Coach Of Serena Williams Warns Players Are Leaving Tennis Due To 'Revolting' Pay Gap - UBITENNIS
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Coach Of Serena Williams Warns Players Are Leaving Tennis Due To ‘Revolting’ Pay Gap

Prestigious tennis mentor Patrick Mouratoglou has said the current COVID-19 pandemic have left some players in a dire financial situation.

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The coach of Serena Williams has said it is ‘revolting’ that players ranked outside the world’s top 100 have been left financially struggling due to the current suspension of the ATP, WTA and ITF Tours.

 

Patrick Mouratoglou has issued a statement in which he has called on the governing bodies of the sport to work together in order to find a solution to the current problem. All professional tennis tournaments have been suspended until at least July 13th due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike team sports, tennis players will receive no income during the suspension unless they receive money from sponsorship deals. Prompting some to explore other earning opportunities away from the sport.

The financial situation many on the tour are facing has been raised by Georgian player Sofia Shapatava. The world No.317 recently launched a change.org petition calling for support throughout the lockdown that has been signed by more than 1700 people.

“Players ranked outside the top 100 are barely breaking even and most of them are forced to fund their careers to keep playing professionally. Their lives are a financial struggle,’ Mouratoglou wrote in an open letter published on Twitter.
“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 staff, while their own salaries depend on the number of matches they win.
“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.”

Despite rises in prize money in recent years, there are still considerable difference in earnings between the top earners and those ranked much lower than them. So far this year four players on the WTA Tour have managed to earn more than $1 million in prize money. They are Sofia Kenin, Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep and Ash Barty. Overall, a total of 90 female players has won more than $100,000. However, the further down you go the most dire the situation is. The 150th highest earner of the season made $47,411 and the 300th earned $8420.

2020 WTA EARNERS
1 – Sofia Kenin USA $3,012,043
50 – Marketa Vondrousova CZE – $139,164
100 – Harriet Dart GBR – $92,505
150 – Oceane Dodin FRA – $47,411
200 Kurumi Nara JPA – $28,469
250 – Oksana Kalashnikova GEO – $18,216
300 – Talaba Gabriela ROM – $8,240
Note: players are ranked based on 2020 earnings only

Mouratoglou has warned that some players are now being forced to walk away from the sport due to a lack of funds. Saying the sport has ‘one of the most extreme levels of inequality’ when it comes to finance. This year world No.1 Novak Djokovic has won $4,486,616 in prize money already due to his 18-match winning start to the season where he won the ATP Cup, Australian Open and Dubai Tennis Championships. The equates to almost 18 times more than what the 50th highest earner of 2020 made (Ugo Humbert with $252,793).

“So, what happens when players are forced out of work for an undefined period of time? Well, they don’t get paid,” Mouratoglou wrote. “Some of them are giving up on their dreams and are calling it a career.
“It’s been the case for too long. Although we have done away with the long-established male supremacy in the financial field, tennis retains one of the most extreme levels of inequality in any sport.
“The thing is, tennis crucially needs them to survive. Tennis can’t live only off its elites. The tours would atrophy.
“Because the tour is on pause for the reasons we all know, these players do not get any income, and unlike most top-100 players, they do not have any money on the side or sponsorship deals to live on.
“It is time to think about those players and help them, first in the immediate future, then in the long-term.”

What is being done?

There is yet to be an announcement about what will be done to compensate players on the tour, but some national bodies have already launched their own aid packages. For example, last week the British LTA announced a £20 million package that includes providing grants to their players ranked outside the top 100 if they meet certain criteria.

The WTA, who is in charge of the women’s tour, are also currently in the process of evaluating what to do. Should tennis resume in 2020, potential ideas include expanding the calendar in order for players to play more tournaments and earn more. However, they admit their is a limit to what they can do.

“We wish there was a way everyone, especially those in need the most, could be compensated at the level they were expecting, but the needs are so great and the WTA unfortunately is not in a financial position to do that,” the WTA said in a statement issued to Reuters.
“Professional tennis players are independent contractors and not employees of the WTA. As a result, a player’s compensation is based on on-court competition and when tournaments are not held this puts a pause on their principal revenue flow.
“The WTA fully recognises the challenges these athletes are facing as well as those similar challenges being dealt with from millions of people around the world during this unprecedented situation.”

Meanwhile, ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi has reiterated that the governing bodies are working together to come up with a calendar for when the Tour resumes.

“We are currently assessing a number of revised calendars based on different return dates for the Tour, with the aim of rescheduling as many tournaments as possible,” Gaudenzi told The Associated Press.
“We are liaising closely with the other governing bodies with the common goal of trying to salvage as much of the season as possible once it is safe for the Tour to resume.”

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Ivan Ljubicic impressed by Roger Federer’s motivation to get back in his best shape

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Roger Federer is training hard to get ready for the start of the 2021 season at next February’s Australian Open in Melbourne. 

 

Federer entered only one tournament in 2020 at the Australian Open last January. The Swiss legend reached his 15th Australian Open semifinal and his 46th Grand Slam semifinal. He beat John Millman in the tie-break of the fifth set in the third round to score his 100th win at the Australian Open. In the quarter final Federer saved seven match points to beat Tennys Sandgren but he struggled with injury problems and lost to Novak Djokovic in the semifinal, his last official match of the year. 

After playing in the record-breaking charity match against Rafael Nadal in Cape Town in front of more than 50000 spectators, Federer was sidelined by a right knee injury and underwent surgery last February. 

The season was suspended from March to August due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Federer was not able to play again, when the season resumed, and underwent the second surgery. 

Federer decided to take a rest and focus on the 2021 season to reach his best shape for next February’s Australian Open. 

Federer’s coach Ivan Ljubicic is confident about Federer’s come-back. The former Croatian player travelled to Switzerland to visit Roger and was impressed by his motivation to return to his best shape. 

“Roger is working very hard and is motivated to fight for the big titles next season. We are getting new information about the Australian Open. The Australian Government wants the event to unfold under strict rules. Both Roger and I tried to do our best in the past eight months. I have been to Switzerland, and we have trained on the court. Roger is very motivated He is incredible. Many people wonder why he still plays, finding it hard to understand that he still enjoys the game and wants to chase notable wins. He wants to be competitive and get back to the level he had before the injury”, said Ivan Ljubicic. 

In January 2017 Federer made an impressive come-back after undergoing knee surgery in February 2016. The 20-time Grand Slam champion was sidelined for six months after losing to Milos Raonic in five sets in the Wimbledon semifinal in 2016. He returned to action in January 2017 with an epic five set win over Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final. Federer claimed seven titles, including his 19th Grand Slam triumph at Wimbledon.

Federer extended his Grand Slam record by winning his 20th Major title at the 2018 Australian Open against Marin Cilic in five sets. He clinched three more titles that season in Rotterdam, Stuttgart and Basel and became the oldest world number 1 in 45-year history of the ATP Ranking at the age of 36 in February 2018 after winning the quarter final in Rotterdam. He enjoyed another successful season in 2019 winning his 8th title in Dubai, his fourth title Miami, his 10th title in Halle and 10th title in Basel. He has claimed a total of 103 ATP titles, trailing only Jimmy Connors’ 109 titles. As a 38-year-old player he won the home tournament in Basel becoming the oldest tour-level champion since Ken Rosewall. 

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André Agassi is glad that he did not have to play against the Big 3

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André Agassi talked about the Big 3 rivarly between Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer during his interview during a session at the 18th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit. 

 

Agassi played against Pete Sampras during the golden era of US tennis. Sampras held a record for most Grand Slams in men’s tennis with 14 titles. This record has been surpassed by Federer, Nadal and Djokovic in the following era. 

Nadal recently won the 13th Roland Garros and 20th Grand Slam of his career, tying Federer’s record. Djokovic is currently third with his 17 Major titles after his eighth triumph at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Agassi won eight career Grand Slam titles (four at the Australian Open in 1995, 2000, 2001 and 2003, one at Roland Garros in 1999, one at Wimbledon in 1992 and two at the US Open in 1994 and 1999). 

Agassi admitted that he was glad that he did not have to compete against the Big 3. 

“I wake up every day very grateful that the peak of my career wasn’t during this generation. Because if that was the case, I would be on here talking about how I almost won this and almost that. We have three guys that are arguably the greatest of all time. They are all playing at the same time, which is remarkable. They have really done what the sport hasn’t seen and they will continue for a little bit longer”, said Agassi. 

Agassi played against Nadal and Federer in his finals on Tour. Nadal beat Agassi at the Canadian Open in 2005 and Wimbledon 2006 and won five out of his six sets againt the US player. Federer met Agassi 11 times and led their head-to-head series 8-3. Agassi beat Federer at the 2001 US Open and in the final of the 2002 Miami Open. Federer beat Agassi in their past eight clashes including the final of the Masters Cup in Houston in 2003 and the US Open final in 2005.  

Agassi was asked to make a choice between the greatest. The former US legend said there were points of each of them. “You can make an argument for Djokovic, too, who can play on any surface and be the favourite to win, which is a remarkable thing to say during this generation, but overall tennis is the winner. It is great for me to watch it and appreciate it and when it ends, we are all going to miss it”, said Djokovic. 

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Kei Nishikori Issues Fitness Update Ahead Of New Season

After a difficult season where he could only win two matches, the world No.41 is hoping to get back on track next year.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori says he is eager to start competing against the best in the world again after what has been a troublesome season.

 

The 30-year-old has only been able to play four tournaments this year due to a combination of injury, the pandemic and illness. Nishikori underwent surgery on his shoulder in October 2019 which subsequently resulted in him missing the start of this season. Then he was forced to pull out of his planned return at the US Open after testing positive for COVID-19. Eventually he returned to action in Kitzbuhel during September but had to close his season early a few weeks later after injuring his shoulder at the French Open.

“We had a few tournaments (due to the pandemic) and my season came to an end when I was beginning to get my feel back,” Kyodo news quoted Nishikori as saying on Friday. “I really can’t wait for next year.”

Overall, Nishikori won just two out of six matches played on the Tour in 2020. Scoring wins over Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas in Rome and Britain’s Dan Evans at Roland Garros. The highest ranked player he faced was No.22 Christian Garin, who he lost 6-0, 6-3, to in Hamburg.

Despite his setbacks, the Japanese player insists that he is now back on track and his shoulder is at ‘a decent level.

“(My shoulder) has recovered to a decent level. It’ll be definitely okay for next year,” Nishikori said. “I’ll prepare (for the Olympics) assuming that they will take place.”
“I couldn’t face top-10 ranked players this season. I want to compete at that level again as soon as I can.”

One of Nishikori’s goals for next year will be the Olympic Games which are taking place in Tokyo for the first time since 1964. The Games have to be postponed until next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nishikori is the only player from his country to have won an Olympic medal during the Open Era after winning bronze in 2016.

I think it’s hard for athletes and the public to think about the Olympics right now. I just want to prepare well,he said in reference to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nishikori has been ranked as high fourth in the world but is currently in 41st position. So far in his career he has won 12 ATP titles and earned more than $24 million in prize money.

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