Georgia's Sofia Shapatava has started an online petition asking the International Tennis Federation (UTF) and the men's and women's tours, the ATP & WTA respectively, to provide financial support to players during the tennis shutdown due to the global health crisis.
Ranked No. 371 in the world, Shapatava told the PA agency, “I had many conversations with my colleagues and friends about their plans for the upcoming months. Lower-ranked tennis players have no savings and it is a very hard topic.
Usually everyone makes money on the side by coaching or club matches or prize-money tournaments but, in this situation, countries are on lockdown so there is no way to get additional income. We have no security, nor does anyone take care of us.
I am worried indeed. I am sure I can put food on the table. But nobody stopped bills and we still have to pay for everything every month, and it is very hard to do when you stay without income completely for a couple of months.
We feel now more then ever that we have nobody that takes care of us. And, even if I have some money, I know many others who don’t know how to support themselves more then a week or two. Also many people will quit to play as, after spending all the last cents on surviving, not many will be able to just go and travel again”.
While Shapatava says she is aware that tennis is not the priority for many people right now, she did want to bring it to the attention of the tennis bodies. “All I know is that someone has to take responsibility for players as we all are in a way employees and we already don’t get paid enough so, in the moment of huge crisis and shutdown, at least we can have some support.
We feel now more then ever that we have nobody that takes care of us, and nobody has the responsibility for real if all the tennis tour breaks down. It is a horrible feeling. And I am not the only one who feels it. The petition is a way to be heard.
I understand that there are far bigger problems in the world than tennis. And I wish everyone health. But, just because there is one huge problem, it does not mean other problems don’t exist”.
Hello everyone, I know it is rough times for everybody, but I would really appreciate if you took a minute and signed a petition I created, also could be great if you could share it https://t.co/eD2gWA343G — Sofia Shapatava (@SofiaShapatava) March 19, 2020