Tennis authorities to set up virus relief fund for players

PARIS (AFP) – The international governing bodies of tennis said on Tuesday a relief programme will be created to provide assistance to players most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

World tennis has been at a standstill since the beginning of March and will not resume until mid-July at the earliest following the postponement of Roland Garros and the cancellation of Wimbledon.

“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 Programme,” read a joint statement from the ATP, WTA, ITF and four Grand Slam tournaments.

It will provide “much-needed assistance to the players who are particularly affected during this time of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.”

No amount was disclosed but “details are being finalised with an announcement expected in the near future,” the statement added. “Already agreed is that the ATP and the WTA will administer the Player Relief Programme and all seven stakeholders will make a significant contribution.”

Novak Djokovic last Saturday revealed he was working with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to organise aid for players struggling with the paralysis of the game due to the health crisis.

The world number one estimated raising “between USD3 million (EUR2.75 million) and USD4.5 million”. He said the cash could come from the prize money for the season-ending World Tour Finals or the final bonus pools for top players.

According to reports Djokovic, as president of the ATP Players’ Council, proposed to members that players in the top 100 for singles and the top 20 in doubles contribute according to their rankings.

The proposed scale runs from USD30,000 for a top-five player to USD5,000 for those between 51 and 100.