Aryna Sabalenka, WTA No. 1 and claims leader
The die is cast. The famous phrase attributed to Julius Caesar fits perfectly to describe the move that the world’s best tennis players took in early October: a formal, precise and detailed request for better conditions for all tennis players participating on the WTA Tour, addressed to the controversial CEO of women’s tennis Steve Simon. The matter, which was initially supposed to remain confidential, became public through the article published in the magazine “The Athlete”, who took the opportunity to question the players during the surreal conditions of the WTA finals in Mexico, and something has been leaked about this important letter and union action. Sabalenka, Swiatek & C. are really tired of living on a tour that makes decisions with complete disorganization and carelessness, so much so that they are taking action, also thanks to the new push they represent PTPA of Djokovic and Pospisil, which also counts Ons Jabeur as one of the most active and convinced members. According to the article, Steve Simon would have prevented the players officially affiliated with the PTPA from sitting at the table at a meeting organized a few days ago in Cancun, a fact that, if confirmed, would be of some importance.
The letter, signed by at least 20 tennis players, almost all of whom are among the best in the world, was drawn up during the Asia trip and sent to the WTA on October 5, but for now the players appear to be waiting for a written response.
What do you ask? Above all, it is about listening to them and taking into account their wishes so that they can live a competitive year with more serenity, both from an economic point of view and in managing their obligations, starting with travel. The tennis players are demanding better pay, a more flexible and sustainable commitment that allows them to have greater physical and mental well-being, greater support for tennis mothers so that they can more easily care for their children and greater representation on the players’ council, a body that seems practically formal , but is ignored when it comes to important decisions (calendar, salary, guarantees, support).
The WTA Finals case sparked violent protests, but the discontent had been there for a long time, just waiting for such a clear and sensational fact to explode. Vondrousova, for example, posted an Instagram story thanking the Mexicans in Cancun for literally going out of their way to help her, but pointing the finger at those who didn’t have the time, resources and means have provided to prepare the end of the annual event appropriately. It seems that the workers responsible for preparing the field, which was completed the day before the tournament began, could not have done anything beforehand because they did not physically have the materials for construction, so it was possible to do something Give just one layer on the playing surface, good building rules recommend many more steps and over time so that everything settles down and becomes even.
Prize money and guarantees remain a very important tool. It appears that players have requested guaranteed annual earnings of $500,000 for those who finish the year in the top 100 of the rankings, $200,000 for those who finish the season in the 101-175 range, and 100,000 US dollars for the range of 175 to 250. In addition, a guaranteed fund was requested to provide financial compensation in the event that a tennis player suffers a serious injury or becomes a mother, and with the aim of equaling the total prize money of most tournaments to the level of the ATP tournament.
As stated in the article by The athlete, Steve Simon held a few meetings with some players, but none of them ended with a good result, wall to wall. Apparently, the tennis players were pressured to state in interviews how happy they were to be taking part in a prestigious event like the WTA Finals “wherever it is held”, a statement that may be linked to a possible move of the tournament to Saudi Arabia There is a possibility that all actors – with a few exceptions – assess the situation of women in the Arab country completely negatively.
While we wait for the tennis players to express their opinions, confirm the dispatch of this letter and the actual requests made to the WTA, all that remains is to point out how rough the waters are. A storm that seems to have only just begun.