Professional tennis post Corona virus may never be the same for many. The Corona virus pandemic should serve as an eye-opener for the ITF, ATP, slams, other tournament organizers. Even its heavyweights like Serena, Federer, Nadal, Djokovic would be well served to take note. The pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of the sport we love so much.
Professional tennis post Corona could easily regress again into a country club sport
Unless there is an immediate change in the existing state of pro tennis we risk losing many talented kids who dream of a pro career, and promising professionals hovering outside of the top 100. The apathy of the governing and managing bodies to the uncertainty of pro-tennis, threatens the socio-economic fabric of tennis. Tennis – post-COVID 19 – could easily regress again into a country club sport meant exclusively for the affluent.
Tennis must include the vast middle and lower-middle classes
The middle and lower-middle-class parents will shun tennis as a career choice for their children. And without the unwavering support and encouragement of the parents, it’d be impossible for even the most talented kids to continue with tennis as anything more than a hobby.
Tennis must include the vast middle and lower-middle classes as active and participating stakeholders in the sport. The middle and lower-middle-class must spawn many within the top 10 and 100, or the sport would be hard-pressed for their attention and fandom.
Can’t pro-tennis tennis support even 2000 players?
So where do we go from here? At the very least, the ATP and WTA must ensure a reasonable livelihood for the top 1000 ranked. The top 50 will will make substantially more, and the top 10 will continue to rake in the big bucks. The 999th ranked, however, should also be able to afford a good living and comfortable retirement post pro-tennis. Can’t pro-tennis tennis support even 2000 players? Is that too much to ask?
Travel, hotel, and food costs are back-breakers for the lower-ranked pros
Must the Wimbledon winner take home $4 million? And, why can’t the qualifying and main draw include 512 players each? Can’t the first-round loser’s winning be equivalent to the middle-class salary (about $50,000) for the year?
Pro tennis could also ensure help with the travel, commute and board and lodge expenses of the participants. Travel, hotel, and food costs are back-breakers for the lower-ranked pros and they need help with such expenses. Post-retirement healthcare and pension-plan for players, with 3 or more years in the top 1000, would add to the sport’s attractiveness in the post-Corona world.
We must ensure the growth of professional tennis post Corona virus
With so many outside of the top 100 struggling to make ends meet because of the COVID 19 lockdown, tennis truly is a bad choice for a profession. It is too risky, and hardly any, who is not affluent, would risk the heavy investment on their super-talented child.
If the stakeholders in charge of professional tennis put their heads together, there’d be no dearth of innovative solutions to ensure the growth of professional tennis post Corona virus.