The Overrule: The letter, Relief Fund, Restructuring and Tennis is returning…

The uncertainty in the resumption of the worldwide tennis circuit continues. Over the last week or so there have more developments around the world but also the main talking point is about a letter and it is where I will begin.

The open letter…

21 year old Ines Ibbou from Algeria has published a video as an open letter to Dominic Thiem.

Dominic recently said about giving to the player relief fund:

“None of the lower-ranked players have to fight for their lives. None of them will starve.

“I’ve seen players on the ITF Tour who don’t commit to the sport 100 per cent. Many of them are quite unprofessional. I don’t see why I should give them money.

“If I have to give, I prefer to help people or institutions in need who can use it during this difficult time. No profession guarantees you big successes at the start of your career.”

Dominic is right to do what he wants, we all have beliefs and things we feel strongly about so shouldn’t be publicly targeted like he has.

Let’s remember it isn’t just Thiem but many players have not donated including Guido Pella and Matteo Berrettini who also went public.

Guido said “I am more on Dominic Thiem’s side” and Matteo said “We wrote to Novak, it’s not mandatory: I prefer to help more complex situations, such as a hospital, a family in need, rather than a tennis player. There are many players who need help and go red. The plan is a very positive thing for tennis and shows that players also care about their colleagues from the rear,”

You can see the video for yourself below…

The life story of Ines is interesting and she has made a lot of sacrifices for her dream. Financial side is a tennis problem and not a specific problem at Dominic Thiem’s door. I think it is grossly unfair to centre this around him when it should be at the door of the tennis boards and associations!

The Coronavirus Pandemic has emphasised more the issue in tennis further down the rankings whether it is at ITF or Challenger level it is difficult to travel with all the expenses of a tennis player and have a living.

In a place not long ago I said why has it taken for a global pandemic for tennis to realise those lower down the rankings it is financially impossible to support a career, have a team and earn a living?

I agree with Ines to an extent but in my opinion I don’t think this message she wanted to communicate has been done well. I don’t think picking out a player is good and you just need to search on social media and see some comments Thiem has received.

Dominic as well as many before and after him are in a priviledged position. One, it doesn’t mean they have to donate their money to funds but also where is the pressure on anyone else?

My hope is once all this is over and tennis can begin to resume this is looked at by the ITF, ATP and WTA because it’s not right whether were in a global pandemic or not.

This then takes me onto the relief fund…

Relief Fund

A tennis relief fund of around $6 million has been announced to support up to 800 players, this has come from various governing bodies during this crisis.

It doesn’t include money from players including the prize money from Virtual Madrid Open, other donations or the initiative from Djokovic to get the top 100 to donate but it is a step in the right direction.

You can argue that high up in the game and low down there will be players who don’t take the sport seriously and are just in it for money. I see Dominic’s point in giving to those who need it more, not all tennis players do have the right attitude so do they deserve the financial support?

Of those who visibly don’t show they care on the court do they get a chunk of the fund because of a ranking, how is it decided?

Surely a player could receive $15,000 for example and could then drop out of tennis. This is a fund, not a loan so there is nothing to say you must continue to play tennis…

Grassroots and lower level tennis is soo key to the success of the sport worldwide but it needs more from the governing bodies. It is has needed more financial support for some time and as I said this crisis has shown the major bodies what they’ve been missing by having the blinkers on for years and heavily investing the top level of tennis.

Restructure of Tennis

Tennis is struggling all over the world right now.

Associations to continue to restructure and cut the size of teams.

Tennis Canada CEO Michael Downey who was a former LTA CEO announced they have sadly had restructure with many losing their jobs and have cancelled all but one event until the end of August.

The one that hasn’t been cancelled is the Men’s Rogers Cup which they hope they can hold onto for much needed revenue if the tour can continue but it looks extremely unlikely!

This is the same situation for many organisations right now and sad one indeed for the future of the sport we hope can be up and running in a safe way soon.

Tennis is returning across Europe!

Tennis has been returning in national events. Some events have been put on and are planned for the next few weeks.

Hurkacz, Paul and others took part in the UTR Pro Event been put on this last week and Hurbert waved to an imaginary crowd following a win…

We have also seen the Belarus Cup which number one Aryna Sabalenka won:

The UTL (Ultimate Tennis League) put on by Patrick Mouratoglou will now begin in June and very soon the Generali Open will take place with Austrian players including Dominic Thiem.

Screenshot 2020-05-11 at 11.19.30

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