Nadal’s $3.85 Million US Open Bonanza Has an Eye-Popping Tax Bill

Joseph Young @iamjosephyoung
September 9, 2019 15:20 UTC

Rafael Nadal, top two ranked Tennis player in the world behind Novak Djokovic based on ATP Rankings, faced Daniil Medvedev on Sunday for the US Open title, winning his 19th Grand Slam.

According to the official US Open prize money pot, the winner of the finals received a cool $3.85 million while the runner-up is richer by $1.9 million.

A Steep Tax Bill

WTA tour coach Jiri Fenci revealed that foreign players with winnings at the US Open are charged with a 30 percent tax rate. That’s $1.15 million withheld straightaway from Nadal.

The US Open is held in New York and if state taxes are applied on top of the 30 percent federal tax rate, Nadal or Medvedev could pay between an additional 4 percent to 8 percent.

Nadal’s Bank Bleed Hurts Harder in Spain

In Spain, however, Nadal pays even more than 30 percent from prize winnings. Nadal revealed he is coughing up to 56 percent in taxes in Spain – back in 2013.

Throughout his career, Nadal was often questioned by the media on whether he is happy to be located in Spain instead of other regions like Monaco and Switzerland with lower tax rates where many of the world’s top Tennis players are based in.

“In terms of managing assets, perhaps it would be better to go to another country with more beneficial conditions, but Spain is where I’m happy, with my family and friends. In another country, I would have double the money but be only half as happy. Money doesn’t buy happiness,” Nadal said in 2017.

Nadal may well have doubled his prize money as he indicated if he was based outside of Spain, playing in major competitions like the US Open and Wimbledon.

American pro-tennis player John Isner, the world’s 20th seed in the ATP rankings, said that due to taxes and other expenses such as flights, hotels, and meals for the entire coaching staff, it is difficult for players to profit off of the prize money alone.

American pro John Isner has revealed that the burgeoning pot of prize money doesn’t always translate to raking in the big bucks. | Source: Shutterstock

Most top players like Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, and Isner sustain the operations of their teams with sponsor deals. However, Isner emphasized that even for pro tennis players, it is challenging to find sponsors if the player is not ranked in the top 20.

In a column on Forbes, Isner wrote:

“You do well as a pro tennis player when you’re ranked in the top 20. But that can be short-lived. Brands are paying you to get their logos on televised show courts, so if your matches aren’t being featured on broadcasts because your play has fallen off … or because you’re injured and not playing at all — they’re going to stop calling.”

Still, it doesn’t hurt to be Nadal. His career earnings, so far, stands at an estimated $115 million.

Joseph Young @iamjosephyoung

Hong Kong-Based Finance Analyst. Contributing regularly to CCN and Hacked. Providing unique insights into the fintech space since 2012.