Financial Disparities Exist In Tennis

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

During a recent Tennis Channel Live round-table conversation via Skypebroadcast in the U.S., Hall of Famers Jim Courier and Andy Roddick weighed in on the timely subject of what needs to happen in order to protect the long-term health of tennis. After all, the global coronavirus pandemic has scrubbed tennis off the sports calendar until at least July 13 – and already, Wimbledon has cancelled until 2021.

“First of all, you start with the kind of resources these players have,” said Courier, a former World No. 1 who won four Grand Slams and 23 ATP titles overall during his pro career from 1988 to 2000. “Which level of prize money income do players not have enough to pay their rent? To pay their electronic bill? I think we have to start looking around (number) 200 (on the) prize money list from 2019.”

2019 ATP Prize Money: 1. Rafael Nadal, $16,350,000; 50. Adrian Mannarino, $114,000; 100. Thomas Fabiano, $628,000; 150. Egor Gerasimov, $345,000; 200. Marc Polmans, $181,000; 250. Ken Skupski, $124,000. – Source: Tennis Channel

According to the 2003 US Open champion Roddick, who earned more than $20.6 million during his 12-year pro career, “Its less of a main ATP Tour issue. The people that are on tour and have been for an extended period of time are probably OK. It is the up and coming guys that are paycheck to paycheck, looking to make it to the next week. 

“If only there was a Slam somewhere out there that needed weeks that have been guaranteed to the ATP Tour later in the year. Maybe there would be a financial trade-off.”

Courier stressed in a matter-of-fact tone that it’s important for the governing bodies of tennis to come together and look at the big picture of the sport instead of just the individual gain in order to make sure tennis does not suffer any long-term after-effects.

“I think that all of the tournaments that do get to be played at this end of this year, they need to be supplementing the other tournaments,” said Courier, whose career earnings eclipsed $14 million. “This is not a year for people to make profits. This is a year for tennis to help each other and survive. 

“If (tennis) is a macro version of the micro problem we are facing in the world right now, how do we keep people moving, keep people with food and shelter? In tennis, we are very blessed. We’re a luxury item, but there are people such as the coaches, the physios, all these are relying on tennis – so many pieces of this puzzle.

“Prize money has been moving at the tours’ lead, they’ve been moving more to the earlier rounds and the qualifying. They have a five-year plan on the ATP to do that. This crisis is an opportunity to fast track that and help the lower-ranked players.”

Former USTA president tested positive for coronavirus

Katrina Adams, USTA immediate past president, revealed via social media that she tested positive for coronavirus last month. The story was first reported on Sunday by Nina Pantic of Tennis.com. “I had minor symptoms, body aches and an undetected fever that broke during the night. I tested positive and didn’t really suffer,” Adams wrote on her Instagram account. Now, Adams, 51, is doing her part to donate her plasma to save others.

“I was lucky. I was infected early in March, before the (New York) numbers skyrocketed and panic arose.

“I was infected for a reason and this photo reminds me that good will come from my misfortune. In reality, it was a blessing that I can now make a difference for someone else.”

View this post on Instagram

As I reflect on the meaning of #Easter and the resurrection of Christ, I think about what has transpired in the world of #COVID19. MAny of my friends/acquaintances have lost loved ones…I was lucky. I was infected early in March, before the NY numbers skyrocketed and panic arose. I had minor symptoms, body aches and an undetected fever that broke during the night. I tested positive and didn’t really suffer. The brighter side is that I then became a candidate to donate my plasma to save the lives of others, as my antibodies are extremely high. I was infected for a reason and this photo reminds me that good will come from my misfortune. In reality, it was a Blessing that I can now make a difference for someone else🙏🏽 #StayHome #WashYourHands #StayHealthy #KeepYourDistance #HappyEaster 🐰

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And this years trophy goes to … the fans 🏆

A year ago, Madison Keys lifted the trophy at the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, S.C. This year, the tournament was cancelled due to the global coronavirus pandemic. On Sunday, the WTA Premier tournament saluted the fans: “You are the champion,” it said, conveying its message via social media. “This year, the Volvo Car Open trophy goes to you – the fans. Life served an unexpected curve ball, but you hit it right back. It takes grit, but you are choosing to stay home and stay safe. Your commitment to protecting your health, your loved ones and your community is what makes you the ultimate champions of 2020. …”

What they’re saying

Anne Worcester, former chief executive of the WTA, told Forbes.com SportsMoney columnist Danielle Rossingh that the only way for tennis to navigate successfully through the global coronavirus cris is to come together and unite as one.

“Ive always believed that the right thing for tennis is for there to be one entity, and one commissioner, with plenty of independence in all the right ways,” said Worcester, who is now president of Universal Tennis, which owns the Universal Tennis Rating (UTR).

“I do think that the silver lining of this crisis will be increased collaboration. To what extend I don’t know. I always say: ‘Crisis reduces smugness’ and really increases the sense of collaboration. If tennis is going to come out of this complete we’ve really got to get it right this time around.”

What they’re tweeting

Victoria Azarenka, Belarus, ranked No. 58

Taro Daniel, Japan, ranked No. 112

Kristina Mladenovic, France, ranked No. 42

Jannik Sinner, Italy, ranked No. 73