SUCCESS for Jason Kubler this year has meant buying a better cut of steak or having the beautiful financial freedom to fill up his mother’s car.
The gutsy Kubler burst into the world’s top 100 in August with a season in which he qualified for Wimbledon and beat world No.19 Roberto Bautista Agut at the US Open.
The Brisbane 25-year-old has earned $380,487 in prizemoney this year, more than half of his career earnings of $611,033 in eight years as a professional player marred by six knee surgeries.
In mid-2017, Kubler, who lives at Mango Hill with his mother Lyn and his two siblings, roused himself from a period of indecision when he had less than $1 in his bank account.
All season, the hardworking baseliner scrapped together just $27,977 in official prizemoney and had to quit a European tour because he had no more money.
“I probably had two or three weeks in Brisbane before I decided I really had to do something about it — I was kind of in shock about having no money,’’ Kubler said after training at the Queensland Tennis Centre on Monday for two upcoming Australian Challenger events.
“I was staying home, doing nothing, and thanking Mum for everything I had. Then
I started coaching and made a little money. I was buying tuna and rice when it was on special.
“But I went pretty well almost straight away when I went back to tournaments. It’s only 12 or 13 months ago, but it feels like it’s a lifetime ago that I was really battling and not really sure I wanted to play tennis.
“It’s a big difference now, just less pressure. If I can do well enough in the next two tournaments, I would keep my ranking about where it is (No.91) and be a direct entry for the Australian Open.’’
It was 12 months ago last week that Kubler returned to tour tennis at a small ITF tournament in Toowoomba, where he made the final, followed by a second runner-up week in Cairns and a title at a Challenger event in Traralgon, Victoria.
“I remember I was playing in Toowoomba, driving to and from Brisbane to play, not staying there so I could save some money,’’ Kubler said.
“My sister said to me last week how I’d bought this $20 steak … how I used to get a thrill out of how much I’d save by getting a cheaper piece.
“My family are happy that I’m enjoying what I’m doing.
“Even though I’ve made a lot more income than other years, I wish it could be more so there was no stress at all. Ever since the US Open, I’ve thought I could really help out here. I would like to give all my money to Mum, but I have to pay for all my trips and pay the taxman.’’
The world’s one-time top-ranked under-16 boy’s encouraging road to relative financial health has been driven by a rediscovered love for tour life and a welcome ability for his knees to withstand 17 hardcourts tournaments in 2018.
Kubler said he believes he will be over a recent ankle soreness well enough to try to defend his Traralgon Challenger title from Monday week.
Get ready for cricket like never before. FREE Sport HD + Entertainment until the first 4K cricket ball as part of 2 months free on a 12 month plan. SIGN UP TODAY. T&Cs apply