This coronavirus lockdown is putting a major strain on the world economy and tennis players are not exempt from financial struggles, especially those in the lower tiers that have no savings in their accounts. Naomi Broady of Great Britain, ranked No.499 in singles and No.142 in doubles, says she considered applying to work in a supermarket as she can’t play tennis tournaments to earn a living.
After Wimbledon was canceled and the WTA season further suspended until at least 13th July, the 30-year-old told BBC Radio Manchester:
Tennis is an individual sport and we win our money, so if we’re not able to win it, we don’t get any, it’s that simple. I was looking at doing supermarket work, especially at the start when they were saying they were struggling for staff.
While players are not earning money now that there is no possibility to play tournaments, Broady, who has earned $54,402 on tour this year, said that the strain is exceptionally hard on those who are not on the top:
I know a lot of the lower ranked players who don’t really make [much] money on the tour, don’t have savings and they’re campaigning to try and get some sort of financial help or relief.
Since the WTA is also experiencing a major lack of income, the chances of them offering support to players are slim to none.
“We wish there was a way everyone, especially those in need the most, could be compensated at the level they were expecting, but the needs are so great and the WTA unfortunately is not in a financial position to do that,” the WTA told Reuters.
“Professional tennis players are independent contractors and not employees of the WTA. As a result, a player’s compensation is based on on-court competition and when tournaments are not held this puts a pause on their principal revenue flow.”
What the WTA can do is extend the season, but that’s a long way into the future, as no one knows when this pandemic will end and when it will be safe enough to organize large gatherings of people. Typically, tennis off-season takes up a large portion of November and entire December, but this year the WTA will consider squeezing in some tournaments in the off-season to maximize earning possibilities.
Despite the oil price war, the Emirates – main WTA sponsor – should assist based on a simple ranking / earnings calculation. Check under your sofa cushions, Sheikhs: the harem needs help.