Tennis Prose




Apr/20

8

Hot Topic: Prize money distribution

15-year-old Stefan Kozlov meets the press.

As pro tennis sits in an ice bath, the hottest topic in the industry is prize money distribution and finding a way to help the struggling players who are being hurt the most by the current situation.

Patrick Mouratoglou is a leading voice in trying to stimulate a discussion of the elite powers of tennis lending a generous helping hand to give some cash to the hard luck players ranked outside the top 100 who struggle to make ends meet. Andy Roddick said he’s open and eager to being a part of the generous elites who want to help spread the wealth or even donate to such a fund.

Perhaps the best solution is to re-balance the prize money distribution at the major tournaments. $3.6 million for the winners at a major is astronomical. And in these troubled times, if any elite player dares to insist on keeping the prize money distribution the way it is, he or she will be met with fierce retaliation and criticism. Extreme, self-centered greed in tennis won’t be tolerated.

Without going into much detail, Tennis has become a politically correct sport in recent years. And the politically correct position right now is to incorporate change to deduct the wealth of the winning elites and trickle it down to the losing legion of the professional tours. Winning, losing, what’s the difference? Just a few points each set.

Winner take all, or most of the jackpot, bothers a lot of people. Players like Noah Rubin, Stefan Kozlov, Evan King, John Patrick Smith, Gastao Elias, Rebecca Marino, Taylor Townsend, Nicole Gibbs, have devoted their lives to tennis just like Federer, Rafa, Serena and Djokovic. Should they have more to show for it in their bank accounts? I think everyone reading this article would answer yes.

So the time has arrived to make a necessary change happen. And it’s just a matter of time before the balance of power and wealth distribution is overhauled.

Then I can see possibly the next dilemma the tennis world will contemplate…

Equal prize money… for winners and losers.

(I’m only half-joking!)

·

23 comments

  • George · April 8, 2020 at 9:24 am

    The problem is the free market. Big names sell tickets.

    I spent several thousand dollars on airfare, hotel and front row seats to watch Federer for the Miami semifinals. I did the same to watch Federer and Djokovic at the Chicago Laver Cup.

    Yet I have never purchased tickets for my hometown tournament which is the Houston Clay Court. I just go to the qualifying the weekend before the tournament starts.

    Went to a final at a Challenger tournament in Houston last year. The crowd was small despite the high level of tennis and free beer.

    This is why tournaments pay such high appearance fees to the big names. That is how they get enough tickets sold early to make a profit or break even with sponsorships.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 8, 2020 at 9:42 am

    George, Tennis is a star driven sport. I guess it will come down to if enough pressure can be squeezed on the big stars to give back, to give to the players/victims who they conquered to gain the wealth. Roddick says count me in. Not sure though if he would have said that while he was conquering. Federer, Serena, Maria, Djokovic and Nadal will be constantly asked about giving back. My gut feeling is they will not take a stance of defiance. BJK could really help the cause if she pushes for equal prize money for winners and losers ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sam · April 9, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    What about spectators?? Hey, without us, there’d be no televised sports.

    Shouldn’t we get a cut too? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 9, 2020 at 6:40 pm

    Sam, tv or livestream audience gets to see live pro tennis for free. Good deal. Even if it’s Christian Harrison vs Paolo Lorenzi, it’s still pro tennis for a prize.

  • Andrew Miller · April 9, 2020 at 8:41 pm

    Just have two person tournaments. Not like they aren’t that way sometimes anyways (I say all this in jest).

    Yeah of course, I want to see challenger players become uber drivers. Not like they aren’t a few bad tournaments from this anyhows (I say this in jest too).

    Listen, so long as they top guys are making millions at every slam (I remember when US 400K went to the winners, and THAT’S STILL A LOT!), who cares? Everyone else is cannon fodder, anyways (I say this in jest too).

    I’ll leave it here: if you want two person tournaments, don’t bail out the lower ranked players. Just let them join the rest of the world have two person tournaments already. It will be the final leap from tennis as a sport to tennis as a former sport and future exhibition only circus event. It’s what everyone wants anyways.

    Can tell where I stand: make sure there’s a tour after this disaster. To have a tour you need tournaments and players and all the things that go with that. Find some WII tournaments or something so that players have some kind of livelihood right now, don’t let them die on the vine.

    And rethink having too much of the season in China. We have said for a while it made no sense: they have money but not enough fans or perhaps greedy tournaments that care about the media rights but not for growing the game. And now it’s a place that puts fans at the mercy of greater forces. Get them to improve as a tennis host.

  • Andrew Miller · April 9, 2020 at 8:52 pm

    Top players will say why us? And they have a point, they aren’t tournaments. But I have something for them to consider: who are they without their competitors? One of the greatest neglected tennis questions I think…that there was this whole supporting cast that had to exist for the top players to triumph. If your competitors aren’t making you better and you aren’t making them better, then are you actually on tour?

    So to me, no, the top players don’t “have” to compensate the longer ranked players. But, there has to be some mechanism that they can contribute to and should to keep the sport alive. Right now it’s charity: these guys and ladies are at the mercy like all of us of whatever we have now or can pull together (stinks). So anything helps.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 9, 2020 at 10:54 pm

    You have to wonder why now is there such sympathy for the losing players and the journeyman? When Geoff Grant made his film The Journeyman (great movie) it raised high awareness of the plight of the journeyman. But nobody offered any handouts or to reduce winners checks. Why has this movement been triggered now? Us Open series giving too much prize money? $3.6m is just way too much for one tournament win?

  • Andrew Miller · April 10, 2020 at 3:01 am

    Nice, tennis dark ages stuff. Seriously, just make it a two man tournament or three man tournament aka an exhibition. Who cares about all the players that appear in the TP comments! Ryan Harrison? Go become a Saints Front Office guy…admit it, you love football more than tennis. Noah Rubin? Perhaps a better podcaster than tennis player, hit the booth early my man. Some WTA players should definitely drop tennis for other interests, especially given their Instagram stardom. Just keep going in that direction…

    Let them eat cake.

    I don’t believe a word of what I wrote above. It’s not controversial to want players to make it through this tennis ice age or tennis second dark age. First dark age was I think when the SI cover story came out a while back about whether the sport had died (in the U.S. men’s tennis wasn’t on life support but it has sputtered most days in most of the last ten years).

  • George · April 10, 2020 at 7:43 am

    Those two man exhibitions make money. Federer sells out every one of them. One of my club pros is close to Paul Annacone. Apparently Federer’s minimum exhibition fee is two million. Who knows how much he makes with the Laver Cup since he owns it.

    Speaking of Laver, he spent most of his career making a living playing a small group of traveling pros.

    People will pay money to see the perceived best at anything contest each other, be it tennis, boxing, chess, etc. That is why the grand slams had to invite Laver and the other pros, because the public knew they were better.

    Even if the big tournaments paid only the winner, and all the current pros outside of the top ten quit, there would be thousands to take their place.

    Why do so many tennis parents like Dan keep pressuring their kids to win instead of enjoying childhood? Why do tennis journeymen spend a decade in poverty? The desire to hit the jackpot is so strong. It is why the Las Vegas and lotteries exist.

    The reason why the pay scale is so skewed toward the top players is simply the market forces of demand and supply.

  • George · April 10, 2020 at 7:46 am

    Those two man exhibitions make money. Federer sells out every one of them. One of my club pros is close to Paul Annacone. Apparently Federer’s minimum exhibition fee is two million. Who knows how much he makes with the Laver Cup since he owns it.

    Speaking of Laver, he spent most of his career making a living playing a small group of traveling pros.

    People will pay money to see the perceived best at anything contest each other, be it tennis, boxing, chess, etc. That is why the grand slams had to invite Laver and the other pros, because the public knew they were better.

    Even if the big tournaments paid only the winner, and all the current pros outside of the top ten quit, there would be thousands to take their place.

    Why do so many tennis parents like Dan keep pressuring their kids to win instead of enjoying childhood? Why do tennis journeymen spend a decade in poverty? The desire to hit the jackpot is so strong. It is why Las Vegas and lotteries exist.

    The reason why the pay scale is so skewed toward the top players is simply the market forces of demand and supply.

  • Andrew Miller · April 10, 2020 at 8:25 am

    Federer, Nadal make money in exos BECAUSE there is a tour on which they’ve triumphed at every level. No tour, real and trusted with straightforward rules and fans where they dominate, no exos.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 10, 2020 at 8:30 am

    That’s a darn good point Andrew. The ATP tour created all our heroes and champions and each freelance 2 man exo should give back some of the freelance profits. Fed Zverev should pay up. Fed made $10m for one week south American tour.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 10, 2020 at 8:37 am

    No kid can become a tennis king without the ATP tour. Lets imagine… The tour should forever own a part of each player from then on after each junior signs to play ATP. Like a kid and his godfather. ATP could be more heavy handed with its players. No player is bigger than ATP. See where I’m getting at?

  • George · April 10, 2020 at 8:44 am

    People will pay money to see the perceived best play each other. If there were no tour, the best would have to self promote like boxing. Of course boxing may have more broad appeal that no organized tour is necessary. Or maybe boxing would be more popular with more organization like the UFC?

  • George · April 10, 2020 at 8:57 am

    “ATP could be more heavy handed with its players. No player is bigger than ATP”

    If the ATP becomes too heavy handed, then the players would form a competing organization. That is what happened to the ITF.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 10, 2020 at 9:02 am

    Boxing’s failure is extreme greed. The best vs the best doesn’t happen now as often as it’s supposed to because entities in boxing create fraudulent bests and they know their “best” is a counterfeit pretender and will lose to the REAL best. Fraud Mayweather and Deontay Wilder are your best (or worse) examples of fraud bests. Wilder, the big fraud from Alabama, turned down $120m to fight Anthony Joshua. Mayweather ducked Pacquiao and over $100m for six years. Then he was forced into it by the head of CBS Showtime and they rigged the judges. Mayweather did nothing special in the fight, he just boxed to last the 12 rounds because he knew the judges were bought. Now Fraudweather can earn over $100m for a Pacquaio rematch but he’s ducking that now. Jack Kramer’s pro tours were all about the best playing the best. Night after night.

  • George · April 10, 2020 at 9:23 am

    WBA, WBC, WBO, IBF, etc. Boxing is an example to show that the perceived best will still make a lot of money with self promotion. Although it may not translate to tennis.

    It really depends if the top tennis players want to keep the ATP tour healthy so they don’t have to self promote and have an alphabet soup of competing organizations.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 10, 2020 at 9:36 am

    Mayweather was never the best, he just pretended to be and the propaganda media played along with the fraud. The ATP tour has never been stronger, the money and rewards for players has never been greater. There are a few players who whine but they are just whiners. If the 1% want to sacrifice some of their earnings for the 99% or the 70%, it will be one big happy family. Wonder how much Rod Laver is earning to have his name used on the Federer Cup?

  • George · April 10, 2020 at 9:54 am

    Scoop,

    Pacquiao had no chance against Mayweather even in his prime. Simple physics. Mayweather is bigger with a five inch reach advantage. Pacquiao would never be able to hit him. Mayweather has hardly been hit his entire career.

    Saw an ex-pro boxer take on all comers at a bar during spring break. Big, beefy football players types tried their best to land a punch. The old boxer dodged them all until they tired and then knocked them out with one punch.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 10, 2020 at 10:49 am

    George, Floyd was a fraud. He barely beat Oscar and Hatton and Pac totally destroyed both easily. Around the same time. Floyd saw how easily Pac destroyed Oscar and Hatton and was terrified and used 6 years of excuses to duck Pac. Pac was the true great of the era, Floyd was the protected franchise by the American system. Pac threw 8-10 punch combos that were so fast you couldn’t see the punches – a Pac opponent David Diaz told me this. Couldn’t see the punches. Pac was fast, lefty with scary power. Floyd was a bore who threw one or two shot combos. Notice how all of his “fights” were safe controlled slow sparring sessions. All the same. All opponents paid off to play soft. Floyd has even confessed twice on video interviews “I’m a coward. But I’m a rich coward.” “I’m okay with it.” Sorry George, you got fooled by a fraud.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 10, 2020 at 10:51 am

    Floyd did not have the guts or courage to fight the Pacquaio style, offensive aggressive fearless relentless, to excite the fans and give them value. Pac fought for money but mainly to please the fans. Floyd boxed to steal your money.

  • George · April 10, 2020 at 11:13 am

    “Floyd did not have the guts or courage to fight the Pacquaio style”

    Couldn’t agree more. Mayweather played the scorecard. But those are the rules.

    Even a Wilander can beat a power hitter like Lendl because a ball in the net and a winner is worth the same one point.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 10, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    Floyd and his controller Al Haymon fixed the fights for Floyd. They had the big guaranteed money and bought off the opponents. I got inside info on the Canelo fight, Canelo was paid a $5m bonus to play soft on Floyd and let Floyd win. Floyd really needed a big name opponent at the time because he was ducking Pacquiao (Haymon couldn’t buy off Pacquiao and his powerful promoter Bob Arum) so they bought off a young Canelo who was a good draw as a Mexican. Canelo’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya found out about it and didn’t even show up to the fight. Trust me, I know all about how corrupt and fraudulent Floyd’s counterfeit career was. A lot of people were deceived.

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