World No.3 Dominic Thiem has rejected the idea that the world’s top tennis players should help fund lower-ranked professionals who may in financial trouble because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Thiem was responding to Novak Djokovic urging players to contribute to a fund set up by the sport’s governing bodies to help players affected by a shutdown.
The plan would see the top five players donating $US30,000 each, down to players ranked 51 to 100 donating $US5000.
But Thiem said there were sections of society that needed more urgent help.
“No tennis player is fighting to survive, even those who are much lower-ranked. None of them are going to starve,” he told Austrian newspaper Krone.
He criticised the attitude of some players on the lower-tier Futures tour, who he believed did not deserve handouts.
“There are many, many players who don’t put the sport above everything else and don’t live in a professional manner,” Thiem said.
“I don’t really see why I should give such players money.
“I’d rather give money to people or organisations that really need it.
“None of us top players got anything handed to us, we all had to fight our way up.”
Thiem has earned about $US24 million during his career.
Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal has told a Spanish Tennis Federation online chat he is pessimistic about a quick restart to the game.
“In tennis, you need to travel every week, stay in hotels, go to different countries,” he said.
“Even if we play without an audience, to organise any event you need a lot of people involved, which cannot be ignored. At an international level, I see a serious problem.”