World number five Elina Svitolina got used to receiving big paychecks, so the current health crisis that has led to an economic downfall is impacting the way the Ukrainian WTA player sees her job at the moment. Having earned more than $20 million in career prize money, the 26-year-old admits that the significantly reduced awards are impacting her motivation.
The world economy has been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and tennis tournaments are no exception. Because of an unexpected five-day lockdown and all the coronavirus-related protocols, the recently-finished Australian Open expects to record a loss of more than $78 million. Moreover, tennis tournaments have substantially cut their budgets. For example, the 2021 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships women’s singles champion will get $221,500 instead of last year’s $696,860. That’s a 68% decrease in prize money!
The 2021 Dubai WTA singles champion will get $221,500 instead of last year’s $696,860 paycheck. That’s a 68% decrease in the prize money awarded to the singles champion.
I asked Svitolina about the decrease in prize money @ WTA events & how it affects her decision-making etc… pic.twitter.com/VjKfLDgkf5
— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) March 7, 2021
Talking to journalists Reem Abulleil, Svitolina explained that she obviously didn’t start playing tennis to earn a lot of money, but in recent years the money started getting into her head. Now that there is less money in the game, she’s finding it hard to readjust:
I think it’s really not easy for some players to adjust and for me personally it’s maybe also a little bit right now, because we’re a little bit spoiled from the years that the prize money was really high. Now for sure it gets into your head that you know you have less motivation at some tournaments to play because prize money is much lower and you’re playing for example a smaller tournament and you’re tired afterward to play a big one, so you would skip it. So that for sure plays a little role in the motivation, in my opinion.
It’s important to note here that Svitolina was not complaining, she was simply honest in explaining the current situation from a top player’s perspective.