The governing bodies of world tennis have raised over USD 6 million to create a Player Relief Programme that will aid players hardest hit by the suspension of the season due to coronavirus pandemic. Also Read - India Records Over 6,000 COVID-19 Cases For 4th Consecutive Day, Total Tally Reaches 1,38, 845; Death Toll Crosses 4,000-mark
All professional tennis has been halted at till July 13 with the calendar going for a toss due to the health crisis. While Wimbledon Championships has been cancelled for the first time since the second world war, French Open has been delayed until September end. Also Read - 'Finished Taking Hydroxychloroquine, Still Here,' Says Donald Trump Week After Revealing His COVID-19 Therapy
Organisers of the US Open say they will decide upon its fate by mid-June only. Also Read - Global COVID-19 Cases Surpass 5.4 Million, Death Toll Climbs to 3,45,000; US Remains Worst-hit
“In addition to contributions of their own, the ATP and WTA will administer the financial distributions of the Player Relief Programme, which sees respective contributions from the four Grand Slam tournaments and ITF split equally between men and women,” a joint statement from ATP, WTA, ITF and the four Grand Slam tournaments read.
“The Player Relief Programme will target a total of approximately 800 ATP/WTA singles and doubles players collectively, in need of financial support. Eligibility for the Player Relief Programme will take into account a player’s ranking as well as previous prize money earnings according to criteria agreed by all stakeholders,” it added.
Funds will also raised via other initiatives including “auctions, player donations, virtual tennis games among others.
The global governing bodies of tennis will continue to “collaborate and monitor the support required across tennis with the aim of ensuring the long-term health of the sport in the midst of this unprecedented challenge.”
The idea of the relief fund was floated by world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and backed by Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
Djokovic had said that the top players, based on their rankings, contribute towards a fund which will support those who are ranked outside the top-250 and are struggling financially in the absence of tournaments.
However, the proposal wasn’t met with universal acceptance with world No. 3 Dominic Thiem saying he “would rather give money to people or organisations that really need it.”