Unlike the household names of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon, Fabrice Martin in a Frenchman that many of us are unfamiliar with. He has never played in a Grand Slam singles tournament, never participated in the Davis Cup and has never cracked the top 200.
In addition to this the 27-year-old has never played in the main draw of an ATP pro level event, until his unlikely win today. In the final round of qualifying at the ATP Dubai Tennis Championships, Martin stunned world number 85 Borna Coric.
During the close match Martin edged his way to the main draw by winning 6-3 6-7(5-7) 7-6(7-5). Prior to the win today, Martin also produced an impressive win over 7th seed Evgeny Donskoy in the first round. These two wins mean that Martin will now play in his first pro ATP level main draw, 12 years after he first turned pro.
It is respectful to say that the likes of Murray and Federer shouldn"t have too much to fear with Martin in the main draw, however his achievement will go on past the event in Dubai. While it won"t matter much to the top 100-150 players, it will mean a lot of the hundreds of players playing in lower level tournaments with the dream of making it one day into the main draw.
The winner of this years, Dubai Tennis Championships will win $505,000 which is nearly triple the amount of the entire money that Martin has earned over the past 12 years on Futures and Challenger circuit. This puts into perspective how much of a variance prize money is for lower level players compared to higher ranked ones.
To confirm this trend, a 2013 ITF report found that total prize money on the Mens tour was approximately $162m however 60% of the money was won by top 50 players only. This leaves just 40% left for players ranked 51-1600! This doesn"t mean that the likes of Federer and Co should lose money, they have worked hard to where they have got to and deserve the credentials to go with it.
What it does mean is that lower level players need more financial support, weather that it via prize money or other systems such as lowering travel costs. Sadly, as the saying goes, money doesn"t grow on trees, so it will also be a tough issue for the ITF/WTA and ATP to tackle.
Due to factors like this, when an achievement similar to Martin is achieved.
It is important for the story to be shared in order to inspire the players who play on the tour every week barely making enough money flying to countries that most of us have barely heard of. To let them know that when they are playing on bumpy courts with no crowds, persistence and belief can pay off.
Well done Fabrice Martin and let this be a story to inspire many. Fabrice Martin Career overview Current ranking 349 (ranking high of 228 achieved in July 2012)
Career main draw win-loss 225-181
5 Future singles titles and 1 Challenger title.
Reached his first ever ATP final in Doubles at the 2015 PBZ Zagreb Indoors