Aussie Millman questions Big Three’s $14m move
Australian No. 3 John Millman has questioned the planned initiative from tennis' "Big Three" of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to support lower ranked professionals during the coronavirus crisis.
World No. 1 Djokovic has been in touch with fellow ATP Player Council members Federer and Nadal to discuss ways to assist players facing financial struggles amid the pandemic.
And that may involve prizemoney from the ATP Finals and the Australian Open going towards a special relief fund.
But Millman, ranked 43 in the world, wrote on Twitter. "If the concern is to help players ranked 250-700 in the world why has it taken a global pandemic to realise this?
"Surely over the many years of top-end heavy prize money increases we maybe should have maybe distributed the spread a little more.
"All I'm saying is this issue has been around for a while and for a fair chunk of that time the lower ranked players and what they were making was never the priority ... increase in prizemoney at top end was."
Millman responded to multiple tweets others were making about his position on the matter. Replying to one Twitter
Here’s a couple of tweets where I’ve talked about unfairness of the lower tours. A quick google search will show how uncomfortable I’ve always been with the top end heavy sport and often referenced the struggle.. because I’ve properly lived through the lower levels... https://t.co/kLeVDhExXj pic.twitter.com/PWQVAULdkj— John Millman (@johnhmillman) April 19, 2020
user who suggested he was "never satisfied", Millman wrote: "Never be satisfied with things that aren't working."
The Aussie also unearthed previous tweets of his where he had discussed the issue of pay inequality to demonstrate he has always been passionate about it.
Djokovic, who is also president of the ATP Player Council, was quoted by French paper L'Equipe, in a letter calling for the top 100 to make donations on a sliding scale.
Under the proposal Djokovic and the rest of the top five would donate $AUD48,000 each, players ranked 5-10 would donate $30,000 each, players ranked 10-20 would donate $23,500 each, players ranked 20-50 (like Millman) would donate $15,000 and those ranked 50-100 would donate $8000 each.
It has also been reported the governing bodies for the men's (ATP) and women's (WTA) tours would contribute, as would the grand slams and International Tennis Federation (ITF).
It's been estimated the various contributions could raise between and $AUD8 million and $AUD14 million.
Djokovic warned that many lower ranked players may have to leave tennis if they cannot make it work financially.
"If we don't have any events (in 2020), maybe next year's Australian Open prize money can be contributed to the fund," the Serb added.
"I'm glad the tennis eco-system is coming together. Everyone realises the base of tennis. These guys ranked 250 onwards are the ones making the future of tennis."
The four grand slams have recently increased the amounts paid to those losing in the first round.
Originally published as Aussie questions Big Three's $14m move