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Starvation video games?: Tennis foot troopers battle in time of virus

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Georgian player Sofia Shapatava is pleading with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to help out the hundreds of players who lost their livelihoods when the men's and women's tours went into a three-month lockdown. PHOTO: AFP

Georgian participant Sofia Shapatava is pleading with the Worldwide Tennis Federation (ITF) to assist out the a whole lot of gamers who misplaced their livelihoods when the boys’s and ladies’s excursions went right into a three-month lockdown. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS: With careers spent scratching round dusty outposts, generally with “just $100” of their pockets, tennis’ unheralded military of foot troopers declare they’re struggling to afford meals after being made unemployed in a single day by the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, Georgian participant Sofia Shapatava is pleading with the Worldwide Tennis Federation (ITF) to dig deep and assist out the a whole lot of gamers who misplaced their livelihoods when the boys’s and ladies’s excursions went right into a three-month lockdown.

“Players lower ranked than 250 will not be able to buy food in two-three weeks’ time,” warned Shapatava, who isn’t optimistic the ITF will look favourably on her plea.

“I honestly don’t think so,” she informed AFP.

“They replied that their plate is full and they will come back to me as soon as they can. But after that email they did not reply with anything.”

Shapatava, the world quantity 371, is a 16-year veteran of the tour.

However she performs principally secondary ITF occasions, a world away from the gilded Grand Slam world inhabited by multi-millionaires Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Shapatava has banked $354,000 in profession prize cash from nearly 1,500 singles and doubles matches.

Barely $3,000 has come her means because the flip of the 12 months after occasions in Andrezieux-Bouthion in France, Midland in Michigan, Nicholasville in Kentucky and the Californian venue of Rancho Sante Fe.

Nevertheless, in comparison with many, the 31-year-old is well-off.

There are comfortably over 1,000 gamers within the WTA rankings. The lads’s ATP Tour has simply as many.

Amongst a batch of girls at the moment locked within the lowest rank of 1,283 is 27-year-old Ksenia Kolesnikova of Russia.

In 2020, she has formally made simply $68.

Many gamers exterior the profitable high 100 historically complement their meagre incomes by teaching or enjoying in European membership leagues.

– ‘Sport will die’ –

Nevertheless, these dependable income streams dried up after governments worldwide banned massive gatherings to fight the unfold of the lethal coronavirus.

“I started the petition to help tennis players to be heard by ITF, after I talked to many of the people I know and about their plans for the next three months and I realised that some people won’t even be able to have food,” claimed Shapatava in her on-line weblog.

“My problem is that my sport will die as it is, it will die, because players who are ranked lower then 150 in the world will not be able to play.”

Coronavirus has introduced all tennis to a standstill till June eight on the earliest.

The whole claycourt season has been worn out with the French Open shifted to September-October as a substitute of its conventional Might-June slot.

Wimbledon might observe go well with subsequent week when organisers might postpone and even cancel fully the grasscourt Grand Slam occasion scheduled to begin on June 29.

Britain’s Tara Moore, the world 233, has made simply $2,500 this 12 months however her profession earnings stand at $473,500, boosted by profitable wildcards into the principle draw at Wimbledon.

In 2016, she made the second spherical on the All England Membership and pocketed a welcome $62,000.

“There are more important things like life and death, but a lot of players from smaller countries, (are) unable to earn any income, unable to claim benefits as they are considered ‘self-employed’,” wrote the 27-year-old Hong Kong-born Moore in assist of Shapatava’s petition.

“It will be tough for many players to survive the next couple of months.”

Former world quantity 15 Alla Kudryavtseva sympathised with the plight of the present crop.

The 32-year-old Russian, who famously dumped Maria Sharapova out of Wimbledon in 2008, remodeled $Three million in her profession, accrued principally from success on the doubles courtroom.

“I’ve financial savings, I’m not fearful. What about these juniors that selected tennis as their profession and are making the transition to execs? Who didn’t have an opportunity to avoid wasting something but? Who probably invested cash in themselves?

“They are not student loans.”

The ITF didn’t reply to requests for a remark.



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