Austrian star, Dominic Thiem who fell out of the ATP top 10 due to his injury break and is now in twelfth place in the world rankings, chose to get vocal about his concerns over the distribution of prize money in tennis.
In the podcast started by Real Madrid player, Toni Kroos and his brother, ‘Einfach mal Luppen’ which gets translated to ‘Just a Rag’, Thiem is harshly criticizing the prize money in tennis and is urging for a call for action about the same. Towards the end, Thiem praises the Italian system of carrying out tournaments that are future-oriented.
The great injustice – ‘Grand Slams make so much money and do nothing about it’
For next-gen tennis professionals, money is an important factor. Until a player has made his/her noticeable breakthrough, the player spends most of the time figuring out his/her tennis expenditure to continue playing. As a result, many budding talents do not make it. The gap between top professionals and not-so-successful tennis players gets bigger and bigger eventually.
Thiem is aware of the plight of the youngsters as he has been there. He explains in the podcast, “You can be a professional quickly. But in order to be able to make a living from it, you have to go all the way up.” In order for a sport to stand the test of time, it needs to be sustainable which is possible with a continuous influx of money that can lure more and more players to compete at the highest level.
Thiem broaches this issue fearlessly in the podcast as he lashes out at the Associations of all the four Grand Slams of tennis. He calls out the injustice by saying, “The four Grand Slams make so much money, and they didn’t do anything about being in exactly those four countries. Their four associations are by far the richest.“
Thiem’s solution, “You should give a small percentage to the futures. “This could at least enable the players to get out with zero or to earn a little something.”
Thiem has managed to earn more than 28 million US dollars in prize money so far and has probably earned a similarly substantial amount through advertising contracts but the point that the Austrian is trying to make is – How can you make the tennis tour attractive for more players?
Dominic Thiem praises the Italian approach for leading the way
The 2020 US Open winner came out in all praise for the standard of tournament landscape set by Italy. The Italians currently have eight players in the top 100 and according to Thiem, this is because, “The association puts a lot of money into the national tournaments“
As a result, it gives opportunities to good players to compete with the best international players in their native walls. Moreover, allows the local players to reduce fatigue caused by extensive travelling.
Speaking of the advantages of such a high budget, Thiem mentions, “The good players can compete with the best international players within a radius of 100 or 200 kilometres or train with them, but they don’t have to travel far. You can partly sleep at home. That is very reflected in the budget. ”
The strong budget allows Italy to deliver top players year after year in tennis.