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Tennis – The richest player in the world is not who you think

by archysport

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The bank accounts of Nadal, Djokovic and Federer are pale next to the heritage of a former winner of Roland Garros in doubles, estimated at 1.6 billion dollars.

Ion Tiriac is the richest professional tennis player. He mostly earned his money off the courts.

AFP

At the end of the tennis year, when there is only the Davis Cup to play, it is time to take stock. As for the rankings, things can still change somewhat until December 31st.

On the other hand, there is a question that can already be answered. Who is the richest tennis player in the world? And hope for him that it will remain so for many years to come.

Well, this is definitely not the player that comes to your mind first. No, it’s not Rafael Nadal, nor Roger Federer, nor even world number one Novak Djokovic. We’re not talking about Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, either. He probably plays tennis, but he is a pro tennis player who must be found.

Three Davis Cup finals

He’s Romanian and he’s… Ion Tiriac. According to specialists Forbes, the man is at the head of a heritage estimated at 1.6 billion dollars, or about seven times more than that of Djokovic.

More famous for his mustache and punchlines than for his forehands and backhands, the man didn’t make his fortune on the tennis courts. He was a professional player in the seventies with the best ranking, a 55th place in the world in singles and a 19th in doubles. He nevertheless won with his compatriot Ilie Nastase the French Open in doubles tennis and played with Romania three Davis Cup finals in 1969, 1971 and 1972.

Americans Stan Smith and Erik Van Dillen (left) win the Davis Cup match against Romanians Ilie Nastase and Ion Tiriac on October 14, 1972, in Bucharest.

Americans Stan Smith and Erik Van Dillen (left) win the Davis Cup match against Romanians Ilie Nastase and Ion Tiriac on October 14, 1972, in Bucharest.

AFP

Ion Tiriac only raised $ 266,000 when he was a professional.

Like most former players, the Romanian started out as a coach and manager, working with big names like Guillermo Vilas from 1976 to 1985, then Boris Becker until 1993. He is currently the owner of the ATP tournament in Madrid.

Ion Tiriac with one of his proteges, Boris Becker.  One has been less successful in business than the other.

Ion Tiriac with one of his proteges, Boris Becker. One has been less successful in business than the other.

AFP

Ion Tiriac earned most of his money at the end of the Cold War. Taking advantage of the decline of communism in his country, he created the country’s first private bank, which became a huge financial success.

Under the name Tiriac Holdings Ltd it has invested in retail, insurance and airline companies and in 2007 it was appointed by Forbes like Romania’s first billionaire.

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