NEW YORK (AFP) –
ATP Tour players are considering a boycott of next January’s Australian Open in a bid to gain a higher percentage of Grand Slam event revenues for themselves, the Sunday Times of London reported.
The move would be less about the top prize earners as much as it would be about boosting payouts to those who exit in early rounds and the struggle of players outside the world’s top 60 or so to make ends meet.
Players pay much of their own expenses and travel. Those without well-paying sponsorship deals must still make a global trek to sustain their careers.
An ATP players meeting, including ATP players council president Roger Federer, was staged Friday in New York ahead of Monday’s start of the US Open.
Federer spoke about the meeting on Saturday without mentioning a potential boycott, making it clear he would not reveal any details of what was discussed.
“It’s about just getting back to the players, making sure everybody is on the same page and understanding what the situation is,” he said. “It’s not only the Grand Slam issue, but many other issues always pending.
“Finally we really have engaged players and I think that’s a very good thing. Other part is managing that. It’s not always the easiest thing.
“Obviously always going to be rumors flying, but as long as I’m president of the player council it’s always going to stay behind closed doors what exactly has been talked about.
“We’re on the right track for many things. Obviously we try to solve it the best way we can for all parties involved on all issues really.”
Andy Roddick, the 2003 US Open champion, spoke about the issue last month in a teleconference ahead of the US Open, citing the wide gap between percentage of player revenues in the NBA and Grand Slam tennis.
“The NBA players were upset because they had to come down from a 57 percent revenue share,” Roddick said. “The research at the US Open (showed) we were down at 13 percent of revenue (that) went back to the players.
“It just seems skewed in comparison to some of the other sports. We certainly realize how lucky we are but I think we also realize that we’re the product.”