Dominic Thiem finds support from Arina Rodionova on player relief issue
- Dominic Thiem has found an unlikely supporter in his stance against the Player Relief Fund.
- Arina Rodionova has tweeted in support of Thiem, joining Pella and Berrettini in questioning the fund.
Austrian tennis player Dominic Thiem recently questioned the need for a player fund that was started by World No. 1 Novak Djokovic as a coronavirus relief mechanism. While Thiem got a considerable amount of flak for his stance, Russian WTA player Arina Rodionova has thrown her support behind the Austrian.
"Very unpopular opinion but here we go. I think everyone needs to get off Dominic Thiem’s back about this whole thing of him not wanting to give money to lower-ranked players," Rodionova wrote on her Twitter feed. "Regardless of how much he made in his career and this year (everyone keeps counting his money) along.
"It’s his money and he can do whatever he wants with it. It’s not his fault lower-ranked players aren’t making 'enough' money. It’s ITF’s screw up and their job to fix it, he shouldn’t be hated cause he is good at tennis and doesn’t want to share his money with us," she added.
Dominic Thiem unsure about the need for a relief fund
Earlier this week Dominic Thiem questioned Djokovic's proposal, which has been supported by big names like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The World No. 3 said that he does not believe all tennis players require funds at the moment, adding that he'd rather donate his money to other institutions.
"I know the Futures Tour and played there for two years. There are a lot of people who don't give everything to sport," Dominic Thiem had said to the Kronen Zeitung newspaper.
"I don't see why I should give money to such people. I would prefer to donate to people or institutions that really need it," he added. "I'm not guaranteed in any profession to make a lot of money at some point.No tennis players are fighting for survival, not even the ones down below. Nobody has to starve."
Thiem's words did not rub off well on some fans, but he has managed to find a few supporters in the tennis community. In addition to Rodionova, Argentine player Guido Pella also threw his weight behind Dominic Thiem.
“No tennis player is starving,” Pella told Metro 95.1. “I prefer to allocate money to help people who are dying. Tennis always looks at the one above, it is a sad truth. I prefer to assist people in my city who are dying and who do not have food, which is more urgent than sports.
“I love that there is support for the players to maintain the level, but I do not agree with the obligation to have to contribute without knowing the reality of each player. I’m more on Thiem’s side. I think it’s okay for ATP to step in, to try to make it fairer for everyone. Much debate is required."
Another critic of the players' fund is Italian player Matteo Berrettini, who would like the donation to be an option rather than a mandate for the top 100 players.
“We wrote to Novak, it’s not mandatory," Berrettini said. "I prefer to help more complex situations, such as a hospital, a family in need, rather than a tennis player. There are many players who need help and go red. The plan is a very positive thing for tennis and shows that players also care about their colleagues from the rear,” he added.