Jack Draper picked up the biggest prize money cheque of his young career on Sunday when he was crowned the champion of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown Grand Final. As the undefeated winner, he took home £431,000 ($546,800) from one exhibition event alone. And the staggering sum eclipsed the 2023 earnings of his fellow young Brit Emma Raducanu, who was only able to pocket £187,181 ($237,627) on the court this year after ending her season early to undergo surgery.
Draper made his debut at UTS last week – an unconvential series of tourmaments that sees how many points players can score in an alloted time. He failed to lose a match in the group stage and defeated top 15 stars Casper Ruud and Holger Rune in the semi-final and final on his way to the trophy.
The world No 61 won £61.2k ($77.7k) per match for his three group stage wins and his semi-final victory, totalling £244.8k ($310.8k). He then picked up £87.4k ($111k) for his match win in the final and received a £98.4k ($125k) bonus for his undefeated run. It marked the biggest payday of his career, with his previous best coming from US Open round-of-16 appearance, which earned him £224k ($284k).
Draper has often drawn comparisons to Raducanu as another promising young British player. And the British No 4 man managed to outdo her total prize money for the entire year with his UTS victory alone. Raducanu has not played since April as she opted to have surgeries on both wrists and one ankle in May.
It means that the former world No 10 has been unable to earn any money on the court as she continued her recovery and rehab from the series of operations. However, she will finally return to competiton at the beginning of 2024 after receiving a wildcard into the ASB Classic in Auckland.
Raducanu is also on the entry list for the Australian Open with her protected ranking of No 103. But as it stands, she will need to compete in qualifying to reach the main draw of the first Grand Slam of the season as her standing isn’t high enough to make the cut-off. She can only make it in if there are several withdrawals or if she receives a wildcard.
Like Draper, the former US Open champion was set to compete in an exhibiton tournament this month as she previously signed up to compete in the Macau Tennis Masters on December 2. But she was left uncertain over whether her body would allow her to compete and opted to withdraw as a precaution to allow the organisers to find a replacement.
Raducanu has had no trouble funding her career through her past earnings, however, as she received £2m ($2.5m) when she won the US Open as a qualifter in 2021. And Draper is now hoping that he can also reinvest a prize money cheque into his career.
“It’s no doubt that tennis is a really expensive sport,” the world No 61 said after his UTS win. “It’s an individual sport but it is a team sport because there’s so many people helping me on a day-to-day basis, working on my body, working on my tennis and so that money goes a long way into investing in my tennis. I’m not a very materialistic guy, I’ll be putting that money towards becoming a better all round athlete.”