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Players say talks needed on steps to protect them amid tour shutdown
"We tennis players have no financial security, there are some talks about measures that need to be put in place to protect the players and the sport," No. 132-ranked Gunneswaran said.
Published Mar 17, 2020
Players are putting their unscheduled—and unwanted—time off to good use by training and practicing, but those who have low rankings are concerned about their lack of earnings.
There are discussions going on among players about the issue, said Prajnesh Gunneswaran, confirming recent comments by Jeremy Chardy. The 30-year-old Indian, ranked below the Top 120, told the Times of India that there is a call for steps to be taken.
The ATP, WTA and ITF tours are all suspended for the next several weeks, with a longer hiatus now looking likely as countries ramp up their response to coronavirus.
"It wasn't ideal when we left home, but we didn't think it would get so bad," he said. "Also, we tennis players have no financial security, there are some talks about measures that need to be put in place to protect the players and the sport."
Gunneswaran, who had been scheduled to play the hard-court Masters events and then return to Europe to train, is now back in India. He said the tours being off would allow him to rehab some physical issues but was also eager to play following some recent injury interruptions.
"In the meantime, you treat it as a mid-season training block," he said. "The thing is sport prepares us, we're constantly facing adversity.
"In a way, you have to treat it as an injury period or when you are in rehab, where you are still paying your coach or your trainer, while you're not earning."
That's the same approach Ramkumar Ramanathan is using, having just got a win against Marin Cilic in Davis Cup that helped his confidence.
"So, in that way, this break hasn't come at a good time even though originally I had planned to take two weeks off. I'm going to work really hard on my game and fitness," said No. 185-ranked Ramanathan.
Jon Wertheim on what players are doing to adjust to the current situation:
Still, it's difficult for players to be off the tour.
"In the weeks where you are defending points, you play because you want to defend them. Then, other weeks, you want to make ground so that you can go higher in the rankings," said WTA No. 163 Ankita Raina, though adding that virus concerns had priority. "We all have to do everything we can."
The tours are to announce further plans for the schedule this week. There is restricted movement in place at most clay-court tournament locations.
Meanwhile, the French Open on Tuesday announced that it would move the start of the event to September 20, with a conclusion on October 4.