A week after breaching the $10 million WTA prize money mark for the season, Australia sensation Ashleigh Barty had created a global history for professional tennis with a US $4.42 million cheque – the highest-ever single paycheque for a professional tennis player.
World No. 1 WTA Tour player Ashleigh Barty with her WTA Finals title triumph at Shenzhen, China, has earned the prize purse of US$4.42 mn million. A feat not even accomplished by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Serena Williams.
Believe it or not, Ashleigh’s pay purse is even higher than $ 4 million each the FIFA and ICC World Cup champion teams received. The 2018 ATP Tour Finals had offered the winner’s paycheque of $ 2.71 mn, whereas champion at the Master’s Golf earlier this year returned richer by $ 2.07 million.
The cheque could have been even bigger, at $6.8 million had she gone through the tournament undefeated, but a first-up loss to Kiki Bertens in the round-robin stage cost the world number one several thousand dollars.
The 23-year-old also ends the year at the No. 1 player on WTA points chart for the first time in her career – only the 14th WTA player since to achieve the goal since computer rankings were introduced in 1975.
“Bizarre, if I’m being completely honest,” was Ashleigh’s first reaction to describe her 6-4, 6-3 win over defending champion Elina Svitolina in flat 87 minutes. “It feels like it’s been a year that just hasn’t stopped. It’s been a year of incredible ups and downs – I think more ups than downs. To cap it off with a very, very special night tonight in Shenzhen is really cool.”
Ashleigh summed up the feat at “incredible” as she shared her image with the trophy on her twitter handle @ashbarty.
Incredible ✨ pic.twitter.com/jf4j96owF6
— Ash Barty (@ashbarty) November 3, 2019
Ashleigh was as clear in her thought process as she was clinical and dominating on the court. The emerging tennis icon from Queensland promised fame and fortune will not change her, saying “I’ve got everything that I need” before revealing her plans to spoil three-year-old niece Lucy and near-two-year-old nephew Oscar.
“Thankfully they can’t read but for Christmas, they’re getting a new swing set, which they’re pretty excited about now that they’ve got the trampoline and swing set out the back,” the humble champion said.
“And I know Luce and Oscar are very keen to learn how to play tennis so I think that’s going to be pretty special to try and get a racquet in their hand. They already run around with a racquet, it’s amazing.
“So, look, I mean the number of zeros you have in the bank account doesn’t change how I’m going to spend my off-season and spend time with my family. Because that’s one of the biggest times that I miss throughout the year, is spending genuine time with them.
“It’s great that I can buy them things that they love but I live a pretty simple life. I’m not living an extravagant life. I’m pretty happy in my little house at home. I’ve got everything that I need. I’m pretty boring. I don’t really spend a lot on myself.”
Her unprecedented payday for a professional tennis player took Barty’s 2019 prize money haul to an astounding $16.37 million.
That’s more than men’s world No.1 Novak Djokovic, who has so far amassed $16.06 million ahead of the men’s season-ending showpiece in London.
“It’s incredible; we’re breaking records this week in particular, putting tennis on the map, putting WTA tennis on the map,” Barty said.
“I feel like we’ve earned that right to be recognized more as a global sport.”