ITF to create player panels for better communication with lower-ranked players

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The ITF World Tennis serves as a transition circuit between junior and senior game and allows more professionals a chance to earn by helping them to move upward to ladder to play on the WTA Tour for the women and the men’s ATP.

But with the closure of the tennis circuit since early march due to coronavirus, people who depends on tournament winning have been left in difficult situation. Georgia’s Sofia Shapatava, the world’s 375th ranked women’s singles player, filed a petition asking financial help from the ITF and also requests to communicate better with lower-ranked professionals.

The panel will provide a forum for players to provide their input and have their say on how the tour is run and will be a further opportunity for the ITF to engage with the player community,” the London-based governing body said. At one side tennis is moneymaking sport for people at the top, while lower professional people is struggling to make ends meet.

The men’s ATP, the WTA, the ITF and the organisers of ther four Grand Slams have come to work together to help the needy by creating an emergency fund. “It is vital that the views of players are represented at all levels of the sport and across the globe,” ITF chief David Haggerty said.

The men’s and women’s players will each elect a panel of seven current player members, who will have voting rights. An ITF – appointed chair and an ITF – appointed coach will also be in the panel but neither will have a vote. ATP ranking below 350 and WTA ranking no higher than 151 will be able to nominate a fellow player or stand in a election and elected members will serve two-year terms which will make recommendation to the World Tennis Tour Committee.

Multiple Grand Slam winner Mary Pierce of France will be the chairperson of women’s panel and men’s panel will be led by Australian Mark Woodforde, 17 time Grand Slam doubles champion.
There would be no tennis without the players, so it is vital that their voice is heard and that their views are considered when making decisions about how to run the Tour,” said Pierce.

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