ATP Tennis Chief Wants More Pay For Players On Second-Tier Challenger Tour
Tennis’s Challenger Tour for lower-ranked men "needs a boost in prize money to ensure more of them can earn a living as the cost of playing increases," according to Danielle Rossingh of BLOOMBERG. Pay on the ATP Challenger Tour, a stepping stone to the main circuit, "has lagged behind the ATP World Tour in the past decade." Prize money on the men’s tour jumped 57% to almost $86M in the 10 years to '13, compared with a 31% gain to $9M in Challenger events. ATP President Chris Kermode said, “The cost for players now of playing professionally, with coaches and physios and nutritionists, is significant. To maintain the standard, we need to be paying across the board.” The annual cost of playing pro tennis including travel with a coach was estimated at $143,000 in a '10 study by the U.S. Tennis Association. It can take players three or four years to break into the top 100, if they manage to do so, while the average career on tour lasts seven years. Players, including Andy Murray and Roger Federer, "have asked for an improvement in pay for lower-ranked players for years." Kermode "has appointed a five-man working group to review the Challenger Tour." The working group, which first met in Dubai in March, "will convene again at Wimbledon in June and come up with proposals on items such as prize money and an overhaul of the tournament structure." Kermode expects to present a three-year Challenger calendar by the U.S. Open, which starts on Aug. 25 in N.Y. (BLOOMBERG, 5/2).