With COVID-19 control still a determining factor in tennis play and scheduling, the WTA looks to be doing it tough into 2021.
Top boss Steve Simon spelled out the grim scenario to Tennis Majors, stressing that total prize pots would decrease while payouts would increase somewhat for players in the early stages of tournaments in a bid to help the tennis minnows..
The women’s sanctioning body was hit hard this past season by the pandemic, managing to play only 11 events after the August tennis resumption as opposed to 16 – some of them fresh out of the box – for the ATP.
Cancellation of the WTA’s lucrative autumn Asian swing crushed the bottom line, with financial recovery looking to be a hard slog for an organisation which only this week laid on a pricey full-scale brand relaunch.
“The prize pools will not return to normal, there is no doubt about it. Like everyone else, our athletes have had a difficult season from an economic point of view, and the same goes for tournaments,” Simon said.
“More money will tend to go to those who lose in the early rounds or qualifiers, because they are the most affected.
“(Tournaments) have worked to contain losses, not to (make a profit). The policy we have adopted this year with prize money helps both tournaments and players.
“This was one of those moments in which we managed to form a group (consensus) , and the players were fantastic in that sense.
“The same goes for the tournaments, because they did not find themselves working in ideal conditions ”.
Simon credited top WTA players for biting the bullet and making the economic sacrifice to help their lesser colleagues.
“we worked with the players and asked them, ‘what do you want us to do with the distribution of the money?’ The decision (produced) a fair model.
“We must give credit to the most successful players, those with the highest ranking, because they have endorsed this decision.
“Without their approval (this) would not have been possible.”