Coronavirus: Tennis raises more than $6m to create player relief fund
- With seasons suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, tennis has set up a player relief fund.
A player relief fund of more than $6million has been created to support those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
World number one Novak Djokovic said last month he had spoken to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal about a relief fund that would see money distributed to lower-ranked players.
The ATP and WTA Tour seasons are suspended until at least July 13 due to COVID-19.
While Australian Open runner-up Dominic Thiem was opposed to the idea, the governing bodies of tennis came together to raise more than $6m, it was announced on Tuesday.
"The initiative has seen the ATP, WTA, the four grand slam tournaments – the Australian Open, Roland-Garros, The Championships, Wimbledon and the US Open – and the ITF, unite in a show of support to players who are facing unprecedented challenges due to the global impact of COVID-19. Professional tennis is currently suspended until July, 13 2020," a statement read.
"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.
We, along with the ATP, WTA, ITF and other three Grand Slams, have come together to raise $6 million+ to create a Player Relief Program aimed at supporting players who are particularly affected by the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.— US Open Tennis (@usopen) May 5, 2020
Learn more https://t.co/zF3GU4JUCC pic.twitter.com/I4r749jodB
"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.
"The move by the seven stakeholders provides the financial backbone of the programme, with opportunities for additional contributions to follow. Funds raised through initiatives such as auctions, player donations, virtual tennis games and more, will provide opportunity for further support of the programme moving forward and are welcomed.
"The creation of the player relief programme 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."
There have been more than 3.7 million cases of coronavirus worldwide, with the death toll exceeding 257,000.