Unity was the theme of ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi’s conversation with Steve Weissman and Paul Annacone on Thursday’s edition of Tennis Channel Live.
While the future remains painfully unclear during this global crisis, Gaudenzi is focused on strengthening collaboration between the men's tour, the WTA and the ITF.
"Nobody could foresee what is happening now," Gaudenzi said. "The dynamics are complicated and the uncertainty is still there, but the spirit of cooperation among the governing bodies has been awesome the last few weeks."
As of now, tournaments are postponed through July 12, but due to the ever-changing nature of the virus, Gaudenzi knows nothing is set in stone. While concerns surrounding the financial health of the sport grow with each passing week, the Italian confirmed the ATP has plans to provide relief for lower-ranked players who are struggling to replace prize money with other income sources.
"It’s difficult to have an exact date to return, the challenges for tennis are much higher than the other sports," Gaudenzi said. "We are going to try to step in and provide support to the players who don’t have the means to go on financially during these very difficult times. Something needs to be done now for the players, we will deal with the tournaments a little bit later when we have a clear idea on the calendar."
Before beginning his four-year term on January 1, Gaudenzi previously joined ATP Media’s board as an executive. Observing from the outside looking in, the 46-year-old picked up on a barrier that needed immediate addressing from top-level leadership.
"I noticed that most of the energy focus and resources were allocated to solving internal infighting, but in reality we don’t compete with each other, we compete other sports and other entertainment platforms," Gaudenzi said. "There is a big opportunity for tennis but we can only grasp it if we work together as a group. This crisis could divide us further or unite us once and for all, I hope the latter will happen."