Australian Open runner-up Dominic Thiem says he doesn’t plan on donating funds to lower-ranked tennis players, branding some of them…
Australian Open runner-up Dominic Thiem says he doesn’t plan on donating funds to lower-ranked tennis players, branding some of them as ‘unprofessional’.
One of the most popular and well-liked figures on tour, Thiem’s comments have caused a stir across the tennis world, with the Austrian rejecting a proposal led by World No.1 Novak Djokovic that would see top five players donate $US30,000 each to struggling competitors on the ITF Futures circuit.
Djokovic’s proposed relief package would also include players ranked between 51-100 donating $US5,000.
However, Thiem believes there are more worthy causes to donate to at the moment, alluding that lots of players competing on the Futures circuit are there solely because they don’t have the required work ethic to rise higher.
“I’ve seen players on the ITF-Tour who don’t commit to the sport 100 per cent. Many of them are quite unprofessional. I don’t see, why I should give them money.”
Thiem has made $37.4 million in prize money in his career to date – and that doesn’t include endorsements or appearance fees.
The Austrian had already earned $2.7 million in prize money in 2020 after reaching his first Grand Slam final at the Australian Open in January.
Contributing $US30,000 to the relief fund would equate to 0.12 per cent of Thiem’s all-time winnings.
“I’d rather donate to people & institutions, who really need it,” Thiem said.
“There is no profession in the world, where you are guaranteed success and high income at the start of your career.
“None of the top players took anything for granted. We all had to fight our way up the rankings.”
Djokovic, the ATP player council president, consulted with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer about creating a relief fund for struggling players earlier this month.
“I spoke to Roger and Rafa a few days ago and we had a conversation about the near future of tennis,” Djokovic said. “How we can contribute to help lower ranked guys who are obviously struggling the most. A majority of players ranked between 250 to 700 or 1,000 don’t have federation support or sponsors and are independent and left alone.
“Players hopefully will contribute collectively to the relief fund that the ATP will distribute using models and criteria. … hopefully between $3-4.5 million will be distributed to lower-ranked players.”
ATP and WTA champions will also have the chance to decide how much prize money will be distributed amongst lower-ranked players from this week’s Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro.