The ATP will guarantee its players a minimum wage for the first time as part of a three-year trial to be launched in 2024, the governing body of men’s tennis said.
The “Baseline” programme will guarantee minimum income for the top 250-ranked singles players each season, with the ATP covering any shortfall should their earnings fall below the threshold.
For 2024, the levels are set at $300 000 for the top 100, $150 000 for those ranked 101st to 175th, and $75 000 for those between 176th and 250th in the world.
The ATP said it expected to provide financial support to between 30-45 players who meet the criteria.
“This assurance will empower players to plan their seasons with greater certainty, focus on their game and invest in their teams,” the ATP said in a statement on Tuesday.
“This includes covering the expenses of coaches and personal physios as well as travel.”
While the leading players on tour earn huge sums of money, including from endorsement deals, their lower-ranked colleagues largely depend on tournament earnings to make ends meet.
Many players endured severe financial struggles during the COVID pandemic when the season was temporarily halted, prompting big names like Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic to call for a solution.
The ATP said it will also commit to supporting players who compete in fewer than nine ATP Tour and Challenger Tour events in a season due to injury.
The thresholds for the injury protection initiative are set at $200 000 (top 100), $100 000 (101-175) and $50 000 (176-250) for 2024, it added.
ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi, who was re-elected for a second term in June, said the initiative was a “total shift” in the way the sport approached player finances.
“It represents our commitment to the players and their careers – fostering an environment where they can thrive and elevate the sport,” Gaudenzi said.
“It is also just the start of what we hope to achieve. Our ambition is to expand this game-changing initiative in the years to come.”
Original Story by www.sabcnews.com