Djokovic’s US Open puts him at the top of the 2023 tennis wins list

In 2022, Iga Swiatek came just a few hundred thousand away highest paid Tennis player on the court, man or woman. In the 16 years since all four Grand Slams committed to equal pay for both genders, no woman has done so – a streak that is likely to continue this year.

At the top of the winnings charts, tennis is still a man’s world.

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After the US Open, the three players with the most prize money in 2023 are all men. Champion Novak Djokovic, runner-up Daniil Medvedev and semi-finalist Carlos Alcaraz have put a distance between them and the rest of the world’s male players with their success in Flushing. These three players earned $3 million, $1.5 million and $775,000 respectively in the later round Prize money slightly increased this year compared to previous rounds. The fourth-highest paid man on the tour this year, Jannik Sinner, earned just $284,000 by reaching the fourth round, while fifth-place finisher Stefanos Tsitsipas added just $123,000 to his total after a surprise second-round exit.

Djokovic has now passed the $10 million mark this year. Alcaraz is slightly behind GOAT with $9.31 million and ahead of Medvedev, who earned $7.41 million.

Aryna Sabalenka tops the women’s list with $7.37 million after losing the US Open final to 19-year-old Coco Gauff, who became the second-highest female winner. Sabalenka had a dominant year in the majors, winning the Australian Open and reaching at least the semifinals in all four Slams, but winning only one while Djokovic won three. Additionally, she has only won one WTA 1000-level event and Alcaraz and Medvedev have each won two Masters 1000 titles.

Even if Sabalenka matched her male counterparts in tournament wins, she would still be fighting an uphill battle. At many marquee events where both men and women play at the same time, men still pay far more. For example, in 2023, the Cincinnati Open paid out around $6.6 million to male players and just $2.8 million to female players, and Prize money differences in lower level tournaments they are even worse.

Despite this fact, six of the top 10 players in the 2023 prize pool as of September 12 are women – a reflection of the deep talent pool at the top of the women’s game.

Looking ahead to the rest of 2023, however, men will have significantly more money at their disposal. Both tours feature two 1,000-level tournaments, but the WTA’s Guadalajara Open’s $2.8 million prize money pales in comparison to the roughly $7.2 million on offer at the Paris Masters , and the $8.8 million at stake in the Shanghai Masters. Still, if Sabalenka dominates in the next two months, she could break $10 million this year.

At the end of each season, the ATP/WTA Finals are held among the top eight players in the rankings. These are essentially “rich get richer” events. In 2022, the men’s event in Turin, Italy had prize money of over $14 million, and the 2023 WTA Finals in Mexico is expected to bring players $9 million.

Although these tournaments attract much less public attention than the Grand Slams, Djokovic took home more money by winning the 2022 ATP Finals than at any other major. In fact, the $4.74 million he earned was by far the richest payday in the history of the sport, surpassing the $3.85 million won by Rafael Nadal and Bianca Andreescu at the 2019 US Open.

“Lower-ranked players are struggling the most,” Djokovic said at a Professional Tennis Players Association press conference in August. “I am well for this and many other lives.”

Another source of income for the tennis elite is the bonus pool, which is divided at the end of the season between the top-ranked players on each tour who meet certain criteria for the number of events played. In 2022, Alcaraz earned nearly $3 million from the bonus pool, having already put away his clubs for the year. This year the ATP bonus pool has grown to $21.3 million, but the distribution formula has yet to be announced, while the women’s team is paying out a significantly smaller $4.5 million.

The mark for second-most money ever won in a season, currently held by Andy Murray with $16.4 million in 2016, is likely to be surpassed if either Djokovic or Alcaraz win the ATP Finals. However, it will be nearly impossible to match the record $21.1 million that Djokovic earned in 2015.

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