NEW YORK – On the eve of the US Open tennis event which started today, leading male tennis players from across to globe get together during a mandatory meeting to discuss possibly boycotting the Australian Open.
The meeting, lead by tennis great Roger Federer, president of the ATP players’ council, was about possibly taking the grand slam game to Dubai instead of playing in Australia in January 2013.
The reason for the possible boycott is prize money. And it’s not that the top tennis players aren’t happy with their prizes, even though in comparison they get a much lessor percentage than other pro-athletes receive.
The meeting was intended to get grand slam event coordinators to pay out more prize money to the ‘unknown’ tennis player. The one who’s ranked towards the bottom, has no sponsor and must pay all training costs and expenses involved with playing on a tournament out of his pocket.
American tennis pro and 2003 US Open champion, Andy Roddick, said:
“Compare the percentage of revenue dedicated to prize money or salaries in tennis to other sports. At the majors our prize money is still in the teens, percentage wise, but the NBA is at a crossroads because the players earn 50 per cent of revenue,” he said.
“I think we all feel very fortunate for what we get, but we are putting people in seats. The guys ranked 80 to 90 to 1000 in the world aren’t making the big bucks right now, and they’re paying their own expenses, which you don’t do on a professional sports team. That is who any action would benefit.”
The major issue is not the huge prize money on offer for the winners of grand slams but rather those players who exit in the early rounds.
In 2012, the Australian Open offered $US21,300 to first round losers and the French Open coughed up $US22,200. Wimbledon agreed to pay out $US22,600 and the US Open will fork out $US23,000.
Roger Federer, the world’s number one ranked tennis player, said he is willing to ‘go to bed’ for his players to see they get proper and just financial compensation.