In 2013 I was lucky enough to start the year off with $20,000 in my bank account. This year that number started in the negative after spending every last penny on my tennis (and more) during 2013. After returning from South Africa in December I started planning my schedule for 2014.
It didn’t take me long to realize that planning a very demanding traveling schedule with limited cash flow would be challenging. I decided that I was going to give it another shot this year after I had made enough money through coaching privately in Miami. I also decided that I was going to create a facebook group, ATP and ITF – Time for change. Every week there is a new article online telling a story about the life of a Professional tennis player. Unfortunately very few of them are positive. The press get great stories from it, the International Federations do nothing about it and the players suffer because of the poor system they have in place. The prize money has to be allocated differently or increased otherwise it will kill the game of tennis.
This group is meant to spread awareness and get the ATP, WTA and ITF to wake up.
After receiving very good feedback from this group I created a facbook page, ATP & ITF Petition. Both the group and the page have had a lot of ‘traffic’ lately and it keeps increasing.
It didn’t take long for hundreds of players to jump on board with this petition along with multiple tennis/sport websites across the world. View the articles links below:
- livetennis.it – ATP can’t support more than 10% of their field
- spaziotennis.com – Prize money break down
- parentingaces.com – Q & A with me about the futures tour
- sportsgazette.co.uk – A campaign and petition have been launched to change things
- tennisbest.com – The struggle on tour
I have an interview with a Spanish based website early next week. I plan on talking about the following: e.g. If a sponsor approaches me today and offers me $100,000 for the year and expects nothing in return I will be able to travel comfortably, pay to have a coach travel with me 8-10 weeks of the year (which isn’t much), look after my body better, be in a better frame of mind, give myself a greater chance to make it and most importantly I will be able to focus primarily on my tennis, giving me the best chance to ‘break-through’ in the extremely touch group of players. Lets say that everything goes according to plan and I have a DREAM year, my ranking jumps from 1150 in the world to top 200 in the world. It would be a huge achievement for me or any other player out there but the sad reality is that you would have spent that $100,000 (which in MANY cases its your money or your families), made a huge jump in your personal career, top 200 in your field, and have a great ‘resume’ as a player BUT you will be left with $0 in your bank account and you have to rely on another sponsor for the next year otherwise you will HAVE to quit at your highest ranking because its not possible to compete at that level if you aren’t in it 100% or at least allowing yourself the chance to compete as often as the rest of the field. As an 18 year old with a sponsor like this it makes sense to do it but when you are in your mid 20’s does it make sense to invest all your time and other peoples money into something that will have zero financial return even if you do have, what I would consider, a great career if you reach the top 200. Now you are 23, 28 or 33 years old with nothing to show for it, what now?
Cant the ITF (as the International Federation) and the ATP (as the only association for tennis Professionals) make a change?