21 players sign letter to the WTA, requesting better schedule, more pay


A group of 21 top women’s tennis players have banded together to demand sweeping changes in the sport, according to The Athletic. The stage for this historic stand was set during the China Open in early October, where heated discussions and player meetings took place. The core of their demands revolves around higher pay, a more sustainable schedule, expanded childcare options, and official representation through their independent player organization, the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA).

Aryna Sabalenka

The call for change

This movement, driven by Aryna Sabalenka, Ons Jabeur, Elena Rybakina, Marketa Vondrousova and other stars has been simmering for months, finally reaching a crescendo in the form of a three-page letter sent to the WTA on October 5th. The missive articulated the players’ desires for immediate attention to their concerns. Paula Wolecka, a spokesperson for Iga Swiatek, confirmed that the four-time Grand Slam champion had sent her own letter to the WTA leadership, and was part of a “united front here in wishing for a real change.”

The demands

Higher pay: At the forefront of the players’ demands is the issue of compensation. The athletes argue for a more equitable distribution of revenues, ensuring that the toils and talents of the players are justly rewarded.

Sustainable schedule: Tennis is a grueling sport, both physically and mentally demanding. The players are calling for a more balanced and manageable calendar that takes into account the well-being of the athletes.

Childcare support: The players are pushing for an expansion of childcare services, recognizing the need to support athletes who are also parents.

Official representation via PTPA: The players are seeking representation on the WTA Players Council through their independent player organization, the PTPA. This move signals a desire for a more direct say in the decisions that shape their professional lives.

Awaiting response

The players are still awaiting a written response from the WTA. The letter, which outlined each requested improvement, set a clear deadline of October 13th for a substantive commitment from the WTA. At this week’s WTA Finals in Cancun, the elite players are very dissatisfied with the conditions and talk loudly about inadequate organization.


  1. The Women’s Tennis Blog does a great service to women’s tennis and for all of tennis. You are a valuable member of the ecosystem that makes women’s tennis the most popular of all women’s sports.

    I’m almost amazed that this important story has not been picked up by more news services. I live in the United states where men’s sports such as football, basketball and baseball are so over-marketed and coveted, a news story like this would be covered in every major newspaper and broadcast and cable television network. CNN, MSNBC, Sports Illustrated, the New York Times and Washington Post would cover and analyze every detail — if it were a men’s sport. Ironically, I have not heard this story on the American Tennis Channel. Perhaps I missed it.

    Thanks for bringing awareness to this issue. In a very real way, you are carrying on the work that Billie Jean King and the other iconic 8 other players started when they created the Slims tour.

    I have said for many years that that your chances of being injured in women’s tennis is greater than being injured playing American football. Amazingly, this fact continues to be a great secret. Women’s tennis is one of the most dangerous sports in the world if one’s goal is to stay injury-free. So many players, like our beloved Jelena Jankovic, have had their careers ended, and their accomplishments limited because of injury. Often, we can’t see the fact that a player is playing in pain or with limited mobility. I am pleased to see players working together to try to force change.

    On the other hand, I am not pleased to see that it has taken player action to press the issue. The WTA should not have to be pushed to respond to these concerns. Furthermore, it is my hope that the WTA would become more of a “listening” organization, and as such that it would take proactive steps to ask women’s tennis fans what their feedback is concerning the WTA tour.

    Why? Because, I believe the WTA is under-performing. Grossly under-performing. I believe that there are things that the WTA could do, but is not doing, that could fill more seats at events, generate more revenue, and promote the sport. I watch American football and I see women who are fanatical about this all-male sport, yet have never attended a women’s tennis match. Given the tremendous talent and expertise of women on the tour, it is almost unbelievable that seats at an event could go unfilled.

    Ultimately, as a business the WTA will make decisions primarily based on financial considerations, and it will respond to player concerns only if pushed. My hope is that the organization starts thinking more about how they can change to create a more marketable product and take better care of its “employees” — the players. The two goals are not mutually exclusive.

    All the best to the “21,” and thank you for shedding light on this.


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