Young Canadian star Denis Shapovalov believes that if ATP does not restore prize money a lot of the players are not going to be motivated to travel to tournaments.
One of the very tangible effects of the pandemic on the tennis tour has been the significantly reduced prize money, including the Grand Slams and ATP 1000 Masters events.
“I definitely think there’s going to be a lot of withdrawals and a lot of people not going to tournaments because the prize money is low,” Shapovalov said during a press-conference in Dubai on Friday.
“In a way it’s not motivating to play every week and play all the big tournaments. There’s not really a lot in it for us other than the Slams at this point, that are paying just as much or better.
“I feel like other sports have been able to find solutions and find ways to keep the prize money and keep their salaries. I feel like there are better ways to solve this problem and go about it from the ATP side.”
The upcoming Miami Open, for example, has slashed prize money by more than 50 per cent this year.
The tournament will offer $300,110 to the winners of the men’s and women’s singles, far less than the $1.354,000 offered to singles champions in 2019.
The total prize money at the Miami Open will drop from $16.7 million in 2019 to $6.68 million ($3.34 million for each of the ATP and WTA events) in 2021.
World No 12 Shapovalov, who lost to Lloyd Harris in the semifinals of the Dubai Open on Friday, said that he was also looking for ways other than the cushy paycheque to keep himself motivated.
“I’m just playing because I enjoy it, I enjoy playing the big tournaments,” the 21-year-old said.
“But also I’m finding other ways to get motivated. I went to Doha and Dubai this year, which are new tournaments, so it’s exciting, it’s something new.
“Hopefully the ATP or someone can do something to improve the prize money and bring it back to what it was. But it is what it is right now, you know. We have other obligations from sponsors, contracts that obligate us to play as well.
“So for sure, that’s definitely one reason why a lot of players are still playing, because otherwise, I feel like a lot of players just don’t want to play at all.”