Depending on which promo you’re watching, you’d think athletes slog it out for pride, the chance to make history, and the sheer rush of being #1 in the world at something society has deemed worthwhile. You know, noble shit.

That’s all true, but we shouldn’t forget prize money as a key factor. What we’re saying here is that if we could make bank by smashing a small yellow ball past an opponent, we absolutely would.

This brings us to tennis world #1, Australia’s own Ash Barty, who just defeated Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-3, to win the WTA Finals in Shenzen, China.

We’re not insinuating that Barty is motivated entirely by cash, but we will say the $US4.4 million (AU$6.4 million) she just pocketed with the win – the biggest prize payout in world tennis history, no less – is likely more useful than jumbo silverware.

Speaking to AAP after defeating defending champ Svitolina, Barty said she was going to spoil her young niece and nephew with her newfound riches.

“Thankfully they can’t read but for Christmas they’re getting a new swing set, which they’re pretty excited about now that they’ve got the trampoline and swing set out the back,” Barty said.

Confirming her reputation as Australia’s lowest-key champion, Barty added “I’m pretty happy in my little house at home.

“I’ve got everything that I need. I’m pretty boring. I don’t really spend a lot on myself.”

The win brings Barty’s 2019 earnings up to a reported AU$16.3 million, eclipsing men’s #1 Novak Djokovic, who is yet to play his final event of the season.

To recap: Barty is one of the most deserving champions Australia has produced in a long time, and I really, really wish I could play tennis at an elite level.