Former Indian tennis star, Mahesh Bhupathi, has said that the careers of many athletes are on the line with COVID-19 wreaking havoc across the world.
The sporting calendar has suffered a significant effect, with actions canceled over the coronavirus pandemic. The tennis great is noting that without financial aids, many tennis players that are struggling now might say bye to the game due to lack of financial help from the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
So many tennis players have been voicing their concern for their colleagues, especially the ones below the 250 rank. Some of them are having a tough time with no money coming from anywhere with a total lockdown in many cities around the world over the virus that has killed over 70000 people and over a million infected globally.
Since the tennis calendar had been frozen over a month ago, Bhupathi noted that a prolonged break could spell a disaster for a majority of players worldwide as most of them live from paycheck to paycheck.
Speaking with Mail Today, Bhupathi revealed that only ten percent of tennis players have savings and endorsements they could fall back on with the rest relying on match expenses.
Bhupathi further noted that most tennis players survive on weekly paychecks, adding that players between the top 50 or 60 rank also follows the same
While noting that there is no comfort zone for most players, the Indian said that tennis is an expensive sport that involves travel costs, accommodation, and payment for support staff, which is a significant burden.
Speaking on the nature of the game, which he said is a play, win and earn type, Bhupathi pointed that lack of tournaments means the financially vulnerable players have nothing to fall back on.
He further revealed that the top players at the beginning of the year would commit with their support staff, which involves the coach, physios amongst others around $2 lakhs yearly year. So, the player will be spending what has been committed to the support staff.
In light of the present situation, he said there has to be a backup plan which can help players sustain their career as it is not a guaranteed profession.
Written by: Oladipupo Mojeed