As sports fixtures worldwide are suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the financial plight of tennis players has not been brought to the forefront.
Unlike most sports where athletes earn an annual salary and therefore are able to survive the current sports suspension, tennis players literally survive from game to game off their winnings while employing and paying coaching staff from those winnings.
With no financial assistance to speak of, the lower-ranked tennis players have been to fend on heir own.
This has led many to call out and criticize tennis governing bodies to come together and start to take care of their players.
One of those calling out the tennis associations is Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou who call the current handling of this situation by the tennis federations as “dysfunctional” going on to add that:
“Unlike basketball or football players, tennis players aren’t covered by fixed annual salaries. They’re independent contractors,”
“They’re paying for their travels. They’re paying fixed salaries to their coaching staffs, while their own salaries depend on the number of matches they win.”
“However, I find it revolting that the 100th-best player of one of the most popular sports in the world – followed by an estimated one billion fans – is barely able to make a living out of it,”
“We all rely on those governing bodies, who have the power to protect the professional tennis economy and hold social responsibility,”
“We can’t leave lower-ranked players behind anymore. This isn’t right. Tennis needs change. Let’s use this free time to start a discussion.”
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The 2018 International Review Panel report into how susceptible players were to corruption stated that only 250 -350 tennis players in the world were able to actually break even and make a sustainable living from tennis.
It is reports such as these that have prompted many to approach the International Tennis Federation calling on them to offer financial assistance to lower-level professionals.
The WTA and ATP will be looking to extend the 2020 season to allow more competitions to be played as a way of increasing player earnings to cover for the loss of income caused by the sports shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.