Since early March, the tennis season has been put on hold due to a coronavirus, with no signs of restart anytime soon. With no tournaments or the opportunity to earn money, almost every player ranked outside the top-150 or top-200 is deeply worried about the future of our sport and how to survive those rough months, hoping for help from the leading bodies, especially the ATP and WTA.
The top-ranked players from the ATP list (well, almost all of them) are ready to help their colleagues and the same goes for the WTA stars, with Simona Halep's coach Darren Cahill confirming her desire to give some money for the lower-ranked competitors.
The Aussie coach would love to see both the men's and women's organizations under one banner, calling it the best possible way to make the things equal (as much as possible, of course) for all the professionals and for the fans to follow the sport.
The coronavirus pandemic has been a wake-up call and they all have to sit and work on necessary improvements in the schedule, calendar, prize money, tournament categories, ranking and various stuff. Also, Cahill would love to see those lower-ranked players outside the danger zone in the financial terms, urging on some excellent solutions in the upcoming months.
"We as a sport, because of the likes of Billie Jean King, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova and what went on all those years ago to form the WTA and the fight for equal rights and the fight for equal prize money," Cahill said.
"This current generation of players is brought up thinking that that's it, this is the way tennis is heading, and this is the way we play and this is what we expect. There would be some resentment from some male players but the majority I think would see the benefits and understand that this is the right thing to do.
Having both tours under one banner would mean consolidating resources, which could lead to loss of jobs, but the money saved can be funneled back into the sport, making it more sustainable for a larger pool of players. It's more about how do we make sure that this game remains to be healthy and continues to grow.
Back when I was playing in the 80s and 90s, I reckon the game serviced about 150 players. If you're ranked 150th in the world, you could survive. It's still the same now. If you're ranked outside the top-150, you're struggling to pay your way and that's not right.
Hopefully, this difficult period is a wake-up call for the tours that they've got to do better. The fact that nobody is earning money in tennis at the moment, yet the top-100 players are dipping into their own pockets to send money down through the ranking system; it's not right that the ATP, WTA and ITF have put the players in that situation.
Good on the men, especially Novak, for starting this up and on the male players for backing it. I hope the WTA players back it as well. I know the WTA is asking the female players if they'll do something similar to what Novak is suggesting. And I can tell you Simona Halep has already agreed to do that."