With the COVID-19 outbreak causing problems all around the world, there’s a natural fear for what it means for jobs and livelihoods. And while sports athletes will be far down the list of people to worry about for some, not everyone is pulling in thousands per annum. Indeed, many players struggle to make ends meet outside of the top rankings, and it can be a challenging existence without sponsorship and prize money.
With no games taking place and thus an income drop-off for most players, some tennis players have been looking for help. An online petition set up by Sofia Shapatava was put together, with the World No. 371 asking for more support. She says that lower-ranked players have ‘no savings’ and ‘no security’. This is the same for many athletes – those outside of the top leagues are very likely to be closer to the average person on the street in terms of income as opposed to the mega-rich top stars.
With over 600 signatures and growing so far, this is hoped that it will bring enough awareness to help those on the professional circuit enjoy an easier experience. Many players, especially those outside WTA and ATP tours, are living a challenging existence.
Shapatava, when asked about the petition, said: “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 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.”
If you wish to sign the petition, you can do so through here.