'Richest person in tennis': Ash Barty opponent's $5 billion fortune

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Ash Barty and Jessica Pegula, pictured here in Melbourne.
Ash Barty will take on Jessica Pegula in the Australian Open quarter-finals. Image: Getty

Ash Barty will take on Jessica Pegula at the Australian Open on Tuesday night with a place in the semi-finals and an $895,000 payday on the line.

Not that Pegula really needs the money.

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The American is the daughter of Terry and Kim Pegula, owners of the Buffalo Bills NFL team and Buffalo Sabres NHL team.

According to Forbes, their net worth is somewhere in the ballpark of $5 billion, with Pegula unofficially known as the "richest person in tennis".

Terry Pegula famously beat Donald Trump in a bidding war for the Bills in 2014, buying the franchise for $1.4 billion.

The team is now worth an estimated $2 billion.

The 27-year-old Pegula has won over $2 million in prize money throughout her career, largely thanks to her run to the quarter-finals at the Australian Open in 2021.

But that pales in comparison to the money she is destined to inherit one day.

So vast is her family's wealth that Pegula's net worth dwarfs all of tennis' biggest earners, including Roger Federer ($450 million), Serena Williams ($300m) and Maria Sharapova ($195m).

Her net worth is even reportedly greater in value than the entire economy of Fiji.

Terry and Kim Pegula, pictured here with Jason Pominville at a Buffalo Sabres game in 2018.
Terry and Kim Pegula with Jason Pominville at a Buffalo Sabres game in 2018. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Jessica Pegula set to roll the dice against Ash Barty

After romping through the draw without dropping a set en route to the Australian Open's quarters, Barty enters Tuesday night's clash as the heavy favourite.

And Pegula, who loves casinos, knows she needs to roll the dice.

"I feel like Ash is so tactical in everything she does. Really a smart, like perfect kind of tennis player in that way," the American said.

Pegula's coach David Witt added: "She has so many different weapons.

"The slice backhand. She's just super smart on the court. Her serve is probably one of the most underrated, it's really good.

"Whether she has 10 aces or no aces, she moves it around unbelievably.

"Her coming in, she has an all-purpose game where she can come in, volley, the slice. She's very smart on the court on her shot selection."

Jessica Pegula, pictured here after beating Maria Sakkari in the fourth round at the Australian Open.
Jessica Pegula celebrates after beating Maria Sakkari in the fourth round at the Australian Open. (Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)

Pegula, the 21st seed at the Australian Open, has spent much of her down time in Melbourne on the card tables of Crown Casino.

So risk-taking against Barty and trying to beat the house should come naturally.

"I've been like six times. I was going every single night," Pegula said of her frequent trips to the casino.

"There literally is a little walkway, like a two-minute walk across to my hotel.

"I just go and play some blackjack. It sounds silly, but it got me. It was good for me because it kind of relaxes you.

"But you have to think a little bit in blackjack - what to play.

"It's good because it got me thinking about strategy and all this stuff but, at the same time, it would kill some time and relax me.

"I'm not losing like a ton of money or anything."

with AAP

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