Vasek Pospisil called ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi ‘incredibly ignorant’ after the Italian claimed that the lower-level Challenger Tour would never be financially viable for players.
“In the Challenger Tour you should be able to at least break even and pay your costs,” Gaudenzi was quoted as saying in an interview.
“But you have to be conscious that this is sort of like a university. It’s an investment. Then go and move into the pro tour where you have a job.
“I don’t think it will ever be possible to have a sustainable tour at that level [the Challenger Tour] simply because it lacks the interest of the fans and the engagement of the sponsors, broadcasters and ticket revenues.”
The ATP Challenger Tour is a link between ITF Futures level and the ATP Tour. But since the prize money at such tournaments is much lower than the tour events, players on this circuit struggle to make ends meet.
Gaudenzi’s comments did not go down well with a lot of tennis players, including PTPA co-founder Pospisil.
The PTPA, which was established in 2020, seeks to be a player-only body and wants to address the gaps the in system.
“This is incredibly ignorant from the so-called leader of the ATP and the sport of tennis,” Pospisil tweeted, in response to the ATP chief’s statement.
“A multi-billion dollar industry yet this man feels it’s ok for only the top 100 players to make a living. This is what happens when you completely monopolize the sport.”
Four-time doubles Grand Slam champion and Australian Open CEO Paul McNamee also called Gaudenzi’s comments “highly disrespectful to quality players, who have no choice!”
McNamee claimed “perhaps it’s because he’s so focused on expanding the [ATP Masters] 1000’s to two weeks each, which will reduce the number of tournaments even further?”