Professional Tennis’ major governing bodies have joined forces to create a $6m Player Relief Programme aimed at supporting athletes who are financially affected by the COVID-19 crisis. 

The initiative is in collaboration with the ATP, WTA, ITF along with the four Grand Slam tournaments in order to unite the tennis world and provide some of its athletes with funding. A return to professional tennis is expected to begin on July 13 2020, however, for some tennis players the financial cost of suspending the sport has already severely hit the athletes.

For the majority of professional tennis players tournament funding and sponsorship agreements are essential to creating revenue. By having no competitions to compete in it has left some of the athletes in precarious financial situations as they are unable to compete for prize money. 

The ATP and WTA will be responsible for the distribution of the Player Relief Programme which will see funds be split equally between men and women. In total the initiative is expected to target around 800 singles and doubles players. Eligibility will take into account a players ranking as well as previous prize money earnings to ensure that only those in need will be given funding. 

A spokesperson stated: “The creation of the Player Relief Programme is a positive demonstration of the sport’s ability to come together during this time of crisis. We will continue to collaborate and monitor the support required across tennis with the aim of ensuring the long-term health of the sport in the midst of this unprecedented challenge to our way of life, and our thoughts remain with all those affected at this time.”

Funding may increase above $6m through initiatives as tennis’ stakeholders provide the ‘financial backbone’ of the programme. Projects such as auctions, player donations and virtual tennis games and more, will provide opportunity for further support of the programme moving forward.