$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.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Sebastian Ofner in Barcelona to extend his winning streak

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Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Sebastian Ofner 6-4 7-5 at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell to extend his winning streak to seven consecutive matches after claiming his third title at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters last week. 

Tsitsipas earned an immediate break in the first game. Ofner broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. Tsitsipas earned his second break  in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and served out the first set 6-4 with a hold at 15. 

Tsitsipas broke in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Ofner won three consecutive games with two breaks of serve to take a 5-3 lead. Tsitsipas came back by winning four consecutive games with two breaks of serve to seal the second set 7-5.

Tsitsipas has a record of 17 wins to 5 defeats in Barcelona. The Greek player reached three finals at this tournament in 2018, 2021 and 2023.  

“I feel pretty good, but it is still early in the tournament. The conditions here are very different to Monte-Carlo and I felt it today when I was playing. My job is to adapt and to ensure I can bring my A game again in Barcelona this week. Today was a great test to see where I stand. I am hoping to keep on improving and getting good wins like this under my belt”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitssipas set up a third round match against Roberto Carballes Baena, who beat Lorenzo Musetti 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in 2 hours and 15 minutes. 

Musetti saved three break points in the first game of the opening set. The Italian player earned two break points with a backhand down the line. Musetti saved two break points in the seventh game. Both players went on serve un the 12th game when Carballes Baena saved a set point. Carballes Baena went up a 5-1 lead with two mini-breaks in the tie-break. Musetti won three consecutive points to reduce to 4-5. Carballes Baena won the final two points to take the tie-break 7-4. 

Carballes Baena converted his fourth break point in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Musetti broke back in the fifth game. Carballes Baena saved a break point in the sixth game. The Spanish player sealed the win with a break on his second match. 

Last week’s Monte-Carlo finalist Casper Ruud beat Alexandre Muller 6-3 6-4 to claim his 25th tour-level win of the season. Ruud has drawn level with Jannik Sinner for the most wins in 2024 on the ATP Tour. 

Ruud set up a third round match against Jordan Thompson, who beat Jaume Munar 6-4 2-4 6-4. Roberto Bautista Agut beat Andrea Vavassori 4-6 6-4 6-1 to claim his milestone 400th match win on the ATP Tour. Bautista Agut set up a third round match against Cameron Norrie. 

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Roberto Bautista Agut wins his milestone 400th match on the ATP Tour

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Roberto Bautista Agut came back from one set down to beat Australian Open doubles finalist Andrea Vavassori 4-6 6-3 6-1 after 2 hours and 1 minute at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. 

Vavassori earned an early break in the first game. The Italian player earned three break points in the seventh game, but Bautista Agut saved them. The Spanish player broke straight back in the eighth game. Vavassori broke again in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead and saved two break points before closing out the first set 6-4 on his second set point. 

Both players went on serve in the first four games of the second set. Vavassori earned a break point in the fifth game, but he did not convert it. Bautista Agut broke serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead and did not face any break points to win the second set 6-3. 

Bautista Agut broke three times to cruise through to a 6-1. 

Bautista Agut reached the 400th milestone win on the ATP Tour.  The Spanish player has become the 13th active player with at least 400 ATP Tour wins. He achieved 20 wins against members of the top 10, ten wins against top 5 players and four against world number 1s. Bautista Agut is one of the nine players, who have beaten Novak Djokovic as World number 1 more than twice. 

“For me it’s just a number. The important thing is that I have done great work over these years, that I have a very consistent career, a career that I can feel proud of “, said Bautista Agut. 

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Martina Trevisan beats Naomi Osaka to reach the second round in Rouen

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Martina Trevisan upset former world number 1 Naomi Osaka 6-4 6-2 in the opening round of the Open Capfinances Rouen Metropole. 

Osaka has played her first clay-court match since Roland Garros 2022, where she lost to Amanda Anisimova. The Japanese player has not won a match on clay since beating Anastasia Potapova in the first round of the Madrid Mutua Open in 2022. She helped Japan beat Kazakhstan in the Billie Jean King Cup. 

Trevisan reached the quarter final in 2020 and the semifinal in 2022 at Roland Garros. The former world number 18 won her only title in Rabat in 2022. She reached the quarter finals of the Zaragoza ITF 100 tournament. 

Both players traded breaks in the first two games. Osaka earned two break points at 3-2 and three more chances at 4-3, but she was not able to convert them. Trevisan broke serve in the ninth game following a series of forehand errors. 

Trevisan broke twice in the third and seventh games and served out the win on her first match point. 

Sixteen-year-old Mirra Andreeva beat Elina Avanesyan 7-5 6-4 in 1 hour and 41 minutes to reach her second quarter final of 2024. 

Andreeva went up a break in the seventh game, but Avanesyan pulled back on serve to draw level to 4-4. Andreeva broke for the second time in the 11th game to win the second set 7-5. Andreeva broke in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead. Avanesyan converted her third break-back point in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Andreeva broke serve at love in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Avanesyan broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Andreeva broke for the third time in the ninth game and served out the win on her second match point after saving two break points. 

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