The LTA will provide financial support for players, coaches, officials and tennis venues during the suspension of the WTA, ATP and ITF tours, the organisation announced on Friday. The value of its support is expected to amount to around £20m in order to “protect the grassroots” of the sport in Great Britain.
The package will be aimed at the players most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic through a variety of grants and interest-free loans, including new grants for ATP and WTA singles players ranked between 101 and 750 and doubles players ranked between 101 and 250 who currently do not receive player funding.
According to the LTA, the support package will be funded by making “significant savings” and the utilisation of its reserves. The organisation will be adopting the government scheme to furlough staff while the LTA chief executive and the executive team will adopt a 20% wage deduction.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit the tennis community with particular force. Players and tournament officials are all private contractors, most of whom will be left without a source of income for the suspension period. Many personal coaches agree casual contracts with players and few are expected to be paid during the layoff.
“The first priority at this time is the health and wellbeing of everybody, and our thoughts are with anyone who has been affected by coronavirus. Our sport is far from exempt from its impact, and this pandemic has the potential to put the continued future growth of tennis at significant risk,” said the LTA chief executive, Scott Lloyd.
“We know that many involved in tennis in Britain are concerned about their futures and are facing significant challenges, and so our primary objective in announcing these unprecedented measures is to ensure clubs and venues remain viable and coaches and officials are not lost to the sport.”
Such has been the trepidation for players around the world, in recent weeks a change.org petition was established, imploring the International Tennis Federation, WTA and ATP to help those who will struggle during the break. It now contains over 1,500 signatures.
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