Murray Seen Netting $75 Million by Ending U.K.’s Wimbledon Wait

Andy Murray may net as much as $75 million a year by ending the U.K.’s 77-year wait for a men’s champion on the lawns of Wimbledon.

The 26-year-old is trying to become the first British man to take the singles title since Fred Perry, who won Wimbledon in 1936 during the short reign of Edward VIII, Queen Elizabeth II’s uncle. The second-seeded Scot plays Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz today for a place in his second Wimbledon final, while 2011 champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia faces Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina. Germany’s Sabine Lisicki plays Marion Bartoli of France in the women’s final tomorrow.

Lifting the tennis trophy on July 7 could push Murray’s earnings to as high as 50 million pounds ($75 million) a year, according to Nigel Currie, director of London-based sports marketing agency brandRapport. Murray is the current U.S. Open champion and won Olympic gold at the All England Club last year.

“If Murray wins it, that would put him in a position where he’s not just a one-slam wonder,” Currie said an interview.

Even after his success last year, Murray trails his rivals at the bank.

Roger Federer, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, makes $71 million annually from prize money and 10 sponsorship deals, according to Forbes magazine. Former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova of Russia takes home $29 million a year, while top-ranked Djokovic makes $26.9 million, followed by 12-time major champion Rafael Nadal with $26 million.

‘Safe Bet’

Murray’s annual earnings were estimated by Forbes last year at $12 million from prize money and deals with Swatch Group AG’s Rado watch brand, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, sporting goods maker Head NV and Adidas AG, the world’s second-largest sporting-goods maker.

“Brands are looking at who will dominate in the next two or three years,” Currie said. “Federer may not be around for so long, while there are question marks over Nadal, which makes Murray a safe bet.”

The British press went into overdrive after two-time Wimbledon winner Nadal of Spain and defending champion Federer of Switzerland, 31, were knocked out in the opening and second round respectively, and half the field in the top 10 lost before the third round. Nadal took seven months off from the men’s tour after last year’s Wimbledon because of a knee injury.

Murray, who cried on Centre Court after he lost the 2012 final to Federer and has been beaten by Nadal three times at Wimbledon, could have played either one in today’s semifinals.

‘Wimbledon Dreams’

“Great start for Andy -- Rafa’s out,” the Daily Mail said. “Adios Rafa. Hello Andy. Wimbledon dreams again,” headlined The Times of London. Some U.K. media have also been running daily pictures and reports on Murray’s girlfriend, Kim Sears; his mother Judy Murray; the lack of expression on coach Ivan Lendl’s face during matches; and even Murray’s two dogs, Maggie May and Rusty.

A Centre Court ticket for the men’s final was offered yesterday for as much as 17,045.45 pounds ($26,000) on online marketplace Viagogo. A Centre Court ticket for the men’s final day normally costs 130 pounds.

Murray’s matches have been watched by former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. Some fans trying to get a seat to watch the semifinals inside the grounds on the giant screen outside Court No. 1 started camping out for a ticket yesterday morning.

Media Hype

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has sent Murray three messages of support on Twitter since the tournament started. One included a picture of Cameron, surrounded by former Tory Party chairmen, watching Murray’s five-set quarterfinal win against Fernando Verdasco of Spain. Another one said, “The sky over Downing St a little grey right now. Let’s hope it clears up for Andy Murray to win at Wimbledon. Best of luck Andy.”

Just as in previous years, Murray said he’s not paying too much attention to the media hype and is trying to stay focused.

“It’s nice to get messages from the Prime Minister, but whether I win or not, his tweet has no bearing on that at all,” Murray told reporters, when asked if Cameron’s message may have jinxed his match against Verdasco. “That’s just people trying to make a story out of nothing.”

So far, Murray has handled the extra attention “brilliantly,” according to Jo Durie, a former top-five player from Britain who competed at Wimbledon 18 times and reached the 1984 quarterfinals.

“It’s hard,” Durie said. “You do feel more expectation, that’s for sure. But Andy is pretty strong mentally, I think he can cope with it.”

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