ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi says he has nothing but respect for those players who compete on the Challenger Tour. Also, Gaudenzi vowed to try to find ways to improve the conditions on the Challenger Tour. "Let me start by stating that the Challenger Tour is vital to tennis’ success.
It is the pathway to the ATP Tour without which our sport cannot thrive. I know first-hand just how tough competition is at that level, having played many Challengers during my career. I have the utmost respect for the players and for tournament promoters at that level, who work extremely hard," Gaudenzi told the ATP website.
"When it comes to the number of athletes supported financially, it’s true that tennis is not on the same level as team sports such as soccer, American football or basketball. Improving financial viability at the lower levels of tennis comes down to better promotion and support through redistribution of revenues generated at the top.
I would like to highlight that this is absolutely a priority for the ATP and, importantly, we believe significant progress can be made."
Gaudenzi was slammed by Vasek Pospisil
Last month, Gaudenzi made some comments about the Challenger Tour that didn't sit well with some.
“In the Challenger Tour you should be able to at least break even and pay your costs. But you have to be conscious that this is sort of like a university. It’s an investment. Then go and move into the pro tour where you have a job," Gaudenzi said, per Tennishead.
“I don’t think it will ever be possible to have a sustainable tour at that level [the Challenger Tour] simply because it lacks the interest of the fans and the engagement of the sponsors, broadcasters and ticket revenues."
Pospisil noticed Gaudenzi's comments and he slammed the "ignorant" ATP chairman. "This is incredibly ignorant from the so-called leader of the ATP and the sport of tennis. A multi-billion dollar industry yet this man feels it’s ok for only the top 100 players to make a living.
This is what happens when you completely monopolize the sport," Pospisil tweeted in a response to the Gaudenzi comments.