Spanish tennis superstar Rafael Nadal has backed up world No. 1 Novak Djokovic's plan to create a player relief fund and support the lower-ranked players. Djokovic, the President of the ATP Player Council, proposed that each top-100 player donate from $5,000-30,000 on a sliding scale to support the player relief fund.
The goal of the initiative is to gather enough money and then distribute money to the lower-ranked players, who are racing major financial struggles and difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic. 17-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic also proposed that top-20 doubles players join the action and support the initiative.
As part of the Serb's proposal, top-5 singles players would each donate most money -- $30,000. 19-time Grand Slam champion Nadal says it's more than just helping players as preserving the game of tennis and helping it grow is also something they are focused on.
"Different measures have been taken, and one of them is to create a fund for the one hundred best players in the world to contribute an amount of money to help the rest of the players, who are having a hard time and are experiencing difficult situations,” Nadal explained, per Tennis 365.
"This fund is to help the world of tennis in general, not just players. “In difficult times you are forced to think about the one who are worse than you”.
Rafael Nadal backs Djokovic's plan but Dominic Thiem doesn't
Thiem, who is enjoying a career-high ranking of No.
3 in the world, drew lots of negative attention to his name when he publicly said he was opposed to Djokovic's initiative. Back-to-back French Open runner-up Thiem said he doesn't think most lower-ranked players are working hard enough to succeed and added that he would support more specific causes.
"None of the players are starving. [The top players] all had to fight our way up the rankings,” Thiem claimed, who has earned over $23 million over the course of his career. “I’ve seen players on the ITF Tour who don’t 100 percent commit to the sport.
Many are quite unprofessional. I don’t see why I should give them money”. Rafael Nadal also voiced his support when Roger Federer proposed the ATP and WTA merger.