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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The ATP reveals the nominees for the 2021 Awards

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The ATP has revealed the nominees for the 2021 Awards for all players categories: Comeback Player of the Year, Most Improved Player of the Year, Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship of the Year and for the Coach of the Year. 

 

Casper Ruud and his father Christian (a former world number 39 player) have picked up a total of three nominees. Ruud won five ATP Tour titles in Geneva, Baastad, Gstaad, Kitzbuhel and San Diego and is a candidate for the Most Improved Player of the Year and the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award. Christian is one of five nominees for the Coach of the Year Award together with Craig Broyntom (Hubert Hurkacz), Gilles Cervara (Danil Medvedev), Juan Carlos Ferrero (Carlos Alcaraz) and Facundo Lugones (Cameron Norrie). 

Carlos Alcaraz, Aslan Karatsev and Cameron Norrie are the nominees for the Most Improved Player Award. 

Felix Auger Aliassime, 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal and Frances Tiafoe and Ruud are the candidates for the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award. Nadal won the Sportsmanship Award. 

Thanasi Kokkinakis, Mackenzie McDonald, Andy Murray and Jack Sock have been shortlisted for the Comeback player of the Year Award. 

The shortlist for the Newcomer of the Year Award includes Sebastian Baez, Jenson Brooksby, Juan Manuel Cerundolo, Hugo Gaston and Brandon Nakashima. 

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Serbia tops Kazakhstan to set up Davis Cup semifinal against Croatia

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Serbia set up a semifinal against Croatia in the Davis Cup by Rakuten as world number 1 Novak Djokovic led his team to a comeback win over Kazakhstan. 

 

Mikhail Kukushkin gave Kazakhstan a 1-0 lead with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 7-6 (13-11) win over Miomir Kecmanovic in the first singles match.  

Djokovic sent the Davis Cup quarter final match into a deciding doubles match after cruising past Alexander Bublik 6-3 6-4. The Serbian star scored his 17th consecutive singles win in a Davis Cup match. 

The Wimbledon champion returned to the court to team up with Nikola Cacic in their 6-2 2-6 6-3 win over Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov. 

Kukushkin beats Kecmanovic 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 7-6 (13-11)

World number 182 Michail Kukushkin saved four match points to beat Miomir Kecmanovic 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 7-6 (13-11) in 3 hours and 16 minutes after an entertaining quarter final match at the Davis Cup by Rakuten in Madrid to give Kazakhstan a 1-0 lead over Serbia. Kukushkin fought back from 2-5 down in the deciding set and saved four match points before converting his fifth match point to win the tie-break of the third set 13-11. 

Kecmanovic earned an early break in the first game to take a 2-0 lead. Kukushkin pulled back on serve immediately to draw level to 2-2. Both players went on serve in their next service games en route to the tie-break. Kukushkin earned a mini-break to take a 2-1 lead. Kecmanovic pulled back on serve for 4-5, but Kukushkin earned his second mini-break to claim the tie-break 7-5. 

Kukushkin took an early 3-1 lead with a break in the fourth game of the second set. Kecmanovic pulled back on serve in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. The Serbian player converted his fifth set point on Kukushkin’s serve in the tenth game to seal the second set 6-4. 

Kecmanovic opened up a 3-0 lead with a break in the second game of the third set. Kukushkin saved five five break points in the fourth game to avoid falling down 0-4. When Kecmanovic was serving for the match at 5-3, he dropped serve after wasting two match points. 

Kecmanovic was the first to earn match point in the tie-break but he hit a forehand long at 6-5. The Serbian player fended off four match points but Kukushkin converted his fifth match point to seal the breaker 13-11. 

Djokovic beats Bublik 6-3 6-4

Djokovic earned two break points with a forehand at 2-1. Bublik saved the first chance with an ace. Djokovic converted his second break point after Bublik made a drop shot error. Djokovic held his next service games to close out the first set 6-3. 

Djokovic went up a 2-1 lead with a break in the third game of the second set. The 20-time Grand Slam champion won close to 90% of his first service points to open up a 4-2 lead. He held his service game to love to take a 5-3 lead. Bublik held his serve fo 4-5 in the ninth game, but Djokovic served out the win on his second match point. 

“The Davis Cup is a team competition. It’s completely diffferent than any other competition”, said Djokovic. 

Serbia beats Kazakhstan 6-2 2-6 6-3

Djokovic and Cacic broke twice in the fifth and seventh games to win the opening set 6-2. 

Golubev and Nedovyesov converted their fourth break point in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. The Kazakh team sealed the second set 6-2 with a double break in the eighth game. 

Djokovic and Cacic earned two breaks in the fifth and ninth games to win the third set 6-3. 

“I am proud of the fighting spirit. We dropped off in the second set, but we bounced back and held our nerves. I am proud of Nikola and of my team”, said Djokovic. 

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Rafael Nadal To Skip ATP Cup Ahead Of Australian Open

Where will the former world No.1 play his first tournament of 2022?

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WASHINGTON, USA - August 4: Rafael Nadal of Spain at the Citi Open Tennis Tournament at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center on August 4, 2021 in Washington, USA (Photo by Peter Staples)

20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal will not be starting his season at the ATP Cup in Australia, according to a leading sports newspaper.

 

Marca has reported that the former world No.1 has opted to not play in the team event which is set to get underway on January 1st. Nadal is currently on the comeback from a foot injury and hasn’t played a competitive match on the Tour since August. Next month he will return to action in Abu Dhabi at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship which is an exhibition event.

“I am very happy to be back at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi,” Nadal said in a video released earlier this week. “I hope to see you soon there.”

It is understood that due to his off-season schedule Nadal has chosen to pass on the team event but it is unclear as to what or if he will play in any other events leading up to the Australian Open which will begin on January 17th. Besides the ATP Cup, four ATP 250 events will be staged in the lead up to the Grand Slam.

The 35-year-old isn’t the only top Spanish name set to miss the ATP Cup. It has also been reported that rising star Carlos Alcaraz and Marcel Granollerswill not be playing as they intend to arrive in Australia at a later date. Instead the team will be headed by Roberto Bautista Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta. Unlike the Davis Cup, the ATP Cup offers both ranking points and prize money to players.

Nadal has won 24 out of 29 matches played on the Tour this year before ending his season due to injury. He won the Italian Masters and Barcelona Open to increase his career ATP title tally to 88. In the majors he reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and the semi-finals of the French Open.

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