Australia’s Andrew Harris has slammed the Big Three of tennis–Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal–for coming in support of lower-ranked players who are struggle financially due to the pay discrepancies in the game.
The sporting calendar has been shredded due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, suspending nearly all sorting tennis events. Tennis as aiming a return with the US Open, however, there is still uncertainity over scheduling of the Grand Slam.
Speaking on the Break Point podcast, Harris hit out the ATP for handling of the coronavirus pandemic and lack of communication on the body’s part. The Aussie also expressed disappointment with lack of concern from the head of ATP, former Italian tennis player Andrea Gaudenzi.
“We had a Zoom call three weeks ago now, it was the first bit of communication we had from the ATP since coronavirus hit in March. It was good that we finally got some communication, but it took way too long.
“He was pretty condescending on that Zoom call,” Harris said.
“You haven’t been transparent with any of the players. No one outside the top 100 knows what’s going on.”
Harris went out to say that the top 3 men’s players have not been doing their bit to support the players and also accused Roger Federer of being “all for the money” at the top. He added that Djokovic, the head of the Players Council, did not even “show his face” on the zoom meeting.
“Roger, Rafa and Novak. They’ve been at the top for so long, they almost forget what it’s like to be in these lower positions. I know Federer is all for the money at the top. He might say in public what people want to hear, that he’s all for money being redistributed to lower-ranked players but when it comes to voting, his preference is to keep it at the top.
“I think Novak out of the top three is pushing the agenda to give money to the lower ranks hardest. (I’m unsure) whether that’s enough, but out of those three, I think he’s doing the most. It doesn’t affect them so they’re not that invested. At world no. 1 or 2, you’ve got so much going on. Novak didn’t even join the Zoom call He’s head of the Player Council and he’s not even on the call, didn’t show his face. There were images of him playing soccer at the same time. That’s pretty ordinary.”
“The general public don’t have any idea of the discrepancies in prize money and the distribution of wealth right up the top. There’s got to be a structure where there’s more than just 100 guys making a living in a global sport after that, we’re pretty much losing money.
“I think we need a system where we can support 300 players where the 300th-best player in the world can earn an income to support themselves. It’s definitely skewed to the top but the governing bodies need to do more to help the guys outside the top 100 because there’s still a bloody good level outside the top 100. It’s just about getting the opportunities and taking them to get to the next level.”