by Bob Stockton
Seven international governing bodies of tennis have raised more than 6 million U.S. dollars for a relief fund to offer financial support to players affected by the sport’s suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The WTA, ATP, International Tennis Federation (ITF), and the four Grand Slams – the U.S., French and Australian Opens as well as Wimbledon – issued the joint statement on Tuesday.
“The creation of the Player Relief Program is a positive demonstration of the sport’s ability to come together during this time of crisis,” the statement said.
The program will target a total of approximately 800 ATP/WTA singles and doubles players collectively, in need of financial support.
Eligibility for the Player Relief Program will take into account a player’s ranking as well as previous prize money earnings according to criteria agreed by all stakeholders, the statement said.
Funds raised through initiatives such as auctions, player donations, virtual tennis games and more, will provide an opportunity for further support of the program moving forward and are welcomed, it said.
Professional tennis is currently suspended until at least July 13.
Absent and silent from this or any funding programs is the Communist Chinese Government and any of its state sports organizations. As documented in numerous media reports, the Chinese Communist government covered-up initial reports of the pandemic and silenced whistleblowers who wanted to warn the world of the coming havoc, which has caused the biggest world disruption since World War II. China is currently the site of four ATP events and 10 WTA events, including the year-end championships in Shenzen.