for the highest-paid female athletes that happen to be two Black women who dominate the sport. Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka top the list of highest paid female athletes in the world, bringing in $37.4 million and $36 million respectively in 2020.

Why This Matters: Among all major American sports tennis ranks 4th in the top 100 highest paid athletes. In fact, the U.S. Open was the first out of a number of major tennis tournaments to officially end pay discrimination between men and woman, according to ESPN. Moreover, tennis ranks number one in how much money women can make, with 9 of the 10 highest paid female athletes playing the sport.  

Tennis ranks number one in how much money women can make, with 9 of the 10 highest paid female athletes playing the sport.

Tennis has been one of the major sports at the forefront of ending pay discriminations, and could give people of color a chance to create real wealth. At the 2019 U.S. Open, a total of $57.2 million was awarded to players, with the largest sum going to the singles champs. Fortunately, tennis is ahead of other leagues and associations in terms of equality. For example, in the NBA each player on the championship team received roughly $240,000 this year for their win. That’s significantly more than the $11,000 ESPN reports WNBA players receive for winning a championship.

Situational Awareness: Tennis has silently been at the forefront of equality in sports throughout the world. The American Tennis Association (ATA), formed in 1916 by a group of African American businessmen, college professors and physicians, who would go on to produce the likes of greats such as Ora Washington and the first Black player (male or female) to compete in a U.S. Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) event in Althea Gibson. Though tennis has come a long way thanks to Serena Williams and Venus Williams, it should be more accessible in inner city schools and after school programs, as well as recreation in inner city parks.  

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Javon Dimitri

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