World No.35, Guido Pella, criticized the player relief fund proposed by Novak Djokovic, as the former does not agree to contribute to the program without knowing the reality of the players.
The players at the lower echelons are struggling to make ends meet during the tennis shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Consequently, the President of the ATP Player Council Djokovic stepped up to help these players during the global crisis.
The Serbian came up with a plan where the top 100 players along with the ATP, WTA, ITF, and the four Grand Slam bodies will contribute to helping these players financially. Djokovic received widespread support from various stakeholders of the game.
However, World No.3 Dominic Thiem did not extend his support for the relief fund. Thiem explained that he would rather help the ones in need, outside of tennis, as none of the tennis players are starving. Now, Guido Pella has also raised his voice against the relief fund program.
“No tennis player is starving,” Pella said in an interview with Metro 95.1. “I prefer to allocate money to help people who are dying, tennis always looks at the one above, it is a sad truth. I prefer to assist people in my city who are dying and who do not have food, which is more urgent than sports.”
Pella also cited an example of Cristian Garín and Jack Sock. He explained that Cristian Garín recently went from position 60 to 18. However, he finds it arbitrary that a player who is at No. 18 has to pay X when perhaps their economic reality is that of a consolidated Top-20 player. On the other hand, there are players far outside the Top-200 like Jack Sock. He explicated that Sock would be receiving a subsidy when he has won more than 10 million.
“Those nuances should be considered. It is not the same as Federer, Nadal, or Djokovic they have to put U $ 30 thousand when they have prize money of more than 100 million,” he added.
“I love that there is support for the players to maintain the level, but I do not agree with the obligation to have to contribute without knowing the reality of each player. I’m more on Thiem’s side. I think it’s okay for ATP to step in, to try to make it fairer for everyone. Much debate is required,” Pella concluded.
Thiem and Pella might be right in their context. The ones taking care of the program should assure that the money goes to those in need.
Perhaps they might already be taking care of it. However, they should assure the contributors that the funds are going into the right hands. Moreover, forced charity is not really charity. Hence, it is the wish of the player if he wants to contribute to the fund, or not.