According to a 2015 professional circuit review by the ITF, it costs the average tennis player about $160,000 per year (including coaching costs) to compete.
By anyone’s estimation, that is a lot, so it should come as no great surprise that only around 160 men and 150 women earned enough in 2013 to break even from prize money alone.
Even though prize money has increased a bit since then, most professional players still do not have a lot of money in the bank to fall back on when times are hard. And a total suspension of the tennis tours due to a global pandemic is about as difficult as it gets.
However, the number of people infected with coronavirus is falling all the time, and the risk level associated with the disease is rapidly dwindling, so it is now time for professional sport to resume.
Naturally, precautions are needed. But sports such as football have shown exactly how to put these in place in order to hold events safely. Admittedly, tennis is one of the most complicated sports to organise responsibly due to its global nature.
Despite this, the ATP, WTA and ITF governing bodies have a responsibility to enable players to have the opportunities they need to earn enough money to pay all of their living costs.
That is why, whatever you have heard some of the top players say about it, the USTA is doing the right thing by continuing to plan for the US Open to take place on the dates it is scheduled for, from 31 August to 13 September.
Vickery Speaks Out
Sachia Vickery, the World No.158, summed up the situation in the most effective way when she responded to comments made by Novak Djokovic that it would be “impossible” to play at Flushing Meadows due to the restrictions imposed by the USTA.
“He should go and play a 60k (lower-level ITF tournament) in Troy, Alabama and then come back and let us know how hard the conditions are,” Vickery told Sky Sports.
“It’s a little selfish to say that in a way because there are so many players who cannot afford to have seven or eight people travel with them in their team. Most of us are used to travelling with just one or two people.”
The American later added on Twitter, “Make no mistake he (Djokovic) has earned everything he’s worked for in his career and he’s incredible , my point is not all players have the luxury of traveling with an entire entourage so if they have to make a few restrictions in order for everyone to make a living it’s understandable.”
Danielle Collins, the World No.51, expressed a similar view in an Instagram story post. “No one has been able to play sanctioned events or make money since February,” she said. “This is a massive opportunity for players to start making money again, and here we have the top player in the world saying only being able to bring one person with [him] will be too difficult.”
Top Players Do Not Have Money Concerns
Collins’ last point about Djokovic being the top player in the world is an important one because it is obvious that the Serbian does not have to worry about money. He can decide whether or not to compete based entirely on whether he feels comfortable doing so.
Furthermore, the decisions made by Djokovic and other players about whether to compete when tennis resumes should not be criticised. They should be free to make whatever choice they want. However, top players should not go around telling the media about all the reasons why tournaments should not take place because their negative views on the matter do not help anyone.
They can think they want about the situation, but they should keep it to themselves and let the rest of the tour get on with the business of earning enough money to live by.
As Boris Becker put it when he spoke to Eurosport Germany’s Vocal Podcast, “I am concerned about the profession of a tennis player. Not about the first hundred players of the world, who hopefully have enough money in their accounts and don’t need next week’s prize money. But a thousand players, who also call themselves tennis pros, they have nothing to work for at the moment. If this break lasts any longer, they will have to look for another job. They have to feed themselves and pay the rent.”
Roger Federer Targets Djokovic And Alcaraz For Laver Cup 2024 After Team World Thrashes Europe
Roger Federer says he would love to see the two highest-ranked players on the men’s Tour play in the next Laver Cup after this year’s tie ended in a crushing defeat for Europe.
Team World, which is captained by John McEnroe, dominated the clash in Vancouver after surging to a 10-2 lead heading into the final day of competition. On Sunday they were required to win only one match to claim the overall title which they did in the opening doubles match. Ben Shelton and Frances Tiafoe ousted the European duo of Andrey Rublev and Hubert hurkacz 7-6(4), 7-6(5).
“I am proud of these guys. We brought together a great group of some youth and experience, guys that have been here before. Everybody played well,” McEnroe said of his team’s 13-2 victory.
“It was an awesome week. We kicked some ass.”
“Winning is a whole lot better than losing. We struggled the first couple of years, and now we have tasted winning and it feels good.”
In contrast, Europe didn’t have much joy at the event with their only victory being from Casper Ruud who defeated Tommy Paul on the second day of the tie. Since the start of the competition in 2017, Europe won four consecutive titles but 2023 is the second year in a row that they have been defeated.
Hoping that this losing streak will come to an end next year when the event is held in Berlin, Federer says he wishes Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz will play. Djokovic has played in the Laver Cup twice before but Alcaraz is yet to make his debut.
“They destroyed Team Europe. Team World played fantastic, they really brought the energy. Everybody brought a point, they were stronger in the doubles. In the singles too, they were moving fast, they were ready to go. They thoroughly deserved victory,” said Federer.
“I would like to see Novak again, Alcaraz and Novak on the same team. Sascha Zverev would be great for the German market. Someone like [Holger] Rune, that really hurt Team Europe. Rune and [Stefanos] Tsitsipas pulling out. [Daniil] Medvedev would be great. I like watching [Andrey] Rublev, and maybe someone will come through,” he added.
Federer is a co-founder of the Laver Cup with his management company Team 8 partnering up with Tennis Australia and Jorge Paulo Lemann to create the event. In 2019 the team competition was awarded ATP Tour status with a spot on the official calendar and access to marketing facilities under an agreement. However, ranking points are not awarded to players.
Due to the nature of the format, only one match was played on Sunday with fans not getting the chance of watching any singles. Something two-time French Open champion Ruud admits is a problem.
“Two of the times that I have played was maybe in a way a little bit unfortunate with only one deciding doubles (match) on Sunday,” Ruud commented.
“The crowd didn’t get to see a singles (match) after or whatever. That’s not in my hands to decide what the format looks like.’
“But last year in London was great in many ways because you had so many great players and it came down to almost the last match. When I watched on TV the first series, it was so exciting because Roger played a couple of times, the final match of the Sunday and clutched it for Team Europe. It’s been a couple of years without playing that last singles match. But it’s a great initiative. Me, as a golf fan, watching the Ryder Cup all my life in my childhood, it’s great for tennis to have this event.”
The 2024 Laver Cup will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin between September 20-22.
India’s Sumit Nagal Receives Sponsorship Boost After Revelling Financial Struggles
A leading food and drink company has pledged to support India’s highest-ranked men’s player who was unable to train at his usual facility in Germany earlier this year due to a lack of money.
Earlier this week world No.159 Sumit Nagal made a public plea for financial support to help him continue his career as a tennis player. In recent years he has been based at the Nansel Tennis Academy in Germany but was unable to train there during the first three months of the 2023 season due to a lack of funds. During this period he relied on his friends, including former player Somdev Devvarman, to help maintain his fitness.
“If I look at my bank balance, I have what I had at the beginning of the year. It is 900 euros. I did get a bit of help. Mr Prashant Sutar is helping me with MAHA Tennis Foundation and I also get monthly (salary) from IOCL but I don’t have any big sponsor,” Nagal told the Press Trust of India.
“I am investing whatever I am making. The yearly cost where I travel with one coach is costing me around Rs 8 million to Rs 10 million (90,000-113,000 euros) and that is just with one travelling coach (no physio). Whatever I have made I have already invested,” he added.
Nagal, who is 26 years old, has reached the semi-finals of better at five tournaments on the lower-level Challenger Tour so far this season. His only Grand Slam result was at the US Open where he lost in the first round of qualifying to Taro Daniel. It was at the US Open where he took a set off Roger Federer before losing in 2019.
Despite being the only player from his country to be ranked in the top 400, Nagal is currently not part of the Target Olympics Podium Scheme. An initiative set up by the Indian government to provide support to their top athletes.
After learning about Nagal’s ongoing struggles on the Tour, a leading company has decided to support the tennis player by signing a three-year deal with him. Gatorade specializes in sports drinks and is manufactured by PepsiCo. Under the deal, Nagal will receive support with his recovery and nutrition from experts at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI).
“I am deeply moved and grateful to join hands with Gatorade. This association comes to me at a pivotal time, and I am thankful my hard work and passion is getting recognized and appreciated. With Gatorade by my side, I am sure I will reach new heights and give it my all both on and off the court,” the Indo-Asian News Service quoted Nagal as saying on Thursday.
Speaking about the new partnership, Ankit Agarwal from PepsiCo India has hailed the collaboration. Agarwal is the company’s Associate Director of Energy & Hydration.
“Sumit is a role model for the new-gen athletes of India with his career being a true example of hard work and sweat that makes talent shine,” he said.
“As a brand that is dedicated to supporting athletes in removing barriers to sporting success, we are delighted to welcome Sumit to the Gatorade squad.”
Nagal has been ranked as high as No.122 in the world. So far in his career, he has won four Challenger titles with two of those occurring this year in Italy and Finland.
(VIDEO): Malaga Line-Up Set As Davis Cup Most Unpredictable Tournament In History
UbiTennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta explains why any of the eight teams in Malaga could win November’s Davis Cup Finals
The Davis Cup quarter-final line-up is set after an incredible Group Stage over Bologna, Split, Manchester and Valencia.
Now eight teams remain including Novak Djokovic’s Serbia, Great Britain and Australia.
However surprise teams such as the Netherlands, Finland and the Czech Republic will also appear in the quarter-finals.
Ten-time champions Great Britain will face Serbia with the winners taking on the winner of the quarter-final between Italy and the Netherlands.
In the other half of the draw Canada will be heavy favourites against Finland while the Czech Republic face Australia.
The final eight tournament will take place in Malaga and will take place between the 21st and the 26th of November.
However this year’s Davis Cup could be the most unpredictable version in the tournament’s history with there being no Spain or USA.
It really could be anyone’ tournament with Tennis’ most prestigious team competition up for grabs in November.
In this video UbiTennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta explains why this year’s Davis Cup finals could be the most unpredictable edition of all-time and why any of the teams could win the title.
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