Tennis Canada: Layoffs, Furloughs And Deep Cuts

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

With no WTA Coupe Rogers in Montreal in August – and the likelihood that the ATP Rogers Cup in Toronto may also be cancelled this year – it adds up to an expected $17 million financial loss for Tennis Canada, according to a Sportsnet story published Tuesday evening.

According to Sportsnet reporter Arash Madani, he quotes Tennis Canada CEO Michael Downey, who says the the long-term effects will be felt on the next generation of Canadian players. Sources told Sportsnet that Tennis Canada, the national governing body of tennis in Canada, has undergone a series of layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts across the board for employers.

Sources said nearly 50 people had their jobs terminated on Monday, while another three dozen were laid off with intent to bring them back in the fall,” Madani wrote. “The organization is now down to approximately 35 active staff members, who have accepted a reduction in salary.

“The Rogers Cup and Coupe Rogers generates approximately 90 percent of the revenue for Tennis Canada, and the absence of both tournaments on the calendar will be a devastating financial hit to the organization. … It is believed that it will take three years, at a minimum, to recover from the losses of not holding the 2020 events in Toronto and Montreal.

“‘We had no choice. When you have these kinds of staggering losses, you have to act like a business and you have to make change,’ Downey said. ‘We had to streamline our employee base. That’s unfortunately what we had to do.’”

“No facet of the business was immune to the cuts, from ticketing to coaching, not to mention marketing, fundraising, sales, media relations, facilities and operations.

“‘It’s so deep that every area of our place will be touched one way or another,’ Downey said.”

Now it can be told

Remember the rooftop tennis video that showed a couple of Italian youth hitting ground strokes back and forth? Call it roof, set, match. It’s gone viral with more than 9 million views via the ATP Tour Twitter account. Here’s what we learned:

According to The New York Times“After their tennis club in Finale Ligure, Italy, was shut down in early March, Vittoria Oliveri, 14, and Carola Pessina, 11, were challenged to come up with a way to stay in shape. Their teammates (and Roger Federer) posted videos of themselves hitting balls against walls or practicing in stairwells.

“Vittoria and Carola took it to the next level, creating a court between their rooftops. They had to avoid various objects, like boiler vents, as they played.

“‘It was their idea,’ their coach, Dionisio Poggi, told Agence France-Press. ‘They know each other well, they’re friends, and they live in neighboring buildings.’”

Among many responses, Hall of Famer Tracy Austin tweeted: This is next level #TennisAtHome! I don’t think this can be topped. Keep the ball deep 😬

What they’re saying

• In an interview with WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen, posted on the WTA website, World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty was asked how she’s handling the pandemic work stoppage in lieu of being used to schedules, rigidity and predictability of tennis. She said: “It’s challenging, it’s different. It’s obviously a situation never been in before just because there is so much of the unknown.

“But yeah, I think at the moment it’s not really a time where we can worry about it because it’s a decision that’s taken out of our hands. And I think as an international sport, as a global sport, there’s the potential that it could be even longer. Because in my eyes, I feel like it needs to be fair for everyone. I know in Australia where we’re moving in the right direction, we’re doing quite well. But obviously, tennis players are based all around the world. We need to make sure that their health is looked after and everyone’s prepared and ready to go for that day whenever it may be.”

• John Isner, U.S. men’s No. 1 who is ranked No. 21 in the world, appeared on Tennis Channel Live Tuesday afternoon, broadcast in the United States: “Of course, guys like Novak (Djokovic), Roger (Federer) and Rafa (Nadal), they’re doing just fine. But, we all realize that the tour is more than just a handful of players and that we have to help everyone out.”

“We intend to fill the fortnight.”Sue Barker, lead presenter for BBC Wimbledon coverage, said in a recent interview with the London Daily Mail. The BBC announced it is planning alternative programming during the cancelled Wimbledon fortnight. It will include a daily show from the All England Club hosted by Barker, plus guests, filmed on the grounds if regulations will allow it.

What they’re writing

Danielle Rossingh, SportsMoney contributor for Forbes, from Roger Federer: Men’s and Women’s Tour Should Merge“Roger Federer, the most successful male tennis player of all time, believes it is time for the men’s ATP and women’s WTA Tours to merge, for the good of the game.

“The 20-time Major singles winner from Switzerland said the current suspension of tennis worldwide due to the coronavirus pandemic offered the perfect opportunity for the sport to come together.

“‘Just wondering … am I the only one thinking that now is the time for men’s and women’s tennis to be united and come together as one?,’ Federer said on Twitter on Wednesday.”

Christopher Clarey, New York Times tennis correspondent, wrote on Twitter: “For someone like Federer to float this publicly gives it heft.”

What they’re posting on social media

Carla Suárez Navarro, Spain, ranked No. 68 / Offering social support in Spain 

Darren Cahill, Simona Halep coach-ESPN analyst / Turns 100 volley challenge into a family affair

ATP Tour / Whose Zoom call are you crashing?

Andreas Seppi, Italy, ranked No. 88 / Shuttering in the Colorado snow