American tennis player Reilly Opelka has once again spoken out against the ATP, saying tennis players have had to take a bigger pay cut than other athletes and that tournament bubbles were only for ‘optics’.
Reduced prize money, due to the pandemic, has been a contentious issue in tennis recently.
At the on-going Miami Masters the total prize money is cut by 60 per cent, the champion’s purse is down by almost 80 per cent as compared to 2019.
Players like Denis Shapovalov and Elina Svitolina have hinted that player motivation may take a hit because there is less money on offer.
“Are we lucky to still have jobs? Yes, 100%. But if you compare to other sports… we are not so lucky. PGA players are not taking a 70% pay cut,” Opelka tweeted.
“I dont think the pandemic has anything to do with lack of transparency, or having tournaments open the books for its “partners” to see.”
The 6’11 American went on to explain how prize money was being ‘sourced’ from player bonuses.
“Recently ATP 250’s just “increased” prize money,” he wrote. “Basically they just repurposed money from the bonus pool. Which is a bonus check the top 12 players get at the end of the year.
“Lets take (Andrey) Rublev (who has won four ATP titles since resumption in August) for example.. he takes a half a million $ pay cut every ATP 500 he plays. The very least he deserves is 100% of his bonus pool $$$. What hes doing week in week out is incredible.”
In a string of tweets, Opelka also burst the ‘bubble’ myth.
“Other sports are not having to stay in “bubbles” either. Our bubbles are strictly for optics (besides miami open). Outside guests are always there, and tournament staff (that we are close contacts with) get to go home.”
Opelka lost 4-6, 2-6 to Alexei Popyrin in the opening round of Miami Masters.