World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the current President of the ATP Player Council, revealed a proposal late Friday that would generate more than $4 million as part of a Player Relief Fund.
The ATP Player Council also includes Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who rejoined last year after a fallout emerged prior to the start of Wimbledon. The plan Djokovic outlined, shared in a tweet by Tennis Channel’s Jon Wertheim, would see members of the Top 100 in singles and the Top 20 in doubles contribute based on a sliding scale. Those inside the Top 5 would put in $30,000 apiece, followed by $20,000 for players ranked Nos. 6-10, and so forth:
This @DjokerNole letter to fellow players with the buy-in from Rafa and Roger is truly remarkable. We will be telling our grandkids about the big 3- and some of the stories may even involve tennis... pic.twitter.com/y7DsdUDsAU— Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) April 17, 2020
While the letter wasn’t published in its entirety, there was a sense of optimism that the ATP and all four Grand Slam events would each provide $500,000 as part of an effort to support the sport’s competitors most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal is rumored to be targeting players ranked between No. 250 and 700, with $10,000 allocated to each.
@StefMylesTennis @tennismagazin @wwwtennisnetcom rumors from today ITF meeting that there will be support of ATP, Grand Slams, WTA, ITF for lower ranked players between 250 to 700 . Around 10.000 Dollar each player, including donation of top 100 ATP players @DTB_Tennis— dirk hordorff (@dirkhordorff) April 16, 2020
"Ideas are easy. Pulling the funds, figuring out where they're coming from, figuring out a way to organize them, figuring out how to distribute them, as we have seen on bigger issues than struggling tennis players is not the easiest thing to do," Andy Roddick said on Tennis Channel Live Friday.
The 2003 US Open champion says it will be a "big deal" if the stimulus program materializes, and remains hopeful that it will.
"I think these are probably the people that need it most. I think if it's a collaborative issue between the different tennis entities all the better," said Roddick. "I think this is great news."
Djokovic, Nadal and Federer also unified in suggesting that should the 2020 ATP Finals take place, 50 percent of the event's prize money should be put into the fund.
"Obviously, we don't know if that event will happen this season. If it doesn't happen, we should all contribute [a] significant amount of prize money from Australia [in] 2021," wrote Djokovic. "Not just the three of us, but all [of] the players that are part of the Finals or Australian Open. That way it's fair that everyone contributes."
All three have each used their platform to combat the coronavirus locally: the Serbian bequeathed €1 million in his country for hospital supplies and equipment, Nadal launched an €11 million campaign alongside basketball star Pau Gasol, and Federer donated one million Swiss Francs to aid families in his nation.
Additional reporting from Jordaan Sanford.