The coronavirus pandemic has hit the planet earth like an asteroid and has led to the loss of lives and weakening of the economies. The crisis has also emerged in the tennis world, wherein lowered-ranked players are struggling to make ends meet. Italian player Matteo Berrettini suggested the means by which the players can seek help.
The ATP Player Council led by Novak Djokovic raised $6 million along with their collaboration with tennis bodies. However, Berrettini feels it is not the responsibility of top-tier tennis players to take care of their colleagues.
The top-100 tennis players have contributed a significant amount to the fund that will be distributed equally amongst the struggling players during these weird times.
“I took a moment to reflect on my priorities, not because I don’t respect the other players because I believe that no player – in any kind of sports – should be put in the position of helping another player financially,” Berrettini told Eurosport Italy’s Callazione show.
He firmly believes the governing bodies of the sport must intervene and take responsibility for the temporarily unemployed tennis professionals. It can simply be termed as a gesture of giving something back to the sport.
Governing bodies must step in
The tennis bodies should support the lowered-ranked players, as they are the bedrock of tennis, and they are the ones who’ll keep the sport going. If they give up and lose motivation to practice, tennis will be under some real threat.
“I think that this responsibility belongs to the federations, ITF, ATP, WTA. They are the ones who make tournaments happen, and we, the players, pay them back with our performances. They have to take care of us. The real problem is deeper.”
The 24-year-old Berrettini feels more than tennis players, hospitals, and victims of the virus need the money more. As the vulnerable groups of society are really in need of some kind of financial help.
“We need to invest money in a different way in order to help lower-ranked players. Personally, I prefer to help other more specific causes,” he added.
Novak Djokovic’s conversation with Matteo Berrettini
He spoke about his conversation with Djokovic, who told him the donation was completely on a voluntary basis.
“I spoke with Djokovic and he told me ‘don’t worry Matteo, the donation is not mandatory. It’s something that you can agree on if you feel like it. If you prefer to buy masks for hospitals like Spallanzani or helping families in need, I respect you’. That’s an important message, it should be spread outside of our players’ circle,” he said.