Tennis governing bodies and Grand Slam tournaments create player relief program
The men’s and women’s professional tennis tours, the International Tennis Federation and the four Grand Slam tournaments have created a Player Relief program to support players who have been adversely affected by the sport’s coronavirus-related shutdown.
The governing bodies and the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open have raised more than $6 million “in a show of support to players who are facing unprecedented challenges because of the global impact of COVID-19,” they said in a joint statement issued Tuesday.
Professional tennis has been suspended through July 13. Last week, eight male players staged exhibition matches at a club in Hoehr-Grenzhausen, Germany, without spectators, ball boys or line judges and with many health-related restrictions in effect.
If given the option, Rafael Nadal said he would scrap this season entirely so tennis could resume normally in 2021.
The Women’s Tennis Assn. and Assn. of Tennis Professionals will administer payouts of the Player Relief program. Those payouts will be split equally between men and women. Help will go to about 800 singles and doubles players who need financial support, the statement said, and players’ rankings and previous earnings will be taken into account.
The collaboration between the women’s and men’s tours “is a positive demonstration of the sport’s ability to come together during this time of crisis. We 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 to our way of life, and our thoughts remain with all those affected at this time,” their statement said.
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