The Most Wealthy Tennis Players Of All-Time And How They Won Big

Tennis | 7/2/19

Tennis players have a short shelf life and therefore, a short opportunity to make big money from playing in tournaments. One advantage players do have, however, is that many of them begin their professional careers as teenagers. Players who play well into their thirties can make some serious money.

The money is obviously better now that it has ever been. And the best players can ink endorsement deals that could potentially pay them even more than event purses. Many legendary players can also continue to play on the senior tour. Below is a list of the top net worths from the games best players past and present.

Ana Ivanovic Earns $16 Million During A Brilliant Career

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LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images
LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images

Ana Ivanovic was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1987. She turned pro in 2003 at just 16 years of age. Just three years later, she made her breakthrough and captured the United States Open Series defeating well-known players like Martina Hingis, Kim Clijsters and Maria Sharapova.

She continued playing and was able the win her only Grand Slam, The French Open, in 2008. Following her win, she became the number one ranked women’s tennis player in the world. Ivanovic continued her successful play up until 2016 when she retired from the sport. In the same year, she married soccer star, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and they recently had a child.

Chris Evert Grand Slammed Her Way To $16 Million

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Photo by Keystone/Getty Images
Photo by Keystone/Getty Images

Chris Evert, who was born in 1954, turned pro in 1969 at 15-years-old. She was an immediate superstar in the game and won her first Grand Slam, the 1974 French Open, at just 19 years of age. She also won Wimbledon in 1974, capping a second world major during her teenage years.

This was just the start of a brilliant career. She won a total of 18 Grand Slams. She was particularly adept at the French Open which she won 7 times and the US Open which she won 6 times. Her career earnings could be higher but purses weren’t as large in her heyday.

Jim Courier’s $18 Million Came From His Brilliant Open Play

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Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Jim Courier was born in Florida in 1970 and became a professional tennis player in 1988 at 18-years-old. This was not the best era to be a male tennis player as Courier often competed against players like Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. This, however, did not prevent him from achieving a high level of success.

Courier won his first Grand Slam by defeating Andre Agassi in the finals of the 1991 French Open. The red-headed star went back-to-back, winning the French Open again in 1992. He also captured two Australian Opens in 1992 and 1993. In 2005, Courier was named to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Billie Jean King’s Athletic Prowess Earned Her $20 Million

Billy Jean King
Getty Images
Getty Images

Like Chris Evert, Billie Jean King was another tennis great who was simply born in the wrong era. The bespectacled legend began her 34 year professional career in 1959. Along the way she captured 12 Grand Slam singles, including 6 wins at Wimbledon. King also captured 16 Women’s Doubles Grand Slams and 12 Mixed Doubles Grand Slams.

King also struck an incredible win for women’s rights when she defeated Bobby Riggs in the so-called Battle of the Sees. In addition to being named to numerous Tennis Hall of Fames, she was also honored with the Presidential Medal for Freedom in 2009.

Rafael Nadal Brilliantly Played His Way To $180 Million

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Photo by TPN/Getty Images
Photo by TPN/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal was born in Manacor, Spain in 1987. While he was both a promising soccer (his Father was a pro) and tennis player growing up, he eventually had to move to only playing tennis. The choice has been a successful one as the lefthander has racked up a multitude of Grand Slam wins.

The speedy Spaniard dominates at the French Open where he has won an astonishing 12 titles. He’s also won the US Open three times, the Australian Open once, and two Wimbledons. His fine play isn’t the only way Nadal generates money as he also benefits from a number of endorsement deals.

Agnieszka Radwanska Made $25 Million But Never Won A Grand Slam

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Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Agnieszka Radwanska was born in Krakow Poland in 1989. Prior to her career, Poland was not well known for their tennis players. Radwanska turned professional in April of 2005 and quickly went about changing that. The Pole played a lot of tennis in her career and finished ip with a career record of 594-265.

Radwanska has tremendous success in her career though she never did capture a Grand Slam in single’s play. She was able to win plenty on the tour though, finishing 7th all-time in earnings for a female player. In 2013, she was awarded the Polish Gold Cross of Merit.

Andy Roddick Smashed His Way To $30 Million

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Ryan Young/PGA TOUR
Ryan Young/PGA TOUR

Andy Roddick came onto the scene during an interesting time for American Men’s tennis. Born in 1982, he was well known as a promising prospect going back to his early teenage years. Following in the footsteps of players like Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras, the Roddick hype-train ran in overdrive.

The biggest moment in the Omaha-born player’s tenure came in 2003 when he won the US Open, his first and only Grand Slam title. After a Hall of Fame career, Roddick retired from the sport in 2012. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with his supermodel wife, Brooklyn Decker and his two children.

Bjorn Borg Could Have Earned More Than $40 Million

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Universal/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images
Universal/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

When people think about men’s tennis in the 1970’s they usually think of three names: John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, and Bjorn Borg. Borg came onto the scene like a lightning bolt after turning pro in 1973. Success came fast as he won his first Grand Slam at the 1974 French Open.

The winning would come in droves after that. Borg captured 6 French Opens and 5 Wimbledon titles over the course of his career. That career, however, would be amazingly short. Bjorg shocking retired in 1983 at only 26 years of age. After his tennis days, he started a very successful fashion label in his native Sweden.

Li Na Had A Slow Start But Soon Earned $50 Million

2018 ITF Junior Masters
Zhong Zhi/VCG via Getty Images
Zhong Zhi/VCG via Getty Images

Chinese-born Li Na was not always a tennis players. She spent the first 8 years of her life playing badminton like her Father, Li Shengpeng, who had played the sport professionally. Once she dropped the badminton racquet for a tennis racquet, though, she appeared to be a complete natural.

She turned pro in 1999 and it took her quite a while to achieve significant success. She captured her first Grand Slam title at the 2011 French Open and won another Slam at the 2014 Australian Open. Li is revered in her hometown China and in 2013, was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.

Anna Kournikova’s Sponsorships Helped Her Earn $50 Million

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Rebecca Naden/PA Images via Getty Images
Rebecca Naden/PA Images via Getty Images

When Anna Kournikova first became a professional tennis player, she may have received more notice for her looks than for her game. Shortly afterwards, though, her tennis was the thing that was turning everyone’s heads. Born in Russia, the tennis prodigy moved to Florida to further her game and turned pro at the age of 14.

While she was a good singles player, Kournikova achieved the majority of her success playing doubles. She captured the Australian Open doubles title with Martina Hingis in 1999 and 2002. Injuries forced Kournikova to retire at the age of 21. She had twins with pop superstar Enrique Iglesias in 2017.

Venus Williams’ Brilliant Career Has Earned Her $95 Million

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Photo by Jon Buckle – EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images
Photo by Jon Buckle – EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images

When Venus and Serena Williams burst onto the scene in 1994, the pro tennis world had never really seen anything like them. The girls were trained by their father, Richard, and Venus turned pro at the age of 14. Starting so young, it took a while for Venus to make an impact, but once she did, it lasted for a long time.

Venus captured seven Grand Slam singles titles including five Wimbledons and two US Opens. The Williams sisters were also a force on the doubles scene, taking home an additional 14 Slams. While age has taken its toll, Venus still plays regularly on the tour.

John McEnroe Screamed His Way To $100 Million

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Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images for The Laver Cup
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images for The Laver Cup

While most pro tennis players hail from warm places like Florida or California, John McEnroe hailed from the unlikely hometown of Queens, New York. The tennis prodigy turned pro at the age of 18 and quickly went about making his mark on the tour. He came into his own in the same era as stars like Jimmy Connors and Bjorn Borg.

McEnroe captured his first Grand Slam in just his second year as a pro, winning the 1979 US Open. He went on the win 3 more US Opens along with 3 Wimbledon titles. Known as much for his mouth as for his play, McEnroe is still a well remembered player 20 years after his retirement.

Andy Murray Made $100 Million And Then He Was Knighted

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Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images

Great Britain’s favorite son, Andy Murray, was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1987. Murray played almost all of his junior tennis in Scotland and turned professional at the age of 18 in 2005. He spent the early part of his career grinding through tour events and working his way up the ladder.

Murray’s play really began to take off at the 2010 Australian Open where he made his first Grand Slam final. He then won Slams at the US Open in 2012 and Wimbledon in 2013 and 2016. Sir Andy Murray was knighted by the Prince Charles in May of 2019.

Maria Sharapova Scored $135 Million And Now She Owns A Candy Company

Maria Sherapova
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Getty

It’s not uncommon for star players to turn pro at a very young age. And normally, it takes those players some years of experience and maturing before they start to regularly win Grand Slam titles. That wasn’t true of Russian-born Maria Sharapova who turned pro when she turned 14 years old.

At the age of 17, Sharapova captured her first Grand Slam Victory at Wimbledon in 2004. She won each Grand Slam title at least once and won the French Open twice, in 2012 and 2014. Sharapova is still an active player and also started a candy line called Sugarpova.

Pete Sampras Took Home $150 Million But Never A French Open

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Photo credit should read SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images
Photo credit should read SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images

Pete Sampras played in an era that included incredible players like Andre Agassi, Goran Ivanesevic and Jim Courier. At the end of his career, though, Sampras stood above all of them. Born in Washington DC and raised in Florida, the right handed player won his first Grand Slam at the 1990 US Open at just 19 years old.

That tournament began an incredible Grand Slam run that saw Sampras win the US Open 5 times, Wimbledon 7 times, and the Australian Open twice. Incredibly, Sampras was never able to win the French Open, though he was a finalist there in 1996.

Andre Agassi Earned $175 Million Then Married Steffi Graf

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Photo by Sam Tabone/WireImage
Photo by Sam Tabone/WireImage

Born to an Armenian Father and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Agassi began his career as one of the most reviled players on the pro tour. The cocky player won his first Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 1992. As he matured, Agassi became much more respectful and was absolutely beloved by fans.

He also did a lot of winning. The Las Vegas native won the Australian Open 4 times, The French Open once and the US Open twice. Once his playing career came to an end, Agassi married tennis legend Steffi Graf. Agassi retired in 2006. He and Graf have four children together.

Serena Williams Has Defeated Pretty Much Everyone To Earn $180 Million

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Photo by TPN/Getty Images

Coming in at number five is the worldwide tennis phenomenon, Serena Williams. Serena and her sister Venus did not have the same kind of training as most tennis pro’s but that hasn’t seemed to matter at all. Williams has now clearly established herself as the greatest women’s tennis player of all time.

Her list of titles is staggeringly long. Serena has won each of the four Grand Slams numerous times. Her total of 23 singles Grand Slams adds to her 14 doubles titles. She even added two mixed doubles Grand Slams back in 1998. The 37-year-old is still active and moving towards adding more trophies to her mantle.

Novak Djokovic Has Earned $200 Million And Is Still Playing

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Photo by Shaun Brooks/Action Plus via Getty Images

Like many others at the very top of this list, Novak Djokovic has been playing professional tennis for a very long time. Born in Belgrade in 1987, the Serbian player turned pro at the age of 16 and has been winning tournaments ever since.

Djokovic has the unfortunate privilege of having to compete against two of the greatest players of all-time in Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Still, the Serb has been able to win 15 Grand Slams including capturing the Australian Open title 7 times. Still going strong at 32, Djokovic has the opportunity to add more money to his bank account.

Roger Federer’s $450 Million Couldn’t Beat The Billionaire On Our List

ATP tournament in Halle
Photo by Friso Gentsch/picture alliance via Getty Images
Photo by Friso Gentsch/picture alliance via Getty Images

Roger Federer has been a tennis prodigy from a young age and it can be argued that he is the greatest player of all time. Born in Basel, Switzerland in 1981, Federer has won more Grand Slam tournaments than any other male player in tennis history.

The titles speak for themselves: six Australian Opens, eight Wimbledon titles, five US Opens, and one French Open. The French was always an uphill battle for Federer as that tournament is tailor-made for his chief rival, Rafael Nadal. While he is nearing the end of his career, the hard-hitting Swede is still a threat to win any tournament he enters.

Ion Tiriac: The $2 Billion Tennis Legend

Ion Tiriac
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Getty

This player is a bit of a cheat. All of the stars on this list have compiled their net worth both through careers earnings as well as post-tennis endeavors. And Ion Tiriac was a professional tennis player who achieved a high level of success.

As a player, Tiriac won the 1970 French Open alongside fellow Romanian, Ilie Nastase. Following his career, he became heavily involved in the world of business. Tiriac has made his money in a number of ways including auto sales, retail, insurance and air travel. He also spent time as a tennis coach after his career mentoring players like Mary Jo Fernandez and Marat Safin.

Boris Becker Has Remained Active Since Retirement And Can Claim A $35 Million Fortune Because Of It

Boris Becker of Germany kisses the Gentleman's trophy
Steve Powell/Allsport/Getty Images
Steve Powell/Allsport/Getty Images

German player Boris Becker got his start in tennis early on, winning the first of his six major singles titles at the young age of 17. He went on to 13 Master Series victories and an Olympic gold medal for doubles. His fast serve and excellent volleying earned him the colorful nicknames “Boom Boom” and and “Baron von Slam.”

Becker’s post-retirement time has been spent on endeavors such as poker and coaching Novak Djokovic. He’s still hugely influential in the sport.

Justine Henin’s One-Handed Backhand Helped Her Earn $14 Million

Belgium's Justine Henin-Hardenne competes
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liewig christian/Corbis via Getty Images

Belgian champ Justine Henin has seven Grand Slam singles titles under her belt. She was ranked No. 1 in the world for an astonishing 117-week run, and was also the year-end No. 1 in 2003, 2006, and 2007. She’s considered one of the best female players in the history of the sport and was the first Belgian player to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Henin’s impressive one-handed backhand, as well as her footspeed and the variety of her game, are all reasons for her great success in the sport. John McEnroe has called her backhand “the best single-handed backhand in both the women’s or men’s game.” She retired in 2011.

18 Grand Slam Titles Translated To $15 Million For Martina Navratilova

Martina Navratilova of the USA holds up the winner plate
Allsport UK /Allsport
Allsport UK /Allsport

Hailing from Czechoslovakia, Marina Navratilova won the country’s national championship when she was just 15 years old. She went pro in 1975 and was considered the greatest female tennis player in the world for 1975 through 2005, according to Tennis Magazine. Navratilova is the only player in history who has held the top spots in both singles and doubles tennis for over 200 weeks.

Navratilova played against Chris Evert in a 1985 French Open match that some fans consider to be one of the best in the sport’s history. Although she narrowly lost that game, Navratilova has had a career full of impressive wins. She retired in 2006, with a net worth estimated at $15 million.

Dropping Out Of School To Play Tennis Paid Off For Michael Chang: $30 Million

MichaMichael Chang of the United States serves to Wayne Ferreira
Simon Bruty/Getty Images
Simon Bruty/Getty Images

Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2008, Michael Chang was ranked No. 2 in the world at the peak of his career. His short stature required him to play a defensive game that relied on his speed and agility.

Chang dropped out of high school and got a GED in order to focus on tennis. When he was just 17 he won the 1989 French Open, before going on to win 34 top-level professional singles titles. He retired from the professional tour in 2003 but joined Jim Courier’s senior tour in 2006.

Staying At #1 Netted Ivan Lendl $40 Million

Ivan Lendl of the Czechoslovakia hits a return
Focus on Sport/Getty Images
Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Ivan Lendl’s career accomplishments are nothing short of stunning. The German player can claim 94 singles titles, eight major titles, and seven year-end championships. But perhaps the most impressive feat that Lendl can claim is staying the world’s No. 1 ranked player for 270 weeks during the 1980s.

His aggressive, powerful technique was dubbed the “Lendl style” and changed the way many play tennis. After retiring in 1994, Lendl went on to coach other players including Andy Murray.

Doubles Specialist Pam Shriver Is Worth $10 Million

pam Shriver, winner of the Women's Singles final
Staff/Birmingham Post and Mail Archive/Mirrorpix/Getty Images
Staff/Birmingham Post and Mail Archive/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

Pam Shriver hit the professional tennis scene in the late 1970s. She was a master at doubles and earned 111 women’s doubles titles during the 1980s and 1990s! Shriver also racked up including 21 women’s singles titles during that period and also scored a women’s doubles gold medal with partner Zina Garrison at the 1988 Olympic Games.

Shriver retired in 1997 and has had a lucrative career since leaving the sport professionally. Today, she works as an ESPN tennis broadcaster where it’s estimated she earns $400,000 a year.

$14 Million Can Replace A Lot Of Broken Rackets For Marat Safin

 Russian Davis Cup tennis player Marat Safin hits a backhand shot
STEVEN R. SCHAEFER/AFP/Getty Images
STEVEN R. SCHAEFER/AFP/Getty Images

Russian Marat Safin is the tallest tennis player ever to reach the No. 1 ranking, a position he achieved in 2000 and held for 9 weeks. Known for his temper and frequent outbursts, Safin claims to have broken 1,055 rackets over the course of his career.

He became the first Russian man to reach the semifinals of Wimbledon (2008) despite his dislike of grass courts and was also the first Russian tennis player to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame (2016).

’70s Tennis Phenom Ilie Năstase Is Now Worth $15 Million

Nastase reclines on the court
Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Romanian superstar Ilie Năstase was the world’s No. 1 tennis player from 23 August 1973 to 2 June 1974. Only ten elite players in the history of the sport have won more than 100 ATP professional titles, and he is one of them. He also has seven Grand Slam titles, four Masters Grand Prix year-end championship titles, and seven Championship Series titles.

In 1991, Năstase was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1991. His net worth today is estimated to be near $15 million, with $2 million of it from prize money.

20 Professional Titles = $16 Million Payday For David Ferrer

David Ferrer swings the racket
Alex Pantling/Getty Images
Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Spanish tennis star David Ferrer Ern holds the odd distinction of the most match wins on the ATP tour with no Grand Slam tournament win. Despite this, the three-time Davis Cup champion had quite an impressive professional career and reached #3 in the world rankings.

Ferrer’s many wins on the court made him the 7th highest-earning player in the history of tennis (when not counting for inflation). He just retired in May 2019 and his net worth is estimated to be $16 million.

Svetlana Kuznetsova Is Worth A Staggering $30 Million

Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia plays a forehand
Clive Mason/Getty Images
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Svetlana Kuznetsova grew up admiring her fellow Russian player Marat Safin and now appears on this list along with him. She turned pro in 2000 and by 2007 had risen to the rank of No. 2 in the world. She was only 22 at the time. Kuznetsova won US Open and the French Open for singles and is an accomplished doubles player too, having snagged the Australian Open twice for doubles.

Although her total prize winnings come in around $20, she has income from other sources that send her net worth skyrocketing to around $30. And she’s still playing professionally, despite a decline in performance in recent years.

Steffi Graf Can Hold Her Own With A $30 Million Net Worth

Tennis Player Steffi Graf at Press Conference
David Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images
David Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

Although her individual net worth might not be as much as her husband’s, Steffi Graf is a legendary player in her own right. In fact, the German star held the Women’s Tennis Association’s No. 1 ranking for 377 weeks in a row beginning in August of 1987. That’s a record that no player, male or female, has topped since.

In addition, she won six French Open singles titles, seven Wimbledon singles titles, five U.S. Open singles titles, and four Australian Open titles. Graf and Boris Becker are credited with making tennis a popular sport in Germany, and she was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004.

Former No. 1 Jimmy Connors Is Worth $12 Million Today

Jimmy Connors of the U.S. chases down a return
CAROL NEWSOM/AFP/Getty Images
CAROL NEWSOM/AFP/Getty Images

Jimmy Connors is a legend in the game of tennis and is considered by some to be the greatest player in the sport’s history. He reached No. 1 in July of 1974 and held the spot until August 1977 — 160 consecutive weeks. He reached No. 1 eight more times during his long and successful career.

Connors’ titles include one Australian Open, two Wimbledons, five US Opens, three year-end championships, and 17 Grand Prix Super Series. He’s also one of a small group of players who’ve won the Junior Orange Bowl championship twice. Connors retired in 1996.

Australian Favorite Rod Laver Has Amassed A $28 Million Fortune

Australian tennis player Rod Laver stretches to reach a ball
AFP/AFP/Getty Images
AFP/AFP/Getty Images

From 1964 to 1970, Australian Rod Laver was the No. 1 ranked tennis player. He also holds the record for the most singles titles in tennis history, with 200. One of Laver’s unique talents was his ability to play an excellent game on every different court surface: hard, grass, clay, carpet, and parquet.

Laver is admired and beloved by fellow Australians. In 2016 Laver was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia, and in 2000, an arena at Melbourne Park, which is where the Australian Open is held, was named the Rod Laver Arena.

Twins Bob And Mike Bryan Are Worth A Combined $18 Million

Mike Bryan and Bob Bryan in action during their mens doubles match
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Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images

Stanford University graduate Robert “Bob” Bryan went professional in 1998. His twin brother Michael is also a pro tennis player, and together the two have been racking up wins for years. ATP named the brothers the “Team of the Decade” for 2000–2009.

Additionally, the Bryans are just the second men’s doubles team ever to complete the career Golden Slam at the 2012 Summer Olympics held in London. Although sidelined with an injury during his 2018 season, Bob Bryan is estimated to be worth around $10 million today while Mike’s net worth is $8 million.

Guillermo Vilas’ Strong Game Earned Him Nearly $5 Million In Prize Money

Argentine tennis player Guillermo Vilas wins the Masters Tournament
Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Guillermo Vilas was one of the top tennis players in the world throughout the 1970s. The Argentine athlete was No. 1 on the Grand Prix tennis circuit’s for three years: 1974, 1975, and 1977. He reached No. 2 on the ATP rankings in April 1975 and stayed there for a total of 83 weeks.

Vilas’ other tennis accomplishments include nine Grand Prix Super Series titles, four Grand Slam tournaments, one year-end Masters, and 62 ATP titles. He ended his illustrious and profitable professional career in 1992, with about $4.9 million in total prize winnings.