$6 Million Player Relief Fund To Launch Within Days - UBITENNIS
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$6 Million Player Relief Fund To Launch Within Days

It has been confirmed that players will have to meet certain eligibility standards in order to qualify for the financing.

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A fund set up to support up to 800 players currently affected by the Tour suspension could be announced as early as this week according to information obtained by a leading news agency.

 

The Player Relief Fund is a joint-initiative set up by the seven governing bodies of the sport – ATP, WTA, ITF and each of the four Grand Slam tournaments. The money will be administered by the ATP and WTA. According to the Associated Press, the fund is “aimed at lessening the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic for about 800 singles and doubles players.” This would be more applicable to those ranked outside of the top 100.

It is understood that an eligibility criteria has been set up where players have to meet certain requirements in order to qualify for financing. Although it is currently unknown as to what those requirements will be. The total pool of money is set to be in the region of $6 million, which works out as $7500 per player if it is evenly shared out between 800 people. The money will be divided equally between men and women.

The emergence of the Player Relief Fund began two weeks ago when a statement was released outlining the governing bodies of tennis plans to lend out financial aid. Although it is still unclear as to when it will be made accessible to players.

“With so much uncertainty around when it will be safe to restart the professional tennis tours, the international governing bodies of world tennis can confirm they are in discussions to create a Player Relief Program to provide much needed assistance to the players who are particularly affected during this time of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis,” the joint-statement read.

There is also hope that additional money will be raised via other revenues, including donations from the higher ranked players. An idea set out by Novak Djokovic in a letter he issued to fellow players. In it, the Serbian urged those in the top 100 in singles and top 20 in doubles to make donations between $5000 and $30,000 depending on their world ranking. However, the proposal has been criticised by Dominic Thiem. The world No.3 has said he wants to choose who he donated to because he believes some of the lower level players are ‘unprofessional’ and don’t commit fully to the sport.

Whilst the fund will be a welcome bonus for many on the Tour, some have criticised the governing bodies of dragging their feet on the issue. All professional tournaments have been suspended since March. Resulting in more than 30 being either suspended or cancelled. Nick Kyrgios had previously urged officials to ‘hurry up’ with their financial pledge. Meanwhile Argentina’s Marco Trungelliti has voiced his frustration with the situation.

“The tennis bodies are painful and the only way they handle the situation is to say that it is poor. The whole system is quite loose and they don’t take into account the trainers, the physical trainers,” he told the EFE News Agency.
“At the moment, there is a lot of anger between players and coaches. More than anything, people are angry at the lack of support. In tennis there is no information and you do not belong to anything. Neither financial or mental aid.” The world No.231 added.

It is currently unclear as to when the sport will resume their seasons due to the ongoing pandemic. The earliest return date is July 13th.

Grand Slam

Australian Open Chief Confident Event Will Take Place In January Amid COVID-19 Jump In Region

Craig Tiley has addressed concerns about the Grand Slam following a new outbreak in Victoria.

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The tournament director of the Australian Open has insisted that plans for next year’s tournament are on track despite a spike in COVID-19 cases around Melbourne.

 

Craig Tiley has stated that the Grand Slam will only take place in the city and there are no backup plans to potentially relocate the event in a worst case scenario. The Australian Open is held annually at Melbourne Park and this year attracted a record attendance of 812,174 people. Although there are concerns about the threat posed by COVID-19 with the Victoria State Government reporting another 66 cases of the virus on Friday. Making it the 17th day the daily infection rate has been in double digits. It is possible that the number could be higher with health minister Jenny Mikakos confirming around 10,000 people have refused to be tested with some claiming the virus to be a ‘conspiracy theory.’

According to ABC News Tiley and his team are planning for six scenarios concerning the Australian Open taking place, including the possibility of holding it behind closed doors. Although he is optimistic that the event and others also set to take place next January will go ahead as planned.

“Nothing has changed for us in terms of our planning,” Tiley told AAP.
“The environment around us has changed, and will continue to change, as we’ve seen with the current spike in Victoria.
“We’re optimistic the additional measures currently in place will be successful — and restrictions will continue to be eased over the coming months.”

The Tournament director has also confirmed that there will be little flexibility concerning the staging of next year’s event. Saying it will only take place in Melbourne and during January if it goes ahead. Although he is keeping a close eye on the two Grand Slams that are set to take place later this season.

“The US Open and the French Open are exploring mandatory testing, varying levels of quarantine and limiting entourages,” he said.
“Of course we are looking at all these options, and more, as part of our scenario planning.
“It’s difficult to predict exactly what will need to be in place as guidelines and protocols are changing week by week, and sometimes even day by day.”

This year’s US Open is set to get underway on August 31st, but will be held behind closed doors for the first time. Meanwhile the French Open, which starts only weeks after the New York major, plans to allow up to 20,000 fans to attend daily. Working out to be roughly 60% of its maximum capacity.

The last time the Australian Open didn’t take place was in 1986 due to a change in its hosting date from December to January. Founded in 1905, it is the youngest out of the four grand slam tournaments.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas recalls his first training session with Roger Federer

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Stefanos Tsitsipas became the youngest ATP Finals champion since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001 and the fifth youngest player in the 50-year history of the year-end tournament. Tsitsipas fended off 11 of the 12 break points against Roger Federer in the ATP Finals semifinals and 12 of the 12 break points he faced against the Swiss Maestro in the fourth round of the Australian Open before losing to Rafael Nadal in the semifinals. During 2019 Federer beat Tsitsipas in two finals in Dubai and Basel. Tsitsipas recalled his first training session with Federer.

 

“First time it was like unbelievable. I thought I was dreaming, honestly. As more you play with him, the more normal it seems but at the same time it can’t seem normal because it’s Roger Federer, it’s not any other player”, said Tsitsipas.

When Indian Wells was cancelled due to the pandemic, Tsitispas was never going to wait for the Tour to resume. As there was uncertainty about the Miami Open, he could not return to Greece. He made a short road trip to visit a group called “Yes Fam”, whose goal is to spread a philosophy of positivity. Tsitsipas talked about what he learnt from Federer.

“Expressing myself more. I spent a lot of time with him during the Laver Cup in September and I learned a lot of things from him. Even the way you carry yourself, the way you speak, the way you think you can pass this to someone else. I felt really inspired”, recalled Tsitsipas.

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ATP

‘Coronabros Stay In Your Basement’ – John Isner Plays Down Concerns Over COVID-19 Threat

The world No.21 believes players have to ‘learn and adapt’ to the virus.

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America’s top tennis player have said the world ‘can’t come to a complete standstill’ due to the Coronavirus pandemic as he hit back at criticism concerning an upcoming exhibition tournament he is participating in.

 

John Isner weighed in on the debate following a comment from freelance writer Ben Rothenberg whom on Twitter voiced concerns that Atlanta and West Virginia is staging tennis events with crowds despite a rise in cases. The world No.21 is set to play in the DraftKings All-American Team Cup in Atlanta, which will feature the eight top male players in the country. Officials plan to allow 450 people to attend the event on each day, which is estimated to be around 30% of the stadium’s maximum capacity.

“Ben, your concerns are valid, but, as someone who covers our sport for a living it would be nice if you would be supportive of WTT and Atlanta with their efforts to put on safe events instead of posting spooky headlines like this one that are factually incorrect,” Isner said making reference to an article Rothenberg posted.

Other Twitter users have also questioned the decision to allow fans to attend the event. Georgia, which is the state Atlanta is in, officially reported 2946 daily cases of the virus on July 1st. The highest amount within 24 hours since the pandemic began. Furthermore, Reuters News Agency reports that there was a record rise of more than 47,000 cases on Tuesday in America.

Nevertheless, Isner has dismissed calls for the event to be held behind closed doors or even cancelled. Branding his online critics as ‘coronabros’ before saying he wants to go on and live his life.

“You coronabros can stay in your basement all you want. I choose to live my life and play/promote the sport I love in a safe manner,” he said.

Unsurprisingly Isner has now been accused of downplaying the severity of the virus, which has killed more than 500,000 people worldwide. Including 130,000 in his home country alone. Challenged by one Twitter user who said she lost a family member due to the virus, Isner replied:-

“I’m incredibly sorry to hear that. I, in no way, was downplaying the effect of the virus, but I understand that perception can be reality.”

It is not fully understood by what he means with the phrase ‘perception is a reality’. Although he did like one tweet which said ‘the virus is much less lethal than the first models predicted. It’s now close to the flu.’ Although some medical experts have a differnt view on the perspective. White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has recently said the virus is “very different” from other outbreaks such as Ebola and HIV.

“We may not have a vaccine for a while and the world can’t come to a complete standstill. The reality is, we are going to have to learn and adapt to this virus in the safest manner possible,” he says.

The DraftKings All-American Team Cup in Atlanta will take place this weekend.

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