Ash Barty’s quarter-final opponent has always hidden in plain sight as the richest figure in tennis, dwarfing the net worth of Roger Federer.
Ash Barty goes into battle on Tuesday against billionaire heiress Jessica Pegula — the player constantly overlooked as the richest person in the sport.
The American is through to her second-consecutive quarter-final at the Australian Open after a big upset win over No. 5 seed Maria Sakkari on Sunday.
Barty is playing her fourth consecutive quarter-final at Melbourne Park as she chases a historic home grand slam victory. Australia has been waiting 44 years for a break through women’s singles champion with none of our female champions able to achieve the feat since Chris O’Neil in 1978.
Pegula made headlines at the 2021 Aussie Open when she reached a grand slam quarter-final for the first time, triggering profile pieces which reminded the world Pegula is stonkingly rich.
The 27-year-old’s parents are Terry and Kim Pegula, who have owned both the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres sports franchises since 2014, and have a net worth of more than $5 billion, according to Forbes.
Terry Pegula is reported to have made his fortune as a mining magnate before selling off the majority of his natural resources company.
The family famously outplayed Donald Trump as they tussled to take over the Bills before the American President slagged off the team when his bid wasn’t accepted.
The team was purchased for $1.4 billion seven years ago and is now estimated to be worth $2 billion.
The heiress’ fortune dwarfs the net worth of tennis superstars Roger Federer ($450 million), Serena Williams ($300m) and Maria Sharapova ($195m).
According to the WTA, Pegula has amassed career prize money of more than $2.8 million — the majority of that money has come from her break through 2021 campaign where her ranking climbed to reach No. 21 in the world heading into the Aussie Open.
She doesn’t need the money, clearly.
With her financial future secure, Pegula has turned her attention to projects close to her heart, including tennis and a new range of beauty products launched in 2021 under the brand Ready 24.
However, Pegula remains focused entirely on tennis for now.
Her heavy-striking, risky style gives Barty a new challenge to unlock when they clash on Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday night.
“Each and every player is different – there are some similarities, but certainly tactics and the way that I want to play is unique to each and every player,” Barty said after defeating Amanda Anisimova on Sunday.
“I try and adapt my game as best as I can to try and make my opponent uncomfortable, and that will be no different when Jess and I play in a couple days’ time.
“My job is to try and make her uncomfortable, and hopefully I can execute that, have some fun with it, and make life difficult for her.
“It’s going to be a challenge for me to try and push her off that baseline and make her uncomfortable and feel like she has to create.
“That’s the chess game that we play. You go out there and have fun with it, see who can execute better on the day, and that’s about all there is to it.”