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What do retired tennis players do?

Pete Sampras Andre Agassi nicknames
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 24: Tennis players Andre Agassi (L) and Pete Sampras attend Nike's "NYC Street Tennis" Event on August 24, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)

What activities do retired tennis players take up?

Aside from sitting in the commentary box or the TV studio, you don’t really hear too much about what tennis players get up to once they retire. In some respects, it’s quite understandable.

Players who have amassed a personal fortune in the millions can easily kick back and spend the rest of their days relaxing in the garden.

Pete Sampras during the 1999 Wimbledon Championships. (Getty Images)
Pete Sampras during the 1999 Wimbledon Championships. (Getty Images)

But there are a few who took a different approach to retirement and decided that the likes of poker and running a furniture brand were way more interesting that sitting by the pool.

Here are the few that broke the ‘rules’ and took on another option:

Andy Roddick helping others

He had a bit of , with some likening his temperament to that of tennis legend John McEnroe. But since retiring Roddick has shown what a nice guy he actually is.

Although still involved in media work from time to time, as well as hosting quite a successful radio show, he tried his hand at golf and played in a few professional tournaments as an amateur playing off a handicap of 6.

Andy Roddick is searching for a new job due to the coronavirus pandemic
Former American tennis player Andy Roddick speaks during a event. (Getty Images)

Andy Roddick’s true love though is the work he conducts through his foundation. He started it with a view of helping underprivileged families by providing financial assistance and grants for education. As a man who struggled in his early years, it’s great to see him giving back to the community in such a positive way.

Boris Becker at the poker table

Becker was known as the ultimate professional when it came to his training, so it should come as no surprise that he had . Poker is such a mentally demanding game that the smallest hint of indecision can result in a loss.

Similar to a tennis player’s choice of serve, executing the right decision is what poker is all about. And it seems that his many years of training on the court and experience dealing with pressure cooker situations from a young age has stood Becker well.

Alexander Zverev
Germany captain Boris Becker and Alexander Zverev talk tactics during the ATP Cup held in Brisbane, Australia earlier this year. (Getty Images)

In the early years of his retirement, Becker started to get back to playing poker. He honed his skills to such an extent, that by 2007 he had made an impact in the game.

It was about this time that Becker started popping up in professional tournaments and charity events. He even earned himself a place on a professional celebrity poker team.

Although an accomplished player, he has yet to hit the heights he achieved on the tennis court. His biggest win to date is a creditable $40,000 in a Texas Holdem event in Las Vegas. His total live poker winnings currently top just over $111,000.

Pat Rafter the property mogul

He’s an Australian legend that even has the center court at Tennyson Tennis Centre named after him, but Rafter never really fulfilled his potential. Sure he won two US Open titles, but so much more was expected of him.

Post-retirement he started getting involved in exhibition matches like every other former tennis pro, but his big win came in the property market.

Rafter won over $11 million in prize money throughout his career and he was very clever with how he spent it. He bought several properties in Australia and sold them when the time was just right.

He has since invested in quite a lot of property deals, some of which have made him millions, while others not quite so much. His old summer house on the Sunshine Coast . Not bad when you consider his career earnings.

Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf and their entrepreneurial spirit

Graf and Agassi at Wimbledon in 2009
Graf and Agassi at Wimbledon in 2009

Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf are tennis royalty, with a massive 30 Grand Slam titles between them (including a golden Grand Slam) and a fair chunk of change in prize money. And despite both seeming to shun the limelight of late, the two have made a huge fortune off their combined fame and celebrity status.

Nightclubs, restaurants, resorts; you name it, Agassi and Graf have invested in it. In their early post-retirement years, the pair seemed to cash in on their status. They had endorsements with a dozen or so major brands, such as Nintendo, T-Mobile and Kia Motors, and even managed to start their own moderately successful furniture brand.

Incredibly, they also invested in a water park built in Nevada called Wet n’ Wild. Yes, that’s a water park in the middle of a desert.

Sounds like they are throwing their money around at any investment opportunity going, but the truth is that Agassi and Graf have such tuned-in entrepreneurial skills that they have a net worth of around $205 million. And we all know they’re not done yet.

What about the others?

Although the tennis players listed above have all had success outside the game, the love of tennis proves too much for most retired stars. The fact is that the vast majority of retired professional players stay within the game in some capacity.

Whether it’s through the founding of tennis schools, media and broadcasting work, or coaching up-and-coming young players, the most recognized names in the game generally stick around the courts.

Roger Federer Rafael Nadal
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the 2020 Match for Africa (Getty)

We’re not entirely sure what will happen with the current crop but it seems that Rafael Nadal could follow in Becker’s footsteps and hit the poker tables. The Spaniard is said to love the game and has been seen at quite a few charity and exhibition events.

Serena Williams will likely go down the same route as Agassi and Graf, as she also seems to have that entrepreneurial spirit. As for Roger Federer? Who knows for sure, but we can see him sitting in a TV studio commenting on Wimbledon in the not too distant future. He just has that made-for-TV air about him, right?

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