Top tennis players and the governing bodies of the sport are uniting their efforts to financially support the lower-level professionals. Consequently, Australia’s No.3 John Millman lashed out on the tennis associations for not offering a better share of the “heavy prize money” among the lower-ranked players.
Tennis is an individual sport and hence the lower-ranked players struggle to sustain their careers due to high expenses for coaching, travel, and accommodation. These athletes depend solely on weekly earnings through tournament winnings for their income.
Consequently, these players are fearing they will not be able to make their ends meet if the tennis shutdown lasts long due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The predicament of these players prompted the ATP Player Council and the other stakeholders of the game to devise a plan for the relief fund of these players. Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer signed off on the proposal that will generate more than $9 million for the relief funds.
These funds will help professional players outside the top 250. According to reports, the players ranked between 250-700 will receive $10,000 each through the relief fund. However, Millman questioned why it took a pandemic for the tennis fraternity to realize the financial struggle of the lower-ranked players.
“If the concern is to help players ranked 250-700 in the world why has it taken a global pandemic to realize this? Surely over the many years of top-end heavy prizemoney increases, we maybe should have maybe distributed the spread a little more?” Millman wrote on Twitter.
The tennis season has been halted since early March and will not return for an indefinite period. Hence, the player relief fund will certainly aid the athletes in the lower tiers. However, the tennis authorities should ensure a bigger share of the prize money for them in the future.