President of ATP Player council Novak Djokovic launches plan to give “minnows” a lift.

Novak Djokovic has enlisted the moral and financial support of fellow tennis elites Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in an ambitious plan to bail out ATP tennis minnows who find themselves without an income as the COVID-19 lockdowns start to bite.

The president of the ATP Player Council made his radical proposal in a letter and during a facebook chat with fellow multiple Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka.

Stan Wawrinka discussed emergency fund for minnows with Novak Djokjovic Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

The No.1 proposed various financial engineering schemes and donations  designed to get 4-5 million USD into the bank accounts of tennis strugglers.

Djokovic said that the Big 3 plan would require donations from relatively well off Top 100 competitors in singles and from the Top 20 in doubles.

The ATP has already pledged 1 million USD to the effort, Djokovic said.

Tennis has been shut down for more than a month due to the worldwide virus situation, with no ATP or WTA events possible until at least July 13 – if then.

“Rafa, Roger and I spoke yesterday.. we think it’s more important to support players from No. 250-700.

Outside of 250 is where the real financial struggle is, which is expected,” Djokovic said at the weekend.

“We all need to get together and help these guys out. Many of them are thinking to leave pro tennis because they just can’t survive financially.

“There are a very large (number) of players between No. 250-700 who are not supported by federations or don’t have sponsors. The ATP has around 700 members and we should try to take care of all of them.”

Djokovic said the plan would be to give 10,000 USD to each player ranked between 250-700,

Donations from higher-ranked player would be on a sliding scale, with Top 50-100 members each donating 5,000 USD and Nos. 1-5 each kicking in 30,000 USD.

The 4-5 million total would be topped up by the ATP donation plus minimal gifts of 500,000 USD each from the four money-spinning Grand Slams, who rake in millions each year,

Djokovic added: “Roger, Rafa and I have proposed to ATP that 50 per cent of prize money from the World Tour Finals in London (if it happens in November/December) goes to a Player Relief Fund.

Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer will team up with Novak Djokovic to launch “tennis minnows’ cash fund Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

“That would be another significant sum of money.

“If we don’t have any events (in 2020), maybe next year’s Australian Open prize money can be contributed to the fund.”

 

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