Novak Djokovic says he has spoken to fellow stars Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to chalk out a strategy to help lower-ranked players who are struggling as tennis tournaments across the globe have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also Read - Delhi Records Highest Single-Day Spike With 4,853 Fresh Covid Cases; Death Toll Climbs To 6,356
Lower-ranked players, who don’t have sponsors or financial backing from their national federations, depend on tournaments for their earnings and in its absence, have been left with no options with few contemplating giving up the sport, Djokovic claims. Also Read - Covid-19 Cases Increased in 5 States During Festive Season; Recovery Rate Above 90%: Govt
“I spoke to Roger and Rafa a few days ago,” Djokovic said during an Instagram chat Stan Wawrinka. “We had a long conversation about the near future of tennis, what is going to happen, how we can contribute and how we can help especially lower-ranked players, who are obviously struggling the most.” Also Read - COVID-19 Puts Pause on Highly Revered Himachal Deity's Winter Sojourn
He continued, “The majority of the players who are ranked between 200, 250 in the world, and the 700th or 1,000th do not have federation support, do not have sponsors. They are completely independent and left alone. Guys who are ranked between 200-250, especially to 700…are thinking of leaving tennis right now.”
He also revealed that Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), organisers of the four Grand Slams and the players will “contribute to a player relief fund.”
“It looks, hopefully, that there will something between 3 million (2.75 million euros) and 4.5 million that is going to be distributed. Maybe if we don’t have any tournaments this season, we can take a certain percentage from our prize money form Australian Open in January,” he said.
The world No. 1 Djokovic, said the lower-ranked guys are the “grassroots” and “future of tennis” and this is the time to show “they still can rely on support of the top guys.”
Djokovic, president of the ATP Players’ Council has proposed that players in the singles top-100 and the top-20 in doubles may contribute as per their rankings.