ATP chief wants improved prize money, scheduling for Challenger events
Challenger events are to see increased prize money and improved scheduling, says ATP head Chris Kermode, adding that the issue was a priority for the organization.
''The cost to players now of playing professionally, with coaches and physios and nutritionists, is significant," he told Bloomberg. "To maintain the standard, we have to be paying across the board."
The story noted that tour prize money has increased 57 percent to $86 million over the past ten years, while Challenger prize money has gone up 31 percent to $9 million. This year, the ATP has increased $35,000 Challengers to $40,000, and requires accommodation for players at some $50,000 events.
Players in the lower ranks have become increasingly vocal about rising costs, also helping to prompt increased prize money in the early rounds at Grand Slams.
Scheduling is also an issue, with players wanting Challengers organized in similar regions week to week to minimize costs of travel, as well as allowing them to play ATP events. Kermode said the tour was also looking at this.
"It's a question of, are they in the right place at the right time? Does a challenger tournament fit in with maybe playing qualifying for a big ATP event?" he said.
A working group has been organized to look at the issue and suggest improvements.