Argentine tennis player Marco Trungelliti came down heavily on tennis authorities and star players for creating a system that looks at interests of only a chosen few, while leaving the lesser players to fend for themselves.
“I received a grant of $4,000 from the ATP and of course I appreciate it,” the 30-year-old said in an interview with Le Temps earlier this month.
“But is it logical that a player ranked 130 (Trungelliti is ranked 231) in the ranking cannot go three months without getting paid in a sport where there are so many millionaires? I don’t think so, but I don’t know more because the ATP is an opaque organization that communicates very little and to a very few players.”
With the tour suspended due to Coronavirus, tennis players have been out of a job for almost five months.
And while Novak Djokovic headed the ATP player fund efforts to financially help out lower-ranked players, according to Trungelliti the silence of legends like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal has been telling.
“I wasn’t expecting anything, but it would have carried a whole different message, prompting others to speak up rather than shut up,” the Argentine said.
“By remaining silent while giving interviews or posting all the time on social media, these players have encouraged corruption, even passively.”
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Trungelliti grabbed headlines in 2018, when he just about entered the French Open main draw as a lucky loser. With a clutch of last-minute withdrawals, the Argentine managed to sneak into the round of 128. But having lost in the qualifiers, he had already made his way to Barcelona, Spain.
His 10-hour car journey from Barcelona to Paris, with his 89-year-old grandmother, to make it in time for the opening round at Roland Garros, remains one of the most endearing stories of the event.
Earlier, however, Trungelliti had made news for helping the Tennis Intergrity Unit bust a match-fixing ring. He was approached by a few match-fixers in 2015, and reported the incident to the TIU. Their investigation in 2017 led to three Argentine players being banned.
“There are a lot of cowards in tennis. Me, I don’t mind saying what I see and what I know,” he says.
“In tennis, too many individuals make decisions at their own expense based on private interests. The system is bad.
“I always compare it to a city of 3000 inhabitants of which only 70 inhabitants would live well. Who would accept that? Tennis accepts it, and offers 200 dollars in winnings after a week of work when punters offer you 3000 or 5000 to rig a game.”