Djokovic Outlines Proposal For ATP Player Relief Fund

Novak Djokovic

WASHINGTON, April 19, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, current president of the ATP Player Council, revealed in a letter sent to all ATP players a proposal for a Player Relief Fund that would generate more than $4 million (U.S. dollars), according to Tennis Channel‘s Jon Wertheim, who first reported the story Friday night.

“In the letter, Djokovic said that he, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer worked together on the plan, which proposed that players in the Top 100 in singles and the Top 20 in doubles contribute to the fund based on a sliding scale.”

Those inside the Top 5 would put in $30,000 each, followed by $20,000 for players ranked Nos. 6-10, and so forth.

A copy of the letter, obtained by Wertheim, “is lightly edited for clarity”:

Hey guys

Wanted to write to you regarding financial support to lower ranked players No. 250-700 singles. ATP has allocate over $1 million to this relief fund. They have planned to contribute to players ranked between No. 150-400 singles.

Rafa, Roger and I spoke yesterday and this is what we propose. We think it’s more important to support players from No. 250-700. First 250 players (most of them at least) have played qualifications for Grand Slams in 2019 and this year in Australian Open. This participation in qualifications of Slams would guarantee them decent amount of money. Outside of 250 is where the real financial struggle is, which is expected. 

We feel that we all need to get together and help these guys out. Many of them are thinking to leave pro tennis because they just can’t survive financially. Unfortunately there is a very large amount of players in the group between No. 250-700 that is not supported by federations or don’t have sponsors. ATP has around 700 members and we should try to take care of all of them. We need to send the message to the tennis community and sports world that we care for each other and especially the future of tennis. No. 250-700 especially is where this future is positioned. They are the grass roots of tennis and base of professional sport.

This is what we propose:

Top 100 players singles and Top 20 doubles contribute financially to Player Relief Fund in the following financial chart:


• 50-100 > $5,000 each

• 20-50 > $10,000 each

• 10-20 > $15,000 each

• 5-10 > $20,000 each

• 1-5 > $30,000 each

• Top 20 doubles > $5,000 each

# Total amount is $1,050,000 million

– That in addition to similar amount allocated by ATP and hopefully Grand Slams soon give $500,000 each, should be in total between $4-4.5 million.

• Goal is to give $10,000 to each player 250-700. That would be $4-4.5 million. 

– President of ATP says there is a good chance Grand Slams will contributing $500,000 each. Which is good news. Hopefully it happens in the very near future. 

Additionally, Roger, Rafa and I have proposed to ATP that 50% of prize money of World Tour Finals in London (if it happens in November/December) goes to Player Relief Fund. It will be another significant sum of money. Obviously we don’t know if that event will happen this season. If it doesn’t happen, we should all contribute significant amount of prize money from the Australian Open 2021. Not just three of us, but all the players that are part of the WTF in London or Australian Open 2021. That way it’s fair that everyone contributes. 

In terms of lower ranked doubles players, we should support them as well, but at the moment, we don’t have an idea how much money will be fair and to which amount of player (what ranking). So please do share your thoughts on that as well and propose some ideas? Thank you.

Guys, I know that everyone is struggling financially in these circumstances. Of course someone more, someone less. I feel like this is the way for us to show great unity, understanding and compassion for our fellow players who are trying to make a living or at least not lose money in tennis. Please try to recognize this as an example for the future generations. God bless you all. 

I am kindly asking EVERYONE to write their views on the group as this matter is VERY important now as you can imagine how many players are desperately in a need for financial help.

If we have all of you supporting this financial support (or at least 90%) we would proceed ASAP so that these players get our support. 

Thank you, Novak

Christopher Clarey, tennis correspondent for The New York Times, wrote on Twitter: “Player support apparently high for this plan, which would also get ATP funding. WTA doing something similar. But players want a ‘criteria rule’ so that they can be sure players who need it most are the ones getting the money in that 250 to 700 band. But still, the ball is rolling.”