Caroline Wozniacki: 'tennis players are underpaid'
The former women's world tennis number one earned $150 for her first professional appearance.
= HOW DID YOUR CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCE INFLUENCE YOUR ATTITUDE TO MONEY? =
I grew up in a normal family and got pretty much what I wanted, but I was still grounded and didn't get spoilt too much, and I think that helped me in the way I deal with money now. I don't really spend money like crazy. I buy what I need and what I really want, and if I'm buying expensive things I do think about the purchase many times before I buy it.
= WHAT LESSONS DID YOUR PARENTS TEACH YOU ABOUT MONEY? =
To be honest, I think growing up I never really thought about money. My parents just always taught me to be reasonable.
= CAN YOU REMEMBER YOUR FIRST JOB AND HOW MUCH YOUR FIRST PAY PACKET WAS? =
My parents paid me small amounts for cleaning my room or cleaning the dishes and stuff, but I never really had a real job before I started on my professional tennis career.
= HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU STARTED PLAYING TENNIS? =
I was seven.
= AND HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU DECIDED THAT YOU WERE GOING TO PLAY THE GAME PROFESSIONALLY? =
I don't know. I just always had small goals growing up. When you start playing, you don't think about the money. You don't really know what's going to happen in the future. You just play because it's what you love to do. But when I became better at it, I realised that there is money in the sport, but it was never what really drove me. What drove me was the love of the game.
= BEFORE YOU TURNED PROFESSIONAL, HOW DID YOU FINANCE YOUR TENNIS DEVELOPMENT? =
I was very lucky to have parents who really wanted to help me out and without them I definitely wouldn't be where I am today. They've really helped me financially.
= DID YOU HAVE ANY COMMERCIAL ENDORSEMENTS TO SUPPLEMENT YOUR DEVELOPMENT? =
I did have a few small pre-professional deals growing up. It's very expensive to be a professional tennis player with all the travel and the flights and the hotels and everything. When I was a junior, Adidas (EUREX: 59053.EX - news) and Wilson (Oslo: WILS.OL - news) and Yonex (Other OTC: YONXF.PK - news) were kind enough to provide me with their products, so you can imagine how much of a thrill it was for me to receive free clothes as a 10-year-old girl. I have now been with them for such a long time that my loyalty to them continues to grow.
= HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU TURNED PROFESSIONAL? =
I played my first professional tournament when I was 15, but I didn't play as a full professional on the tour until 2007, when I was 17.
= AT JUST 15, PRESUMABLY YOUR PARENTS WERE STILL MANAGING YOUR FINANCES? =
Yes, they were. For me the most important thing has always been to focus on playing tennis and to try to do as well on court as I can. So I'm eternally grateful to have such great parents who can help me out by managing the financial side of things so I can stay focused on my tennis.
= DO THEY STILL MANAGE YOUR FINANCES TODAY? =
They're still definitely involved, so I still just try to focus on my tennis. I trust them completely so I let them handle the financial side.
= CAN YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST PAY CHEQUE YOU GOT FOR PLAYING TENNIS? =
I can remember it well. My first prize money cheque was at a lower level International Tennis Federation tournament, where I lost in the first round. My cheque was for a grand total of $150 and I bought myself a designer handbag after that that's usually how I like to treat myself after a big payday. I love having new things to wear when I am off the court.
= HAS YOUR PRIZE MONEY INCREASED GRADUALLY AS YOU'VE RISEN UP THE WORLD RANKINGS? =
I think so, but I don't really think about it. I just play and I love what I do and it's just an added bonus that I can make a living from the sport that I love to play so much.
= WAS THERE A FINANCIAL BONUS FOR BECOMING WORLD NUMBER ONE ON THE Women's Tennis Association TOUR? =
I actually don't know. I don't really look at the contracts. I just play.
= HOW MUCH PRIZE MONEY HAVE YOU WON IN YOUR MOST LUCRATIVE SEASON? =
I made nearly $4m in 2010. It makes all the hard work worthwhile.
= WHAT'S THE MOST MONEY YOU'VE EARNED IN A SINGLE DAY? =
The most prize money I've earned in a single day would be when I reached the finals of the US Open in 2009. I took home $783,600.
= WHAT DO YOU PLAN TO BUY WHEN YOU WIN YOUR FIRST GRAND SLAM? =
I like the positive thinking, but I still have a lot of work to do before I win my first grand slam so this is something I haven't even contemplated yet. I do hope that I can answer that question for you soon, however.
= DO YOU THINK PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYERS GET PAID TOO MUCH COMPARED WITH OTHER ATHLETES? =
Ha ha, no. I think tennis players are actually underpaid, but I might be a little biased. I like to think we are rewarded for the hard work we put in.
= WHAT'S YOUR VIEW ON THE FINANCIAL DISPARITY in PRIZE MONEY BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN? =
I think men and women tennis players should be paid the same. I think we all work equally hard so it's great that they are starting to have equal prize money.
= DO YOU EARN MORE FROM PLAYING OR ENDORSEMENTS? =
From commercial endorsements. For example, I've been working with Compeed since last year, which began with a really fun commercial shoot in Los Angeles (Other OTC: ANGC.PK - news) , and as I use their products a lot the endorsement is authentic. I spend about four hours a day on court, which causes a lot of wear and tear on my feet. While Adidas produces great shoes for me to play in, there are times when blisters are difficult to avoid; this is where the patch is so helpful.
= CLEARLY TENNIS is YOUR PRIMARY FOCUS, BUT HAVE YOU LEARNT ANY FINANCIAL LESSONS ALONG THE WAY? =
Ummm. I'm not sure. I guess you learn with time … I think it's important to know that you might earn good money now but a tennis player's career is short, so it's important to just save so you can do what you like to do after you finish.
= HAVE YOU EVER MADE ANY FINANCIAL MISTAKES? =
I'm extremely conservative with my investments. I haven't, and don't intend on making any mistakes.
= HOW ARE YOU PLANNING TO FINANCE YOURSELF WHEN YOUR PLAYING CAREER ENDS? =
There is a plan in structure, but right now everything is fine. I have people around to think a little bit for me as well but when I stop playing I hope to continue working with my corporate partners to endorse their brands. Another possibility would be television work; however, I sincerely hope to have a family and devote the majority of my time to raising my children.
= DOES MONEY MAKE YOU HAPPY? =
It definitely makes life easier in many ways and it provides me with flexibility and the ability to help others, but I think money by itself doesn't make you happy. The most important thing is friends, family and the people around you. That's what really makes you happy.
= ARE YOU A SPENDER OR A SAVER? =
I'm quite careful. I like to buy nice things for myself but I like to also be reasonable. I think I'm pretty careful.
= HAVE YOU EVER SPLASHED OUT AFTER A PARTICULARLY LUCRATIVE TOURNAMENT WIN? =
Lots of jewellery, some handbags, things like that. I do like to give myself a treat.
= WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION? =
It would be a tennis bracelet my grandma gave me before she passed away.
= DO YOU HAVE A PENSION OR ANY INVESTMENTS? =
Yes, there is a pension. Also, on the WTA tour, some money gets put aside every month to that too.
= IF YOU WEREN'T A PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER, HOW DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD EARN A LIVING? =
I would probably want to be a teacher. I love working with kids and helping others, so I feel like a career in teaching would be perfect.
= WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG ATHLETES STARTING A CAREER IN PROFESSIONAL SPORT ABOUT MANAGING THEIR FINANCES? =
I would suggest that you only take advice from those people who have a lot of experience and who you trust as well. Also, be extremely conservative with your investments. Lastly, save as much money as possible because the career of a professional athlete is a short one.
Caroline Wozniacki has been working with Compeed to design and launch a new blister patch, which is cushioned and shaped for the heel, providing instant pain relief. Recommended retail price £5.99 for a pack of five, available nationwide
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