Novak Djokovic, the No. 1 player in the world, took the lead in trying to start a fund to support lower-ranked players during the coronavirus pandemic, reaching out to the top 100 on the ATP Tour via letter, multiple outlets reported.
Djokovic, of Serbia, discussed his plan with No. 2 Rafael Nadal of Spain and No. 4 Roger Federer of Switzerland, saying he would like top players in singles and doubles to combine to contribute about $1 million US to the fund, which could ultimately raise as much as $4.5 million with funds from the ATP and the Grand Slam tournaments.
Players ranked Nos. 250-700 would be the recipients of money collected.
“We feel that we all need to get together and help these guys out,” Djokovic wrote in his letter, published by Sports Illustrated. “Many of them are thinking to leave pro tennis because they just can’t survive financially. Unfortunately there is a very large amount of players in the group between No. 250-700 that is not supported by federations or don’t have sponsors.”
Under the proposal, the top five players in the rankings would contribute $30,000 each. Players ranked Nos. 5-10 would be asked to contribute $20,000 each, while Nos. 10-20 contribute $15,000 each and Nos. 20-50 $10,000 each. Nos. 50-100, as well as the top 20 in doubles, would be asked to contribute $5,000 each.
That structure of funding from the players would come in at $1.05 million, and each Grand Slam event is being asked to add $500,000 each. A separate ATP fund also would contribute.
Djokovic’s goal is to give $10,000 to each player ranked Nos. 250-700, with additional funds being raised over the next year through tournament prize money.