Sergiy Stakhovsky Talks Tennis: Prize Money Issues, Federer-Nadal Rift, Slower Courts
by Tom Gainey | April 10th, 2012
  • 199 Comments

You may not have seen this interview with Sergiy Stakhovsky over the weekend – I had not, but I’m grateful for the link sent my way.

Reading through the interview, which was translated from this original Ukrainian article, Stakhovsky candidly details life as a non-elite face in men’s tennis. And the picture he paints isn’t a good one. The 26-year-old, who has earned over $2.3MM and ranks No. 71 this week, opens up about the the struggles of being a pro tennis players and the issues swirling in the sport.

I encourage everyone to read the full text on the Let, Second Serve blog. Here are some highlights to wet your appetite:

On prize money tennis:

I’m in the negative after the IW and Miami Masters. About five thousand. And that’s while reaching the second round in Indian Wells.

This year I’ve been flying economy. From London to Dubai and back I flew for 1200 Euros. And we can’t order tickets in advance. In addition, you can’t give up the cheap tickets. Often, we buy the tickets on the day of departure. And those are completely different numbers.

In a year, I spend 170 thousand Euros on the “game expenses” category. Last year, only the tickets cost me 85 thousand. I earned $428 thousand. Take out 30%, on average, for taxes.

Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray – that’s simply another world. … We simply don’t exist in comparison with them.

Players who aren’t inside the top-20, don’t have any money, except for the prize money. Contracts, clothes – that’s all for the top-5 or top-10 players.

On the slowing of the courts:

This year, the fastest courts were in Dubai. We came to Indian Wells with the hope that the courts will be at least the same as last year. But they laid a new surface, and they became super-slow with high bounce. In Miami it’s the same, and additionally the balls fluff out more because of the humidity.

Actually, the courts used to be too fast, and they decided to slow it down to make the game more colorful. But they overdid it. And nobody really liked the final in Australia, which lasted 6 hours. … The fastest court was in Bercy. … And now, even in Wimbledon the grass grows the wrong way – to slow down the game.

On Federer-Nadal:

Federer plays a less physical tennis. Someone has more God-given talent; someone has more of something else. For me, Nadal is more talented in terms of discipline and hard work. Thanks to that he became the No.1 player at the time. But Federer – that’s a tennis player from God, a talent which found “his own” sports field.

Everyone learns from Federer. In 2006-2008, Roger moved tennis in an absolutely different direction. He played so quickly that everyone followed him. But then the slowing down of courts started.

On Federer v Nadal, off court, rift:

(Roger’s) a good person, but too neutral for my taste. He’s too Swiss. He wants to keep out of any bad stories too much. When players want to change something, he looks at it too passively, because it can harm his image.

I respect Nadal more in that context, because he openly supports the players’ interests.

(Nadal) wasn’t offended by Federer, exactly. He was disappointed that his ideas – useful for the tour, as he thinks – aren’t heard.

Federer says the same, just not in the presence of all the other players. He doesn’t want to speak publicly about certain things. Because if suddenly there’s a scandal with the boycott of Grand Slams by players, it can be connected to his name.

In fact, Nadal didn’t leave because of Federer, and the players’ council, for the most part, doesn’t decide anything. It’s a consulting body. But there are three people who represent the players in the ATP. And Rafa thought that they didn’t defend the players’ interests in the extent that they should. And about certain things, I’m prepared to agree with him.

On having his kids becoming pro tennis players:

if I had kids now, I’d never send them to play tennis … If I didn’t make it in the top-100 – what next? I mean, I become a tennis instructor, and what life is that? To be on court from 8 till 8 for the rest of my life, to play with amateurs? Yes, it can be financially rewarding, but it’s a hell of a work.


Also Check Out:
ATP Player Council’s Stakhovsky, Simon Ready to Take Down WTA Women’s Tennis
Federer Says He’ll Investigate Why The ATP Turned Down An $800K Infusion Into Indian Wells Prize Money
Sergiy Stakhovsky: I Can Tell My Grandkids, I Kicked The Butt Of Roger Federer
US Open Announces 37% Increase In Prize Money, Singles Champions Will Earn A Record $2.6M
Wimbledon Announces 40% Rise In Prize Money, Players React Favorably

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199 Comments for Sergiy Stakhovsky Talks Tennis: Prize Money Issues, Federer-Nadal Rift, Slower Courts

roy Says:

the ‘difficulties’ of top100 players, tough to take seriously.
players spend a lot on crap they don’t need. parasitic ‘professionals’ like trainers etc. players with discipline who don’t need to be spoon fed can save a lot of money. a bit more research on plane tickets can save you a lot of money. etc etc.
economy class? wow, what a horror story.

federer’s game is only less physical because he wins a lot of free points on serve.

court speed is very subjective and players opinions are unreliable.
the ball seems more of an issue than the surface. heavy balls,fluffed balls are slower and strain on players. probably something could be tweaked. but carefully.
like he said, surfaces were too fast and there was a reason something was done. players hit harder than ever and even in altitude now, players complain about ball control issues.

federer didn’t stop dominating because of surface. he stopped because nadal and co. hit their prime.

and from this article we learn something quite clear to a lot of players now: federer is not a leader of men or a person with much spine.


C.O.Z.industries Says:

Another person assuming Federer’s play is all ‘God-given talent’. It’s incredibly unfair to discredit his talent by saying he hasn’t worked for it like someone like Nadal. God doesn’t come into it.

‘too neutral for my taste. He’s too Swiss’
OK then, go with Nadal’s idea, and let’s see what that does for players at his end of the rankings. Even if Federer’s not being very vocal, there’s no way he was going to back down to Nadal about the 2 year rankings etc. And at least he stayed on the players’ council rather than making some kind of childish protest and quitting- what’s that going to achieve?

What is this guy on? What other interests is Nadal serving other than his own here? Does he really think Nadal stands up for players more than Federer?
Well it’s not hard to guess who he voted for players council president last time.

Federer offending Nadal? Interesting, because last time I heard, it was Nadal opening his big mouth to the press about Federer, and Federer playing ‘the rift’ down.

It’s ridiculous that Sergiy think that the reason Federer isn’t stamping his feet like Nadal is because he doesn’t want to blemish his reputation. He needs to wise up.

It’s obvious which side I fall on here, but what’s more disappointing is hearing a player which is completely swayed towards one player like this.

Bleurgh, won’t be supporting him from now on.


C.O.Z.industries Says:

Roy, funny you should say that, because at least Roger didn’t quit his job on the players’ council.


jake Says:

This player does not know what he is talking about. Regardless of your profession, athlete or may it be an office work, everyone needs to know how to balance things specially your financials. Based on what this pro tennis player described, he still has 200000+ balance net of airfares. You may have netted like 80000 a year, that is not too bad. If you play better than the rest, then you will get rewarded. Same thing as in my profession.
Federer worked his ass same as all the other players. So just work harder.


Ben Pronin Says:

Tennis fans = vultures.

This is one of the most open interviews we’ll ever see from a tennis player and all you guys can do is complain about his views?

“Same thing as in my profession.” Jake, are you a professional athlete? If not, your profession is irrelevant. Stakhovsky specifically compared tennis to other pro sports and that a solid point in doing so.

This also isn’t the full interview. If you had read the full interview, you’d know that Stakhovsky is actually friends with Federer and talks to him regularly. He’s not super biased towards Nadal.

And how can you criticize him for getting a professional trainer? Why not criticize Federer and Djokovic for doing the same then? Clearly, everyone needs to be “spoon fed.” Unbelievable criticism right here. Where is all this anger coming from? The fact that he said Federer is “too Swiss”? Oh no, he offended your deity! And how dare he claim Federer is incredibly talented? The nerve of this guy!


racquet Says:

I saw this a few days ago but hesitated to put up a link to it because I suspected it would start a flame war. But since you opened the door….

Overall I think it’s a fascinating insight into the travails of a lower ranked player and the players’ council. It’s also noteworthy to discover that a non-elite player shares Nadal’s views. So, first Nadal then Davydenko and now Stakhovsky. hmmm

BTW, I don’t think the comments about neutrality were disrespectful at all. He was basically acknowledging Roger’s other skill: PR. There has never been a more consummate PR man in tennis.


Casual Observer Says:

On the slowing of the courts, he’s wrong. Wimbledon was slowed in the early 2000s as was the US Open and the other smaller hardcourt tournaments followed shortly after those changes. The only major that changed recently was the Australian Open. The court changes are overstated because aside from the AO, they all changed even before Federer won a single major. It is no coincidence, in my opinion that Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have translated success on one surface into success on all surfaces after these changes.


nelson goodman Says:

Totally agree with Ben. Super interesting, expansive interview, not that you’d know it from the comments here – a childish litany of nit-picking. And I’m a huge Fed fan, but if this is how thin-skinned folks are gonna be, well, then no wonder we Fedfans get a bad rep.


nelson goodman Says:

And on substance, one odd thing was that it wasn’t really clear on what specific issue(s) Stakhovsky agrees with Nadal. I mean S’s concern is pay for the 20-100 or so range, while Nadal has made clear, I thought, that this focus was on pay for top 25 or so. Also, the 2-year ranking won’t really address any of S’s concerns, and what he said about it seemed ambivalent. What’s left on the Nadal agenda?


Oleg Says:

In tennis, if you’re not in the top 25 you really don’t get rewarded for your efforts. This sport is very harsh.

Let’s compare that with the 75th best NFL player, NBA player, soccer player in the world.

NFL (based on http://bleacherreport.com/articles/639581-ranking-the-top-100-players-in-the-nfl/page/3)

Sample player: Davis Harris (Signed a four-year, $36 million contract)

NBA (based on http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/7038223/nba-player-rankings-71-80)

Sample player: Wilson Chandler (currently on a 5 years / $37 million with the Denver Nuggets).

Soccer (based on http://www.castrolfootball.com/?page=rankings)

Sample player: Clint Dempsey ($3 million yearly)

Stakhovsky makes something close to $500,000 a year, and probably has higher expenses than all the previous athletes.

Lower-ranked tennis players should be rewarded better. Especially considering that once they hit 30-35 their careers are essentially over and their future prospects not great.


jerry Says:

Wow, his comment is, why would I want to work 8-8 with amateurs, thats (*$&%( hard work. wow, really? heaven forbid you’d have to work a 12hr day. man, all those hard working people out there who work 10-12+hrs a day to make a living a feed their families, what a bunch of losers. they must have been stupid in life to have to do that.

this guy is spoonfed jealous jackass. jealous because he has to scrape buy with a few $100G’s in the bank each year for being a moderate (by pro standards) professional tennis player.


Dave Says:

Let’s think about what Stakhovsky said using logic and common sense.

Do you know of any 26 year olds who have created revenues of $2,316,861 from their business (probably $1.6 million after deducting expenses)? Or even any 26 year old whose business still made revenues of $138,622 over the last three months, despite losing in Miami R1 in straight sets to Tomic and Indian Wells R2? How many 26 year olds do you know are disappointed they have to fly economy this year, probably after flying business class the previous years? 26-year old Stakhovsky whines about being on court 8am to 8pm each day (assuming he does that), but I know many people who work longer than 12 hours each day for a lot less money (He’s right about the high cost of buying tickets on the day of departure, but he does not tell you about the air miles points he can use for his vacations. And he exaggerates that only top 10 players have contracts, clothes)

How many 26 year olds do you know had, last year, a personal income of about $300,000 after deducting expenses? Stakhovsky claims he earned $428,000 (he probably understates under-the-table money or gifts to avoid paying taxes) and had business expenses of $130,000 (which he probably exaggerates a bit to reduce his taxes). Stakhovsky is a journeyman who hovered between No. 34 to 69 last year, yet took home $300,000.

Maybe No. 71 Stakhovsky was expecting to be making a million dollars last year after his career-high of $650,838 prize money in 2010, when he was ranked his career high No. 31. In a performance-based world, the declining Stakhovsky — despite being in his prime — is lucky he has since made $556,000 in prize money after 2010.

“Let’s remember that Jack Kramer, the godfather of tour-based tennis as we know it, was actually against paying anything to first-round losers, on the theory that paying first-round loser money only encouraged deadbeats to keep playing. Here’s another way to look at it: To what industry is tennis most comparable, and what are the economic terms by which it operates? I don’t think the answer is Wall Street. I’d say it’s the film industry, in which the stars can’t even mount the defense used by so many fat cats—that while lavishly compensated, they also made a lot of money for their clients (which is why so many of today’s critics of Wall Street were strangely silent while their money managers were earning them seven and eight percent annual return rates before the financial meltdown). All that a Leonardo DiCaprio or Angelina Jolie can say is that they sell a lot of tickets at the box office, and thus they deserve the lion’s share of the profits. Which I think is what they get. I don’t know, it seems fair to me. On the positive side, the fate of the lesser players is very much in the hands of the top player. All they need to do is agree to cut the journeymen in for a larger share, but it’s always easier to tell others to do it than to do it yourself. When was the last time you offered to take a pay cut in order to get a raise for someone else in your workplace?”
http://blogs.tennis.com/tennisworld/2012/03/tk-3/comments/page/2/

Now time to expose the hypocrisy…

Larry Ellison pumped up the prize money in Indian Wells, “boosting the winner’s take to $1 million (a 64 percent leap from last year’s $611,000), and distributing the remainder of the $700,000 hike through the final three rounds of play.” Thus Ellison increased the prize money of the quarterfinalists to winners (top 8 winners), and did virtually nothing for first and second round losers like Stakhovsky.

The gullible Stakhovsky says he “respects Nadal more…because he openly supports the players’ interests.” Yet there was not a whimper from Nadal about the inequality of Larry Ellison increasing the pay of the top 8 players of Indian Wells or about the inequality of paying women the same pool of prize money as men. The same Nadal who kicked up a public stink at Australian Open and Miami, was strangely quiet in Indian Wells. Why? Could it be connected to what the New York Times reported: “Ellison casually mentioned (that Nadal) was “staying at my place…I hit with him for an hour and a half the other day, which was quite an experience.” What, Nadal stayed at the home of the tournament owner?

Remember, Stakhovsky’s No. 1 beef is more prize money for lower performers on the tour such as him. Stakhovsky also ignores the many changes that have occured in the ATP tour since 2007: shorter season ending two to three weeks earlier form 2012, higher prize money across the board since 2006, no more five set matches outside of the Slams and Davis Cup, top players play less rounds outside the Slams, etc, etc. Does Stakhovsky think that Indian Wells this year “laid a new surface, and they became super-slow with high bounce” because Federer wanted more slow courts — or because Ellison wanted to help his friend Nadal win Indian Wells?

Wake up from your slumber, Stakhovsky: if Nadal truly was defending the players’ interests he would have publicly said that Larry Ellsion should have increased prize money across the board. And Nadal should have lobbied his friend Ellison to do just that, during the many meals and drinks they shared while staying with him. Instead Nadal said nothing, just as he has said nothing about more prize money for early round losers throughot his months of whining. What Nadal has said a lot about are ideas that directly benefit him, such as two year ranking for top players.

Stakhovsky is one of the few players whose views have been repeatedly reported in connection with Nadal’s whinings on these issues. It’s likely that Stakhovsky is a close political suporter of Nadal. It’s also likely that Nadal’s smart publicist Benito tells the tennis writers to speak with Stakhovsky. Hmmm, who know who sent Tom Gainey the link to Stakhovsky’s interview.

In any democracy, you will have a minority of whiners who want things done in a different way. But let’s not forget that there are about 2,000 ATP players, not just Nadal and Stakhovsky. The vast majority of these ATP Players twice voted for Federer to be president of the ten-member ATP Players Council (June 2008-2010, June 2010-2012)… they did not vote for Nadal to be president. So whether Stakhovsky likes it or not, the majority of players support what Federer is doing. And obviously, the majority of the the ten-member ATP Player’s Council supports what Federer is doing. And obviously Federer shows courage in standing up to a minority of players who are not working in the interests of the majority.

Stakhovsky and the other 2,000 players should thank their luck stars for Federer. Roger’s public relations skills, dominance and selfless conservative approach — more than any other factor — helped change the public perception of Tennis to the highly respected and watched global sport it is today.

Federer’s reputation has been positive for Tennis. As the ATP site reported last September: “Roger Federer’s reputation as a respected, admired and trusted personality is second only to that of former South African president Nelson Mandela, a new global study of more than 50,000 people in 25 countries shows. Federer finished ahead of the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey and Bono in the 2011 Leader RepTrak, which assesses the reputations of the world’s 54 most visible public figures in politics, business, culture and sports.”


racquet Says:

@nelson goodman – “I’m a huge Fed fan, but if this is how thin-skinned folks are gonna be, well, then no wonder we Fedfans get a bad rep.”

Yep, unfortunate but true. Just wait, the character assassinations of Stakhovsky have only just begun.


Dave Says:

Let’s test what Stakhovsky said against facts, logic and common sense… instead of putting down any criticism of Stakhovsky as mere nitpicking, character assassination and the complaints of vultures.

Stakhovsky is an unexceptional player who failed to crack the top 30. Not surprisingly, he has shallow, unitelligent views such as Federer plays “less physical tennis” because he “has more God-given talent” instead of “discipline and hard work”. If Stakhovsky was more driven to be a great player, he would have tried to find out what made Federer tick… like Ivan Lendl did to find out what helped his more talented rivals beat him.

Those outside the Federer camp who have seen Federer train outside tournaments have said: “(Federer’s) work ethic just blew us away.”
http://straightsets.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/19/training-with-federer-in-dubai/

Federer’s fitness coach Pierre Paganini works with Roger about 140 and 160 days each year. Federer and Paganini have been working together on a private basis since August 2000. At the end of that year the fitness coach put together a far-sighted three-year plan for the 19-year-old Federer that would provide the foundation for his rise to tennis stardom… “Roger is a fantastic person, and that makes working with him so much easier,” enthuses Pierre. “He decided at that time to put everything he had into making the most of his talent. He’s an artist who knows the value of hard work.”

Paganini reveals that what sets Federer apart “is not just talent, but the result of hard work and willingness to repeat something again and again. In this way, Roger is strong. He works a lot more then people can imagine – because he usually trains when nobody sees him. He had to submit his whole life to a philosophy of work.”
http://gototennis.com/2009/10/27/pierre-paganini-on-roger-federer-as-long-as-he-plays-he-will-be-strong/

“Tennis is played not just with the hands but with the feet, especially for Roger,” said Paganini. “In an intense match or a very long match his footwork has to stay perfect in order for him to make those shots and the reason he can put his feet in exactly the right place over and over again is because he is strong physically and mentally…I think the most impressive thing about Roger is that he works even harder now than he did before he became really successful,” said Paganini. “A lot of players don’t mind working hard on the way up because they are desperate to get better and they find it hard to motivate themselves once they start winning big titles, but not Roger. He just keeps wanting to work harder. He works like a challenger even though he is a champion.” Prior to a big tournament they will work for 10 hours a week or more, depending on the surface he is going to play on, but Paganini says he never hears so much as a murmur of fuss from Federer. “Roger is a pleasure and a privilege to work with,” said Paganini. “He never complains about having to work hard as long as he understands why he is doing it. He asks me what we are doing and why and then he gets to work. He knows that he is talented and that the fitness work we do is going to bring that talent through. He’s always been the same. You can have all the shots but if you aren’t there in time it doesn’t matter and Roger knows that. Even when I am really tough on him he never stops working and he never wants to stop. That’s the kind of man he is and that’s why he is a champion. He really is an amazing person.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2005/jul/04/wimbledon2005.wimbledon/print

In 2010, Paganini revealed how the enthusiasm 29 year old Federer still put into his training sessions: “The willingness is important. What delighted me in the last 2 weeks: Roger comes to the practice with the same freshness (vigor) in his mind as if he was a junior. I’m really fascinated by this. It sparkles in his eyes. When you say to him: You are going to have 1 ½ days off he says: Maybe it’s beautiful tomorrow and we can practice. That shows me that he has the right mental attitude.” In response to the question what do you think when people say that Federer time is running out slowly, Paganini replied: “When someone at the crackerbarrel with a beer in his hand is saying something like this he should say it. You can’t be mad at him as he doesn’t know it better. What irritates me are the so-called specialists who talk about the end after every loss. When you know tennis you should come to another conclusion.”
http://gototennis.com/2010/07/31/federer-fitness-coach-paganini-says-roger-is-as-fresh-as-a-junior/

“Federer’s footwork is most evident, though, when he is playing poorly. Only then does he lunge or lean, looking uncomfortable or off-balance. When Federer struggled in 2008, he had missed three of his usual training sessions in Dubai because of mononucleosis, the Beijing Olympics and a bad back. Courier compared Federer at Wimbledon in 2008 to a sports car with one tire severely low on air. This might seem like a small difference, but in a sport in which victory and defeat are often separated by millimeters, it presented a real handicap. “It all flows from there,” Courier said. “You can be the most gifted player that tennis has ever seen, which I would contend that Roger is, but if you’re not in position to hit it, you become mediocre really quickly.” Gilbert said Federer in 2008 was like a baseball batting champion hitting .355 instead of .388 — a small but notable difference, particularly at Wimbledon, where he lost to Nadal in a five-set match many described as the greatest ever… “My footwork comes from my fitness,” Federer said. “If I’m fit, I’m moving well, and this puts things in equal terms. And this is where I’m usually the better player. This is where I have the advantage.” ”
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/31/sports/tennis/31federer.html?pagewanted=1&_r=3

The Economist Magazine noted: “Mr Nadal’s critics say top players bear full responsibility for their problems. These days, most play an attritional, baseline game that contributes to injuries and burnout. No one expects an overnight resurrection of serve-and-volley tennis, but umpires could encourage players to shorten rallies by rigorously enforcing rules on time allowed between points. Many players are guilty of breaching official limits to give themselves a breather.”
http://www.economist.com/blogs/gametheory/2012/03/player-rankings-tennis


jerry Says:

@racquet

well with Stak making comments (paraphrasing) work 8am-8pm with amateurs, thats alot of #$%## work. yeah thats not gonna win many friends amongst hard working general public.

basically, he says, i wanna make alot of many and not work alot for it.


jeff e Says:

so silly. nadal is no angel. wasn’t it rafa who complained about having to pay tax for earnings in london? yes, it was rafa. nobody else complined about it – but he did. doesn’t sound very “for the people” to me. he’s a wealthy brat like many and gives lip service to caring about the situation of others, quits when it’s more complicated than “what rafa says goes”… and bad-mouths another player in pressers. bad form at the very least. again, what multi-millionaire complains about paying taxes? rafael nadal.


rave Says:

@ Dave, right on. Wish I could put it as well as you.

Wonder why Stark thinks Roger does not work as hard as Nadal. Roger just does not proclaim it out loud like Nadal does and he does not whine like Nadal does.

Sounds like he likes the 2 yr ranking system to help him keep his rank and his prize money rather than the injury clause Nadal keeps talking about. I did not hear his concern for those making less and lower ranked than him, since this ranking system will keep them in the lower ranks with no chance to make his prize money. A lot of contradiction here. And it is not a character assasination to counter his claims.


Humble Rafa Says:

Thanks for the kind words about your Humble Highness.


Oleg Says:

Stakhovsky didn’t say he didn’t like Federer. And he didn’t say he was a big fan of Nadal either. He was being honest, and has a right to his opinion.

To the people complaining that he doesn’t work hard, I’d love to know how many of you made it to the top 100 of their respective profession (I doubt you can be part of the 100 best players in the world without being a workaholic).

It’s sad that most of the people here turn every article/argument into a Nadal vs Federer issue.

Federer and Nadal are not perfect, but looking at the big picture they are both overwhelmingly positive figures, and good role models, as well as great players. Too bad their fans don’t have the same class.


Anna Says:

Oh my God Dave, what a blowhard. Just take a break. You’d think there was a hundred grand on the line for you if you could just convince someone, anyone, that poor Staks is a loser. Did you even bother to read the full article. And by the way, Rafa made it known prior to IW that he would be resigning from the players council and had nothing more to say regarding council issues. At somepoint more may become known regarding Roger, Rafa and the council, but at this point shouldn’t we just be open/listening instead of becoming defensive because your favorite player may not be perfect in everyones eyes. The criticisms of Roger have been that he’s to swiss/neutral and not proactive enough in representing the players interests, which are also his issues (according to Staks) in private. As someone said up above, Roger is the consumate PR person. In knowing that, it’s not surprising that there may be a conflict of interest between what’s good for Roger, and council interests. Really, Roger is the one person who should not be representing the players council. And yes, we all know that Roger is the most beloved human being ever to breath air.


racquet Says:

@Anna

:)


Leon Says:

Of all the comments to the moment, ca. 61% against Stakhovsky (I still doubt all of their authors read the full interview). Well, 39% pro is not that bad, might be much worse, as it always happens when someone risks his image by speaking more or less frankly.

Winner: Ben Pronin.


Dave Says:

OMG Anna, you need to take a break from thinking too much about “Nadal” and “blowhard” within the same head. I used facts, logic and common sense to make my case. Instead you were defensive in attacking this rational poster instead of trying to prove your case with sound arguments based on facts, logic and common sense.

I understood clearly what Stakhovsky said in the full interview, do you? [Even Ben Pronin made a mistake when he said: "This also isn’t the full interview. If you had read the full interview, you’d know that Stakhovsky is actually friends with Federer and talks to him regularly. He’s not super biased towards Nadal." Actually Stakhovsky never claimed to be "friends with Federer", though he claimed to "constantly" communicate with Federer. Most players communicate with Federer in the players lounge and locker room as Federer is accessible and the player's council president.]

Put your money where your mouth is and prove your claim (give us a link): “Rafa made it known prior to IW that he would be resigning from the players council and had nothing more to say regarding council issues.”

It is clear you are too quick to believe one mediocre player with a big mouth (Stakhovsky) when you jump to the conclusion “in knowing that, it’s not surprising that there may be a conflict of interest between what’s good for Roger, and council interests. Really, Roger is the one person who should not be representing the players council.” Why don’t you find out the views of the other 2,000 ATP players — the majority of whom voted for Federer to be president (not Stakhovsky or Nadal) as well as for the sportsmanship award — instead of jumping to premature conclusions that it is a conflict of interest for Federer to be on the player’s council. The majority of players know that Federer even rejects positions that directly benefit him (e.g., two year ranking system) in order to reconciles various conflicting player interests.

When it was announced that Madrid 2012 will be played on blue-colored clay courts, Federer came out publicly in support of Nadal. Tournament owner Ion Tiriac got the support of the ATP for the experiment. Nadal’s mentors Carlos Moya and Manuel Santana publicly supported Tiriac at the launch of the blue court which Nadal is not happy about

Nadal was upset and tweeted: “It’s a shame because of the history and tradition of this surface. I hope I don’t have to play one day on blue grass.” And he previously said: “Clay is red, not blue.”

Federer, a traditionalist, expressed surprise that Nadal’s view was not taken into account: “This is a long story, but I find it sad that you have to play on a surface the players don’t accept. I find it sad that a player like Rafa, at a tournament on his own country, has had to fight against a surface that does not want to play on” and “I would listen to Rafa on such an issue. It’s sad, yes, that we will play on a surface that is not accepted by all players.”

Tiriac, a former bad boy of tennis who influenced the antics of Nastase and Connors, brushed aside these objections: “As far as Nadal and Federer, they are great players and great human beings, I respect their opinion but I don’t have to accept everything one player says”. We can expect that, on the eve of Madrid, Tiriac will trot out players (my bet is Djokovic) who will say what a great color blue is.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2069019/Rafael-Nadals-anger-Madrid-Open-turns-traditional-red-clay-court.html

Federer supported Nadal in November. Yet Nadal turned out to be the player who back-stabbed Federer since January’s Australian Open with unprofessional public comments that Federer ignored the complaints of the other players because he wanted to “come off as a gentleman and burn the rest” and then made a big public display of his resignation in Miami, which no doubt distracted Federer.


rave Says:

Really Anna, Roger should not be representing the player’s council? Do you have more than 2 brain cells in your head, and I mean that as a snarky, spiteful comment. At least Dave backs up his comments with links to articles that support his argument.

It seems it is ok to blieve the comments of Nadal and Stark, but not Roger. At least Roger does not make a big deal and accuse other people when things do not go his way. Why air your dirty laundry in public? And maybe, just maybe, ROger goes out of his way to work with Nadal in private, rather than duking it out in public. And what is wrong with him having his opinion and knowing how many players support him and standing up for them.


Dave Says:

Leon: “I still doubt all of their authors read the full interview…Well, 39% pro is not that bad… Winner: Ben Pronin.”

What’s clear is that you have not read and/or do not understand the full interview. Otherwise you would not have declared Ben Pronin the winner. And siding with 39%, even though it’s less than that if you counted correctly, lol.

Ben Pronin jumped to conclusions that prove he does not understand what he claimed he read. Pronin: “This also isn’t the full interview. If you had read the full interview, you’d know that Stakhovsky is actually friends with Federer and talks to him regularly. He’s not super biased towards Nadal.”

Below are the relevant excerpts from the full interview.

- It is telling that Stakhovsky evades answering the million-dollar question “So why won’t the players oust Federer from his role as president of the players’ council?” Instead Stakhovsky dances around by putting down Federer, embellishing Nadal, and saying he supports Nadal. That alone indicates Stakhovsky’s relative bias for Nadal. More importantly it discredits Stakhovsky as a neutral, objective observer. It’s a simple question that Stakhovsky refuses to answer: why won’t the majority of 2,000 players remove Federer as player’s council president? Maybe because they agree with what Federer has been doing.

Nowhere does Stakhovsky mention he is friends with Federer, yet Ben Pronin jumps to that conclusion. And Stakhovsky’s claim that he “constantly” communicates with Federer could be taken with a pinch of salt, given that many people have said how accessible Federer is. Many players ranked lower than Stakhovsky have said that Federer is very accessible and easy to talk with in the locker rooms and player’s lounge, unlike previous top players. And as players council president, he does want to talk with other players.

Here are the excerpts from the interview:

Q: “Do you often communicate with Federer?”

“I do it constantly.”

Q: “And what’s he like?”

SS: “He’s a good person, but too neutral for my taste. He’s too Swiss. He wants to keep out of any bad stories too much. When players want to change something, he looks at it too passively, because it can harm his image.

I respect Nadal more in that context, because he openly supports the players’ interests.”

Q: “So why won’t the players oust Federer from his role as president of the players’ council?”

SS: “Federer says the same, just not in the presence of all the other players. He doesn’t want to speak publicly about certain things. Because if suddenly there’s a scandal with the boycott of Grand Slams by players, it can be connected to his name.

In fact, Nadal didn’t leave because of Federer, and the players’ council, for the most part, doesn’t decide anything. It’s a consulting body. But there are three people who represent the players in the ATP. And Rafa thought that they didn’t defend the players’ interests in the extent that they should. And about certain things, I’m prepared to agree with him.”

http://letsecondserve.blogspot.ca/2012/04/translated-interview-with-sergiy.html


Sean Randall Says:

Dave, still prez of the Federer fan club I see. No resignation! Hope it pays well!

As for the interview, very insightful. I’m quite surprised he would talk that openly about some of these issues.

I do sympathize with Stakhovsky’s disenchantment with tennis prize money as it compares to other sports.

The 100th player in tennis makes far less than a similar player in other mainstream sports like golf, football (soccer & American NFL), baseball, basketball and hockey.

And tennis does have global appeal with major events like the Slams and Davis Cup which also get incredible TV coverage and gate receipts, so I do see where he and other players are upset. And it’s unfortunate. But the market is what the market is. Although like golf, which benefited from Tiger’s ascension, he and his fellow players are benefiting-albeit not as much as those in golf-from Federer/Nadal.

HOWEVER…

If Staks wants more $$$ then he needs to go out there and WIN more. That simple.

I know it’s tough with Federer/Nadal/Djokovic/Murray running the show, but there are A LOT of people who would love to have the opportunity he has. Now, like Djokovic did and Isner and other players who have improved their position, he needs to figure out how to do it or look for another line of work.

And it won’t get any better for him with calls for the shortening of the season (fewer events for him to play), proliferation of byes at tournaments (fewer spots in the draw) and this newfangled Ellison-ish hyper weighting of prize money for later rounds.

So unless you are backed up by deep pockets or are a Top 50 resident being a full-time tennis pro is no picnic.


jane Says:

Interesting and candid interview. Thanks for sharing the link.


jane Says:

Sean, yeah, and I’d add that Staks has a lot of guile, variety and talent on the court, so yeah, he just needs to do something to push himself higher and harder to win more (fitness? tactics? not sure). He seems like a player who is quite capable. I remember when I first saw him play, it was impressive. But he’s inconsistent and I haven’t seen much evolution in his game since then.


Oleg Says:

“Instead Stakhovsky dances around by putting down Federer, embellishing Nadal, and saying he supports Nadal. That alone indicates Stakhovsky’s relative bias for Nadal. More importantly it discredits Stakhovsky as a neutral, objective observer. It’s a simple question that Stakhovsky refuses to answer: why won’t the majority of 2,000 players remove Federer as player’s council president? Maybe because they agree with what Federer has been doing.”

Dave are you delusional? Nowhere does Stakhovsky mention that he wants to kick Roger out of his position as president of player’s council. As far as being objective, why would he be, this is a 1on1 interview asking him for his opinion!

You’re clearly a deranged Federer fan looking for any excuse to praise Roger and put down other players with defensive BS.

I’m a Federer fan too, and guess what Dave, people like you make all Federer fans look bad.

Like I said earlier, if you’re truly a Federer fan, why don’t you behave with 1% of his class.


Sean Randall Says:

Jane, I should add the I enjoying watching Staks play. He’s a bit of a throwback and I’d like to see him do well. Unfortunately, with the way the game is played now it’s going to be tough for him to make a real mark.

I will add that I also admire him for taking such a stand and speaking out. Tennis needs a little rebellion every now and then.


jane Says:

^ True, re: him being a throwback. He needs more power perhaps. And maybe more speed. Add those things to the mix and he should be top 25 imo. I admire his frankness too – it’s especially cool to hear from someone outside the top 20 or 40 players tell it as he sees it; to get a different perspective on things.


Leon Says:

“Stakhovsky is an unexceptional player who failed to crack the top 30
…he has shallow, unitelligent views
…gullible Stakhovsky
…Stakhovsky is a close political suporter of Nadal
…It’s also likely that Nadal’s smart publicist Benito tells the tennis writers to speak with Stakhovsky. Hmmm, who know who sent Tom Gainey the link to Stakhovsky’s interview.
…he probably understates under-the-table money or gifts to avoid paying taxes
…he probably exaggerates a bit to reduce his taxes
…declining Stakhovsky — despite being in his prime — is lucky
…mediocre player with a big mouth (Stakhovsky)
…it discredits Stakhovsky as a neutral, objective observer…”
[this last is especially moving. Did Stakhovsky promised you that?]

Wow.
Dave, I pay due tribute to the depth and versatility of your interests, but…did you try sometimes to look at yourself a bit critically, or at least at a bit different angle? Do you think all the above speaks of you as “a neutral, objective observer”?

Well, I usually hate to write a comment longer that the main article, and I am not too skillful at quick typing. I understand your disappointment at not being announced winner, but Ben Pronin was first to express the main starting right from the first line of his comment – to MY taste, I can’t help. Minor things you paid so much attention, like how big friends they are with Federer (mind you, I am hu-u-ge Roger’s fan), are insignificant here. And I read the full original (able to read in some Slavic languages well enough) interview, the translation is more or less adequate, btw.

In my life, I had several opportunities to be close, although for not so long, with some first-class film directors, actors and artists. I was impressed how radically strong their vision and views at their products, art process, etc, differ from those of “consumers” of their “goods”. Outside of corporation, you cannot understand that correctly. Not saying about appearing like a prosecutor to some their words or deals. Sometimes it’s so tempting (we all tend to do that), but it doesn’t work in fact.
It seems to me, it’s just the case, taking into account all those quotes above. I like statistics and logic, but here they are helpless to overcome so low attitude towards a very interesting and intelligent player. Not a saint, thank God.


Ben Pronin Says:

What’s with all these fans thinking they know their favorites on a personal level (this goes for fans of Nadal and others, too)?

Dave, so you read that Stakhovsky talks to Federer. He knows the guy off the court. And he’s telling us what Federer’s personality is like from what he’s seen and experienced. Maybe he’s wrong, but I’m sure as hell gonna put more faith in him than in whatever dribble you’ve been writing.

Maybe Federer doesn’t work as hard as Nadal, maybe he does. Considering how secretive all the players are when it comes to their training, there’s no way for us to determine this. Certainly Federer works extremely hard, but to say his talent isn’t unbelievable as far as pure tennis is concerned is simply being ignorant.

I don’t care what Jack Kramer believed about the first round loser. I don’t think anyone’s pointed it out in the way Stakhovsky has just how hard it is to even make it to the first round of the Australian Open. Consider the fact that there are thousands of professional tennis players and only 128 of them get into the main draw at the slams. Some of them do so by going through qualifying. It’s not like they randomly entered and lost on purpose.

And in Indian Wells, Stakhovsky makes a point that the hotels are incredibly expensive. Is he lying? Is it not a fair point to make that this tournament wants a full draw and as little withdraws as possible and yet they can’t accommodate the players.

You can’t compare a tennis player to an office job. When someone has to fly a lot for their company, those flights are paid for more often than not by the company, not the employee. Tennis players pay for everything. Every, single, thing. They travel every single week all around the world. They have to pay for their coaches, physios, managers, agents, you name it. But yeah, we should attack Stakhovsky anyway. He’s clearly the first person to ever complain about his job.


jane Says:

“Tiriac, a former bad boy of tennis who influenced the antics of Nastase and Connors, brushed aside these objections: “As far as Nadal and Federer, they are great players and great human beings, I respect their opinion but I don’t have to accept everything one player says”. We can expect that, on the eve of Madrid, Tiriac will trot out players (my bet is Djokovic) who will say what a great color blue is.”

And why would your bet be Djokovic Dave? Or need I ask? Perhaps it’s all there, between the lines.


Ben Pronin Says:

I honestly can’t wait for the blue clay. It’s something new and completely different. Nothing wrong with trying to spice up tennis a little.

After the “trophy” Djokovic got last year, why would he support anything the tournament does? Haha.


jane Says:

^ lol, Ben – it was totally weird, like some kind of microphone or, ahem, phallic symbol, ha ha. I know Freud says sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but that trophy was something else!


Ben Pronin Says:

I thought it was some kind of cactus.


El Flaco Says:

“And now, even in Wimbledon the grass grows the wrong way – to slow down the game.”

I thought this was funny. So the grass is slanted a little towards the net which reduces the skid because of extra friction.


jane Says:

Ben, do tell, where the heck have you seen a cactus that looks like this? But maybe you’re right. Anyhow, we agree – that’s weird.

http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/g9ay4t7I-mW/Mutua+Madrilena+Madrid+Open+Day+Nine/kXW6mBQyn5y/Novak+Djokovic


Dave Says:

Sean, I’m sure you get paid very well by the advertisers on your site.

Having shown us that you don’t understand the ATP rulebook on toilet breaks… now you’re telling us that you don’t keep up with tennis news.

Sean: “I’m quite surprised (Stakhovsky) would talk that openly about some of these issues.” Many news articles have carried stories of Stakhovsky shooting off his big mouth about these very same issues since at least mid-January (possibly before). Stakhovsky’s comments have been carried by dozens of newspapers (see below). It seems as if he is holding news conferences as if he is a representative for the Nadal faction. Whether or not this is the case, it is prudent to think carefully about some of Stakhovsky’s “insightful” comments with a red flag. The presumption that Stakhovsky is a neutral, frank player taking a stand may be naive. I have already shown that Stakhovsky dubiously evaded answering a basic question such as why the 2,000 ATP players have not fired Federer if the problems are as bad as Stakhovsky claims they are… and it is dubious that Stakhovsky constantly communicates with Federer

For decades almost everybody except the four profitable Slams have agreed that the players are being shafted on prize money. Stakhovsky isn’t saying anything new. The ATP/players have been knocking their heads against a brick wall trying to get the profitable Slams to give out more prize money. Nadal and a player’s strike could easily backfire on the players, setting back tennis 20 years. So it’s unfair to hold Federer responsible. Stakhovsky might as well hold ticket-paying fans, TV-watching fans and sites like Tennis-X responsible for not putting more pressure on the Slams.

Even before “Federer-Nadal”, tennis players were already benefitting from Federer. I remember going to tennis tournaments in 2004 — Federer’s matches were full house. Federer was and remains the biggest draw in tennis, except maybe in Serbia and Spain.

Below are a sample of excerpt (theres lots more if you know how to Google):

USA Today, March 15: “While extracting concessions from the majors is one issue, some are fighting to rectify what they see as wealth gap within the tour. One of those is Sergiy Stakhovsky. The 76th-ranked Ukrainian has been one of the most vocal players behind the scenes, advocating a more even spread across all rounds at events.
“We are not interested in counting somebody’s money,” he says. “If somebody is winning it, he’s winning it….But it should be equal.”

Tennis Now, January: “After the meeting, Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky told the media that the proposal to boycott the Australian Open was supported by a majority of players, but was not carried out because it would have been unfair to the tournament’s organizers, who could not have replaced the field at such short notice.”

Reuters, January: “ATP members held a behind-closed-doors meeting on Saturday and backed a proposal not to play at Melbourne Park, Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky told Reuters in an interview…”Some of the players were suggesting we’re not going to play here,” said world number 65 Stakhovsky, referring to Saturday’s meeting. There were enough (votes not to play) but it was just not right because we’re here and the Australian Open would have no chance to change anything.”… Stakhovsky said a majority of the leading players were sympathetic to the demands of the lower-ranked competitors. “More than 80 percent of the top players are on the same page as the rest of the players, saying that grand slams are not paying enough and that some mandatory events are not having proper prize money distribution,” Stakhovsky added. “We all have issues. My issue is Indian Wells and Miami are mandatory events and if I lose in the first round I am minus (earnings). I am not making money off these tournaments. “It’s four weeks spent in the United States, it’s airfares and hotels … if you’re out in the first round you’re unable to pay your coach,” said the Ukrainian…”You can’t just stand up and say we don’t play,” said Stakhovsky. “You have to have a certain strategy. “We have to say what we want, what we feel is fair for … the ATP and the grand slams. We have to do some serious paperwork first, legal work. “You never know but I’m confident we are going to change things.”…While Stakhovsky spoke of consensus among players, ATP Council vice-president Rafa Nadal suggested there was a rift at the top of the game between himself and president Roger Federer.”
http://features.rr.com/article/04as1Qy4ADflA/quotes?q=Sergiy+Stakhovsky

UK’s Daily Mail, January: ” ‘Some of the players were suggesting we’re not going to play here,’ said Sergiy Stakhovsky, the world No 65 from Ukraine, referring to the meeting. ‘There were enough but it was just not right because we’re here and the Australian Open would have no chance to change anything.’… Stakhovsky added: ‘More than 80 percent of the top players are on the same page as the rest of the players, saying that grand slams are not paying enough and that some mandatory events are not having proper prize money distribution.’ ‘We all have issues. My issue is Indian Wells and Miami are mandatory events and if I lose in the first round I am minus (earnings). I am not making money off these tournaments. ‘It’s four weeks spent in the United States, it’s airfares and hotels … if you’re out in the first round you’re unable to pay your coach. He added, however, that any strike action must be carefully considered. ‘You can’t just stand up and say we don’t play. You have to have a certain strategy. ‘We have to say what we want, what we feel is fair for… the ATP and the grand slams. We have to do some serious paperwork first, legal work. You never know but I’m confident we are going to change things.’ ”

New Zealand’s TVNZ, January: “Storm clouds, however, could be gathering over the men’s game with Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky saying that players had suggested they might need to go on strike for a more equitable split in prize money and a revamped playing schedule.”

UK’s Mirror, January: “Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky revealed players discussed a strike at the Australian Open at a meeting on Saturday night. “Some of the players were suggesting we’re not going to play here,” said the world No.65. “There were enough (votes not to play) but it was just not right because we’re here and the Australian Open would have no chance to change anything.”

Ireland’s The NAtional, January: “Earlier, Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky said a move to boycott the Australian Open over prize money was supported by the majority of ATP players but not followed through as it would have been unfair on tournament organisers.”


Dave Says:

Oleg : “Dave are you delusional? Nowhere does Stakhovsky mention that he wants to kick Roger out of his position as president of player’s council.”

Oleg, given your name, are you Ukranian or Russian? Can’t you read simple English? Can’t you stop your disinformation? Your claim is delusional as I never said Stakhovsky wants to kick Roger out as Players Council president.

What I clearly said was “It is telling that Stakhovsky evades answering the million-dollar question “So why won’t the players oust Federer from his role as president of the players’ council?” ” And what you clearly evaded quoting is what I clearly stated.

It is laughable the number of dubious posters who put dowh Federe after starting with the claim that they are Federer fans (hoping to look credible). You should look in a big mirror and ask yourself whether you are the deranged, delusional party instead of making up false info to accuse others.


Ben Pronin Says:

Being a Federer fan doesn’t determine credibility in any way.


Dave Says:

Leon, I understand your disappointment that my post debunked your post — to my taste, I can’t help it.

Your last paragraph is irrelevant mumbo-jumbo when applied to this player. Stakhovsky’s results prove him to be a mediocre, unexceptional player — this is not a “first class” player — and some of his views (e.g. about Federer’s ‘god given talent’) show why. In my life, I have spent much time dealing with performance issues involving highly-successful people responsible . I see thru BS, mediocrity and performance problems pretty quickly. While you are trying so hard to appear smart, you don’t know what you’re talking about and you have failed to debunk anything I said using facts, logic, reason and common sense.

Bottom line, (1) you obviously do not understand the full interview (you admitted that the translation is acceptable even though you admit you are not fully competent in Ukrainian) if you accepted Pronin’s claim that Stakhovsky is friends with Federer; (2) your belief that Stakhovsky has no agenda and is speaking frankly is naive at least; (3) you can’t count or are exaggerating if you thought that 39% supported Stakhovsky’s position at that point; (4) your judgment that only 39% (even if it as much as 39%) agrees with Stakhovsky is an acceptable number is monumentally laughable.


jane Says:

Not worthy of a dissertation or anything (it is Bleacher Report) but here’s an interesting article on front-running in the top four:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1139959-roger-federer-rafael-nadal-and-novak-djokovic-whos-the-best-front-runner


Rave Says:

I am a huge fed fan and I feel that the majority of the posters here seem to take Starks position and trash Fed and if one were to defend Fed they are deemed delusional.

Nadal main concern is shortening the schedule and having a 2 yr ranking, And trashed Fed, Davydenko talked mainly about money and trashed Fed, Stark talks about money and ranking system and trashed Fed. And what does Federer do, stay quiet, does not trash anyone’s reputation and speaks up for the lower players. And he is the bad guy? And how many players are there in the council.

If the players strike, what would happen to the sponsors? in this economy, you have to hustle to get sponsors. Federer did say that the strike has to be thought out carefully and that he would support the players if that was what they wanted. His preferred way was through dialogue. Nothing neutral about that.

Please look at all sides before you trash a reputation. Federer deserves better. He has worked hard for tennis. give him some credit rather than jumping on the bandwagon to trash him.


Dave Says:

Ben Pronin, how did you go from reading an interview where Stakhovsky (1) never once claims to be an actual friend of Federer (nor does he refer to Federer as a friend anywhere in this interview) and (2) refers Federer as “Federer” nine times and calls him “Roger” only one time (when a friend might refer to him as “Roger” more often); and (3) shows a relative bias to Nadal…

… into your stating with a straight face “If you had read the full interview, you’d know that Stakhovsky is actually friends with Federer …”

The facts prove you clearly make up stuff without understanding what you’re reading. Why the hell should we put any faith in what your self-righteous drivel about Stakhovsky?

Pronin: “Dave, so you read that Stakhovsky talks to Federer. He knows the guy off the court. And he’s telling us what Federer’s personality is like from what he’s seen and experienced. Maybe he’s wrong, but I’m sure as hell gonna put more faith in him than in whatever dribble you’ve been writing.”

Federer has never once mentioned that he talks constantly with Stakhovsky and knows him off the court as a friend. Thousands of people ‘talk’ fleetingly with Federer and ‘know’ him off the court during interactions in locker rooms, players lounges, practice sessions.

Stakhovsky’s cryptic claim that he communicates “constantly” with Federer without giving any details (Q: “Do you often communicate with Federer?” SS: “I do it constantly.”) should have triggered a red flag that he may be exaggerating. I have already shown that Stakhovsky is a big mouth who enjoys talking a lot to the press. In the interview, Stakhovsky gave long answers to 33 of 35 questions. He clearly enjoys yapping. Yet the only two questions where he gave his shortest answers (3 words “I do it constantly”) seem to be on issues he knows least about. That Stakhovsky did not elaborate on how ‘constantly’ he talks with Federer and in what context… should make us wonder how close he really is to Federer and whether he is exaggerating.

Pronin claims that Stakhovsky is “telling us what Federer’s personality is like from what he’s seen and experienced” but all Stakhovsky said was “Federer’s a good person, but too neutral for my taste. He’s too Swiss.” Hmmm, reminds me of some Swedes I know who love to put down their Finnish neighbours with stereotypes. I would rather put my faith in the views of players like Ljubici and Roddick who actually know Federer more closely than Stakhovsky.

But Stakhovsky went beyond telling us about Federer’s personality qualities… and into telling us about Federer’s actions and omissions. Wow, this guy Stakhovsky must be very close with Federer to see what Federer does (and does not do), Federer pours out his innner thoughts to him and he can read Federer’s mind… or else Stakhovsky is making up Bull S–t without knowing any of these things for a fact. An intelligent person reading Stakhovsky’s comments more carefully would realize he is jumping to conclusions, making predictions and making generalizations about Federer without giving any facts to support his claims: “(Federer) wants to keep out of any bad stories too much” and “(Federer) looks at (changes) too passively, because it can harm his image” and “Federer says the same, just not in the presence of all the other players” and “He doesn’t want to speak publicly about certain things. Because if suddenly there’s a scandal with the boycott of Grand Slams by players, it can be connected to his name.”

Furtermore, a more curious mind would ask why such a big mouth would evade answering a simple question from his interviewer: “so why won’t the players oust Federer from his role as president of the players’ council?”

Pronin: “but to say his talent isn’t unbelievable as far as pure tennis is concerned is simply being ignorant.”

Completely irrelevant as no one is claimed that Federer isn’t talented.

Don’t pretend you don’t understand the issue. The issue was Stakhovsky’s shallow, unintelligent views that Federer plays “less physical tennis” because he “has more God-given talent” instead of “discipline and hard work” ([Nadal] reached success through hard work; [Federer] achieved more, while spending less efforts). I have proven — using analysis from Federer’s conditioning coach, external coaches of players who trained with Federer and external experts — that Federer indeed has the discipline to put in a lot of hard work and that all the god-given talent in the world cannot compensate lack of fitness. I’m sure as hell gonna put more faith in these experts than in whatever dribble you’ve been writing and in whatever dribble a mediocre player like Stakhovsky has been saying.

Pronin: “When someone has to fly a lot for their company, those flights are paid for more often than not by the company, not the employee. Tennis players pay for everything. Every, single, thing. They travel every single week all around the world. They have to pay for their coaches, physios, managers, agents, you name it. But yeah, we should attack Stakhovsky anyway. He’s clearly the first person to ever complain about his job.”

You obviously do not realize that there are hundreds of thousands of business people on their own (e.g., consultants) who operate as sole proprietorships or small partnerships (i.e., they do not work for big companies, but for themselves), who have to take the risk paying for business travel all round the world and paying for everything out of their pockets. I know people who travel 2 to 3 times each week, much more than any tennis player. Their travel costs are much more than Stakhovsky’s travel costs. They often travel multiple times to each company they are trying to win business, often losing because they are competing with bigger companies. It’s not like they randomly entered and lost on purpose.

Yeah, a professional tennis player is a busines person working as a sole proprietorship, so the comparison can be made to business. The same applies to an actor, as Peter Bodo pointed out. In a meritocratic, performance-driven business like tennis or any other business, life is tough. Only the stroingest survive and thrive. This is not a communist commune from the Soviet Union. Stakhovsky doesn’t deserve any rights to higher pay unless he produces much bigger results than he has managed to achieve. To blame Federer for Stakhovsky’s own failure to produce is obscene of him.

I don’t care that you “don’t care what Jack Kramer believed about the first round loser”. The issues that Stakhovsky has been whining about and you have been sympathizing with have existed for decades, and were much worse in the past. Life sucks, get used to it. If Stakhovsky can’t find a way to improve, he should find another job. There are 2,000 others who are hungry and ready to take his place.


Sean Randall Says:

Dave, since you brought up the rulebook, where oh where in ATP literature is it written that 2,000 players voted Federer (and others) to the council?

I’m here should you need help in your Google search for the correct answer.

Rave, I wouldn’t worry about a player strike happening anytime soon. I really don’t think the players are united on that front. Guys like Staks have different interests than say Inser who has different interests than say Malisse who has different interests than Federer/Nadal.

In reality, you have 100 players who have differing needs and wants in regards to what should be done.

Federer/Nadal may want more a shorter season, and perhaps more money at the top for winning titles – did you know Radwanksa made more money winning Miami than Djokovic?

Meanwhile, lower ranked guys likely want more tournaments giving them more chances to earn a living.


Dave Says:

Jane: “And why would your bet be Djokovic Dave?”

Because that’s what I would do if I were Tiriac. Tiriac is running a business, his goal is to maximize ticket sales and even more important expand his global viewership of his tournament. If Nadal and (presumably) Federer are not going to be his poster boys, then who better to be the poster boy of blue clay than Djokovic as well as a few other marketable players. Divide and conquer. I’d pay Novak one million dollars (under the table) to promote the bue clay and get the support of other players, just as I would have paid money to Carlos Moya to appear at the launch ceremony of the blue clay (see link, how much did it cost to have Moya ‘betray’ the red clay and Nadal?). It’s business, happens all the time. Nothing wrong with Djokovic seizing the opportunity quietly even though it breaks some ATP rule.
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/12/02/article-0-0EFC795300000578-110_306x423.jpg

As for Rafa, bad idea to bagel one’s mentor 6-0. Somewhere down the road, they will not support your choice of color. And after what NAdal did to Federer, Roger is probably questioning why he idiotically stuck his neck out for Rafa against a powerful tournament owner such as Tiriac.

Actually I feel for Rafa on this one because I grew up playing on red clay and hard courts, side by side. And HD TV makes the ball more visible nowadays (I hated watching clay tennis on ordinary def tv). But Tiriac is right that the blue clay will be more visible, and there are millions of viewers without HDTV.


Rave Says:

Sean, I am not worried at all about a player’s strike. I was just trying to make a point about discussing differences of opinion and trying to reach a consensus before shooting your mouth off about strikes. And, yes, I do realize that there are many issues involved in the tennis world. My point was exactly what you pointed out, that rather than beating up one guy, Federer, because of three opinions, rather giving Federer credit for not dissing anyone, and may be, just may be, Federer does try to take all opinions into account. Not that you can ever please everyone.


Dave Says:

El Flaco: ‘ “And now, even in Wimbledon the grass grows the wrong way – to slow down the game.” I thought this was funny. So the grass is slanted a little towards the net which reduces the skid because of extra friction.’

Actually, on this point, I agree with what Stakhovsky is trying to say. The type of rye grass used has a very fine leaf and so the grass turf (sward) is a bit more open compared to Laver, Borg, Lendl or Sampras’s eras. This allows more air between and through the grass leaves and onto the soil. This slightly extra air movement then dries the (clay) soil quicker and makes it harder. This harder soil makes balls bounce higher and the speed of the court slower.


RZ Says:

As someone who’s volunteered at tennis tournaments, I can believe that the pros lose a lot of money. One tournament, there was a doubles pair in the “lucky loser” category that had to stick around for the first round of doubles to be complete before leaving for the next tournament. They lost in Qualies on Saturday; first round doubles was over on Wednesday, at which point they left for the next tournament. That’s 4 extra days of hotel and food costs waiting to see if they’d take the courts. Plus they had a coach with them so they had to pay for him too.


King Federer Says:

note to stakhovsky, davydenko and nadal :

Who said, “Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt”?

Boycot/strike cannot be a first strike option. they have to be last resort. Have the players had an effective dialogue with the tournaments – atp/itf?

After the talks fail, that is when you should talk about boycott. Instead nadal and co act like a child who threatens to break his own toy when things dont go their way. I am sure there is a more mature way to dealing with these issues than threatening to strike and bad mouthing a fellow player and washing the dirty linen in public.

I guess you want federer to come out and say nadal,davydenko and stakhovsky are too greedy for money like all those russians who are deprived of money by communism or they are displaying a mob/crowd mentality like the spaniards and hey maybe he can even say ” nadal is too dopey for me, no pun intended ofcourse!”

some things are better discussed in closed rooms by the stake holders. when one aggrieved party chooses to air it’s stinking opinions, while the rest of the stake holders are trying to resolve things through diplomacy/talks, it reflects the immaturity of people like stakhovsky/nadal. if they have issues, discuss it in boardrooms, dont try to garner sympathy and support when you cannot coherently convince other stakeholders through meetings/discussion.


Dave Says:

Sean, no need to Google since I never claimed that “2,000 players voted Federer (and others) to the council”. In my posts, I clearly referred to a majority of the 2,000 players (or quorum of the 2,000 players) — not that 2,000 players — voted for Federer. You know, like in a democracy :)

- (To Anna) “Why don’t you find out the views of the other 2,000 ATP players — the majority of whom voted for Federer to be president (not Stakhovsky or Nadal) as well as for the sportsmanship award — instead of jumping to premature conclusions that it is a conflict of interest for Federer to be on the player’s council.”

- (To Leon) “It’s a simple question that Stakhovsky refuses to answer: why won’t the majority of 2,000 players remove Federer as player’s council president? Maybe because they agree with what Federer has been doing.”

In any case, the ATP Player Council has its own set of policies separate from the ATP rulebook.

Btw, Jon Wertheim gives a good explanation why Djokovic won $660,000 for winning the men’s title in Miami while Agnieszka Radwanska won $712,000.
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/tennis/news/20120404/mailbag/index.html


Tifoso Says:

This interview is phenomenal in terms of what it reveals about the mentality of players who are not at the top of the tennis world. Stakhovsky’s “testimony” as it were is invaluable; the translation is even more so.

Dave, the work you put into your comments is admirable. It is nice to see logic, regardless of the stance taken, in Internet discourse.

My immediate impression of Stakhovsky’s interview (which I read it in its entirety) is rather mixed. His discussion of finances, surfaces, and the mechanics of the sport seems intelligent and appropriate. He is a professional tennis player, after all, so one can expect him to be a reliable source for this sort of content.

However, I cannot help feel he is unqualified to make public statements about such figures as Nadal and Federer. When describing their respective work ethics or even Federer’s alleged “Swissness,” he presents his statements as fact instead of impression or opinion. When he says that Federer, for example, looks at changes in tennis “passively … because it can harm his image,” any reasonable person can see this is speculation. Unless Sergiy has a capacity to read minds, how could he possibly be qualified to speak on Federer’s motives? And, from my perspective, this sort of invalidates most of what he says in this vein. “About what else is he speculating?” is all I can ask myself. I question if there is a language barrier at work here, or if he is being knowingly dubious.

The big issue I had with Stakhovsky’s words is the following: did anyone notice that he scoffed at making a net profit of $11,000? Whether this was only for Indian Wells or for both Indian Wells and Miami is unclear, but what is clear is that he only won a single match between both tournaments. With a single match win, he earned (after taxes) about 40% of what the average American makes in an entire year (before taxes). Therefore, I am not understanding his complaints. Is he annoyed that Federer made $1M+ in comparison? Because that is like the owner of an ice cream shop being envious of Bill Gates. Or is he concerned, as he says, about living off the money for the rest of his life? He seems to think that being a professional tennis player—whether top 5 or top 100—should automatically equate to retiring at age 32 and never working another day. I respectfully disagree.


mat4 Says:

@Dave:

A lot of good and interesting points, especially in your first post and the comment about rye and Wimbledon.

But you overdid it a bit.


King Federer Says:

Tifoso :

Don’t support Dave for the things he has got right. instead, pick something he got wrong and try to call him names such as delusional, irrational and what not.

Sean, do you have the decency to apologise for misinterpreting a factual statement that Dave made?


karl tres Says:

so…afterall IM NOT CRAZY, thank god!!!
many time i think about the slow down of the game since 2008 (when they changed the balls) but since no player talk about it, thought i was delusional.


Ajet Says:

Well, though I necessarily don’t agree with everything that Dave says, but he at least has a solid point if he thinks that stakovsky appears biased against federer. anybody can see it! i don’t buy his nadal’s characterisation as the saviour fighter for lesser mortals of ATP! of course though it goes without saying that he’s free to support whoever he wants in this issue, but his words are definitely not the final authority on fedeerer’s alleged passiveness/apathy to players’ concerns!

and what’s with his opinion ”too swiss for his taste”??? look, its not like switzerland is a bad country or its citizens are not classy! stakhovsky may say all that he want and people may line up in his support much as they may like; but that doesn’t change the fact that fed’s NOT the most consummate PR man in the world! If fed were so much concerned abotu his PR image, then he’d be talking super nice always instead of calling a spade a spade(which he has promptly said whenever he felt he should, and he wasn’t even least unjustified in saying so!) and taking the heat for his stand from the crab-natured media(eager to pull achievers down) and federer hating fans who just can’t let a chance pass for criticising fed for anything he says, they hardly care if fed’s right or wrong! their only agenda to glorify their hero and picture federer as super arrogant, sore loser, fake or selfish!

On a different note though, I sympathise with stakhovsky for facing hardship in his professional life and would like to see him happier and earning more, nothing in particular against him! But his characterisation of federer is mucho debatable, I’d leave it at that! And I’m with Dave in this matter as I also believe that stakhovsky was speaking in this interview more from his own perspective than anything else. so his ”federer is too swiss or passive regarding players’ issues” comments should be taken with a pinch(or more) of salt!

The only thing which surprises me is how a dude drops here to call the tennis fans ”vultures”!

And what definitely not surprises me though is a nadal fan wanting federer to not remain in the players’ council(for his supoosed selfishness)! ;)


Ajet Says:

the change in madrid from red to blue clay is not very appealing to me. it’s like we already’ve many blue court tourneys!


Steve 27 Says:

Federer is an emblem of the most savage capitalism, is Mr. corporation, it makes sense to be neutral, more money for Mirka and her stomach, and for girls and a life of luxury and privilege. Deserved. When have you seen that defends the interests of others, earn more money?. Perhaps the Swiss is a little saint of charity?. No, he looks for his own interests and the most correct way is the way it has to project.
Do not expect him to be an Arthur Ashe.


Humble Rafa Says:

Whatever the topic, the Arrotards come out of the wood works supporting their little boy. This is more about ATP, money issues, etc. Arrogant One is NOT the main topic.


Jeanius Says:

Steve 27 hou jou fokken bek


Leon Says:

Dave,

In my first short remark at 6:09 pm I tried to avoid going personal, but even a pinch of joking (“Winner”) turned out to be intolerable for you. Indeed, how on earth was it possible not to agree first of all with you, down to the slightest details. That was my big fault, I confess.

In my reply to your quick reminder I was even crazier, attempting to show how easily you can jump from your truly unbounded logic and common sense to quite low bashing and insinuations. No wonder, you were brilliant at cutting me down to size, and rightfully so.

Being an ignorant person all around, I am afraid the next level might trigger using street language, God forbid. So I promise you to think thrice each time I venture to write (or even to read) your name.


H5 Says:

Among the many comments that have been published here, the one poster that has used logic and common sense in his posts is the one getting bashed by Tennis-X writers. Pretty sad. Good work, Dave. Keep this up.


jane Says:

It’s too bad that things devolve to ad hominem remarks i.e., faulty logic) either about players or other posters. But I guess that’s common on blogs.


Sean Randall Says:

Dave, oh, so it’s a “majority” of 2,000 then? Fine. But the question remains, from where did you unearth this 2,000 number you’ve been floating around? Thin air? Guesswork?

Because it sure doesn’t jive with what the ATP published.

Again, I’m not just here to help you but I’m also here to educate you :)


Nicci Says:

I’m from Belgium and i read an intervieuw from a Belgium player and he said almost the same things before all this stuff about Raffa and Roger was going on. Even 2 players ….and they both said that wen they don’t reach the second round the play fore nothing. Not everyone can be in the top 100 , but wath are they gone do if they where not there? There would be not many players , no new talents .It’s a pity that there are words between such talented players (Roger and Raffa)the media likes all these things . It hurts me if people fight over those things. This is a beautifull sport with lot’s of good players.


jane Says:

I think Staks’ “too Swiss” comment comes from the long-held idea that Switzerland or the Swiss are “neutral”. According to Wiki, “Switzerland is the second oldest neutral country in the world; it has not fought a foreign war since its neutrality was established by the Treaty of Paris in 1815.” Then of course, too, there’s that speech in “The Third Man” about Switzerland, neutrality, and not much coming out of it. So in the context of the player’s council, in Staks’ opinion, Fed tends to remain too neutral. I guess that’s Sergiy’s view, to which he is entitled considering he is a player. He says he “respects” Nadal more in this regard perhaps because Rafa has been more outspoken about changes.

I am not saying who is right or who is wrong, but I think Staks is entitled to his opinion and to voicing it.

I thought he qualified his views a number of times:

For example, he says IF the slams make “concessions” then he is “against the 2 year ranking system”.

He says of Rafa’s resignation: “He was disappointed that his ideas – useful for the tour, as he thinks – aren’t heard”

Notice how he says “as he thinks” – i.e., this is Rafa’s view not necessarily his.

He also says Fed is a “good person” but just that “in this context” i.e., w.r.t. the Player’s council he “respects” Rafa more because he speaks out. He says again “in this context” qualifying his point of view.

In this longer quote,

“He doesn’t want to speak publicly about certain things. Because if suddenly there’s a scandal with the boycott of Grand Slams by players, it can be connected to his name.

In fact, Nadal didn’t leave because of Federer, and the players’ council, for the most part, doesn’t decide anything. It’s a consulting body. But there are three people who represent the players in the ATP. And Rafa thought that they didn’t defend the players’ interests in the extent that they should. And about certain things, I’m prepared to agree with him. ”

He also qualifies his point of view, saying “about certain things” he’s “prepared to agree” with Rafa.

So he never comes down hard on one side or the other imo. He weighs both sides and agrees with some and not others, and even about the 2 year ranking he says his view in contingent upon whether prize money is increased at the slams.

I thought this interview showed intelligence and nuanced thinking, not blind bias or anything. He speaks highly of both Rafa and Fed in the interview.


jane Says:

@12:29 should be *is* contingent upon (not “in”)


Leon Says:

My respect, Jane.


RZ Says:

I also enjoyed reading the interview. I don’t understand why there is so much negativity in the comments above. Staks is entitled to his opinion, and was giving his opinion to the questions asked of him, and as a pro can give us some good insight on life on the tour.

It’s a shame that just about every post on Tennis-X now seems to become a Fed vs. Rafa (and sometimes vs. Nole) feud. It’s great to have passion for the sport and for a favorite player. But there’s a lot more to tennis than just pitting Fed and Rafa’s records, statements, stances, etc., against each other.


Jessire Says:

Cool interview. I agree completely with his views on the court speed. It’s overdone. I do find it a bit annoying that he says that the reason fed is neutral and doesn’t speak out is because he doesn’t want to harm his image. How does he know that? I mean perhaps he just thinks alot of the ideas aren’t good for tennis and based on some of the arguments I have heard him (fed) give in press conferences that could very well be the case.


Tifoso Says:

Jane, I agree that Stakhovsky appears to have no bias, and I will not turn this into another Federer v Nadal fiasco. It is really all about Stakhovsky’s comments and nothing more. But, I think a lot of what Sergiy says moves beyond the realm of opinion, and that was the premise of my original comment.

Of course he is calling Federer neutral because of Switzerland’s notable, historical neutrality, but that is a stereotype and, in my opinion, inappropriate. The fact that he thinks Federer is neutral is a perfectly acceptable opinion, but when he offers reasons why Federer is neutral, this is no longer opinionated.

He acts as if he precisely knows the reasons behind Federer’s neutrality in issues. There are no indicators of opinion, such as “I think” or “I believe.” He directly asserts that Federer wants to preserve his pristine image, which may or may not be the case. I think, unless Federer told him this directly, he is unqualified in stating such things. It is essentially the same as making up stories.

And, that includes the quote you provided: “He doesn’t want to speak publicly about certain things. Because if suddenly there’s a scandal with the boycott of Grand Slams by players, it can be connected to his name.” From where does he get this information? From the recesses of his own mind, or from Federer’s words? I can only assume the former, which then causes me to question about what else he is speculating.

To add to that, his entire spiel about “God-given talent” versus “discipline and hard work” does not help his case. Clearly, there is no way he could be sure of such information. So, why does he speak on things about which he has no pure knowledge?

I should note, for the sake of full disclosure, that I support Federer’s neutrality in these instances. It is obvious that the players are divided on the issues, so it is logically appropriate for Federer (a leader) to serve as a mediator and not a crusader for his own views. Some players want change while others do not. Should he simply choose a side and forsake the other? I would hope not.


jane Says:

Tifoso,
Does opinion need to always be clarified with an “I think” or “I feel” or “I believe” – I mean, if someone writes or says someone, I generally understand that those are that person’s views or opinions unless stated otherwise. Certainly some onus goes to the reader to, as Ajet puts it, take things we read/hear with a grain of salt – especially when it’s just someone talking and not making references. I kind of just figured out by myself that those statements were opinion and not fact, without the “I thinks”. Indeed, most of what players say in interviews is merely opinion. And as for the “neutral” thing, I read the “Swiss” comment like metaphor, i.e., figurative not literal. But you can see where the stereotype comes from and stereotypes are generalizations that I guess exist from some reason – yet we should all know that they are not valid in all cases – that’s never the case with stereotypes. Often “the dumb blonde” turns out to be smart, for example. Also with regards to the “god-given” talent versus “hard work” comments, those too are overused cliches about Fed and Nadal that are floated around *all the time* by fans, journalists, pundits, and players. To be sure, if I had a dollar for every time I read – just on this blog – how hard Rafa has worked on fitness and changing his game or how naturally gifted and talented Fed is, I would be laughing all the way to the bank! Staks is just repeating the familiar in this case, too. So,it turns out he’s a 26 year old you throws around some cliches and stereotypes; I still regard his overall take as fairly well balanced.


jane Says:

^ oops, errors: “someone writes or says someone” should be “someone writes or says something” – and – “you throws around ” should be “who throws around “.

Am typing and eating lunch… not effective, clearly.


Dave Says:

Sean: “But the question remains, from where did you unearth this 2,000 number you’ve been floating around? Thin air? Guesswork?… Again, I’m not just here to help you but I’m also here to educate you :)”

Funny, but you’re stealing my line — I’m also here to educate you. Let’s start with some basic research. Click on the link and start counting backward from the No. 1,944 ranked Alexei Filenkov who is at the head of the picket line demanding his ranking be protected for te next two years and that he receive a pay increase.
http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/Singles.aspx?d=09.04.2012&r=1501&c=#


Tifoso Says:

I agree that his comments are well-balanced, and I am not suggesting he is pro-Nadal or anti-Federer.

But, my question is: is he qualified to be giving opinions on these issues?

And, more importantly, whether Stakhovsky says, “Federer is trying to preserve his image” or “I think Federer is trying to preserve his image” (obviously not real quotes; just examples), are either of these appropriate comments?

Or, to give a real quote: “He doesn’t want to speak publicly about certain things. Because if suddenly there’s a scandal with the boycott of Grand Slams by players, it can be connected to his name” is not much different than “I think he doesn’t want to speak publicly about certain things. Because if suddenly there’s a scandal with the boycott of Grand Slams by players, it can be connected to his name.”

To me, it equates to making up stories. If I say, “American President Barack Obama was born in Kenya” or “I think American President Barack Obama was born in Kenya,” what is the difference? Both comments are equally unfounded and speculative. The same goes for what Sergiy is saying.

I do have a point beneath all my rambling, and that is this: we must separate fact, opinion, and unfounded assumption in this interview. Dozens of people, when defaming Federer in the future, will revert to Stakhovsky’s interview, and they will refer to his comments as educated opinion even though some of what he says may be a figment of his own imagination, i.e. the reasons Federer remains neutral.


Nicci Says:

If the clay will be blue… they all wil look like smurfs…sorry


Dave Says:

Leon: “I am afraid the next level might trigger using street language”. There is no need for street language. Leon, just close your eyes, breathe deeply and calm down. And listen to this soothing music while imagining I’m that guy in the video. Six minutes later you will achieve enlightenment and calmness… without even a pinch of joking or street language.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pw9Hzv17OPs


Oleg Says:

This whole thread has now become laughable. People are analyzing lines of this interview as if it was the Bible, and going into whole tirades on neutrality, logic and reasoning and nitpicking at the slightest error in spelling/statistics/quotation. Internet trolling at its best.

And Dave thinking of himself as a rational agent who uses only “common sense and logic” is also great comedy :).

Again, it’s sad that Tennis-X always degenerates into bitter arguments just because a minority of you feel offended at any small or perceived slight of your favorite players.

The discussions would be more interesting/productive if they focused more about what changes the ATP needs to make to make professional tennis better for the players AND the fans. Stakhovsky gave us some good insight on the point of view of a lower-ranked player and that is a step forward.


alison hodge Says:

RZ i was thinking exactly the same thing every thread with an article about one or the other seems to always end in a war of words,rafa fans attacking fed or fed fans attacking rafa,it doesnt seem to stop there either,posters are now getting personaland attacking each other,up bringings,religions etc,this forum gets quite nasty sometimes,i know theres some passionate fans out there,but it would be nice to just concentrate on talking tennis.


Nicci Says:

Not only Stakhovsky gave such an intervieuw.
Other players too with a lower ranking.
It’s not only his opinion.


alison hodge Says:

actually the thread was about staks giving an opinion,which he is quite entitled to do,and then all hell broke loose,when the names rafa and roger were mentioned.


Mark Says:

It is quite apparent that the names RAFA and ROGER bring out the beast in people. Hahahaha


Tifoso Says:

All I am doing is presenting a bit of a different perspective. I have not attacked anyone, and I could not care less about the Roger v. Rafa debate. Let me make that clear.

Everyone is quick to write off everything Stakhovsky says as uncriticizable opinion. I am simply questioning whether what he says in certain situations is, in fact, a matter of opinion.

For example, does Rafa work harder than Roger or not? Is Roger’s motivation to preserve his image or not? Questions like these are basic yes/no questions. They’re not a matter of opinion. So, to claim that Stakhovsky’s remarks about these things are “opinion” is not exactly true. He is providing a yes/no response, and I question the soundness of those responses.

I apologize for being analytical.


Anna Says:

What Staks has said in this interview is very similar to what Davydanko said in an interview shortly after AO, right down to Roger being too neutral/swiss and concerned about his own image. That’s why I made the comment about a conflict of interest between Roger and the players council. As time goes on it wouldn’t surprise me at all to hear other players voice similar opinions. I suppose someone could base an opinion on whispers and intuition, but my own feeling is that words were spoken for their to be more than one player to arrive at the same conclusion, unless you think Davydanko and Stakhovsky are conspiring to bring Roger down.


Sean Randall Says:

Dave, ah, so you just took that number from the singles rankings? How convenient.

So then what you have been saying is that a majority of those ranked in singles (2,000 or so per your link) voted Federer in, right? Your words: “I clearly referred to a majority of the 2,000 players … voted for Federer.”

Unfortunately, that’s factually WRONG.

Again, do some research and you’ll find the right answer and the proper way to phrase it on the ATP website – I think it’s there, I just have it my head so I don’t even need to look :)


alison hodge Says:

tifoso sorry as i was just making a general overall analazation,my post wasnt directed any any one person in particular,everyones entitled to an opinion.


Sean Randall Says:

Alison/RZ/Others, this seems to be an unfortunate growing trend of late. And if it continues measures will be taken.

As I’ve said before, people here are always free to state their opinion(s) – however sane or insane they may be – but once you start belittling others that’s crossing the line.

So try and play nice.


jane Says:

Tifoso,

“For example, does Rafa work harder than Roger or not? Is Roger’s motivation to preserve his image or not? Questions like these are basic yes/no questions. They’re not a matter of opinion.”

Hmm, I am not so sure these two questions are simple yes/no questions. One person might feel Rafa’s fitness routine is more intense, while another might feel Fed’s is. As to Fed’s motivation, perhaps that’s like trying to get at an author’s motivation for writing a book – we can make educated guesses based on what we see or read. But the motivation itself would have to come from the author to know it as fact. And yet, that doesn’t mean we can’t say what we think the author’s motivation for the story might be, if you know what I mean. It’s just inferring, ideally based on something and not nothing.


alison hodge Says:

thanks sean.


Tifoso Says:

Jane,

We’re not really discussing training routines or fitness. Stakhovsky made a blanket generalization that Federer’s success is a result of talent, and Rafa’s is a result of hard work. In that sense, an answer to the question “Does Rafa work harder than Roger” is pretty cut-and-dry.

“Inference” equals assumption in this case. And, that sort of proves my point that Stakhovsky is speculating in what he says about Federer (and Nadal), which renders it mostly valueless. He is saying things for which he has no evidence, and therefore (at least in my opinion) should not be saying it at all. Especially because it can be interpreted as defamation.


jane Says:

His evidence could be what he has observed and/or heard while playing on the ATP tour. That is what makes his interview interesting in my opinion. Here we have someone in the top 100 just speaking his mind on matters, but he’s someone in the trenches, so to speak, so surely his opinion in valuable from that perspective. But it doesn’t need to be taken as fact to be valuable in my opinion.


Tifoso Says:

Ultimately, what Stakhovsky is doing is providing great insight into some of his own experiences on the tour. And, I think those parts of the interview are perfect. They can bring progress to tennis, if that is what the players truly want.

However, when it comes to his discussion of other players, I think he makes guesses, assumptions, and speculations. I am not attempting to ban people from doing so (though it is not advisable when one is a public figure), but I do feel some of his comments should be recognized as such.


alison hodge Says:

Dave off topic but many thanks for that crystal bowl meditation link on you tube really beautiful,i listen to alot of meditation cds,crystal bowls,singing bowls,native american chanting as well as sound healing with a souix drum,really beautiful relaxing and enlightening,thanks again.


Dave Says:

Oleg, you need to folow your own advice. What’s laughable are posters who are irrationally offended when their worldview is invalidated by facts, logic and commomn sense. Without a sound argument, you attacked other posters as “delusional” and “deranged” and you even fabricated the suggestion that I said (which I did not) “Stakhovsky mention that he wants to kick Roger out of his position as president of player’s council”.

You think Stakhovsky gave us good insight. To me, he said nothing new: these same issues have existed for decades, if we had listened to the comments of other lower ranked players from years past. Any self-employed businessman outside tennis could have provided the same information, for those of you who have experience working. What Stakhovsky said sounds very much what a self-employed person earning $300,000 net income would tell you. Tennis Mag’s Steve Tignor reached similar conclusions I did: “Overall, Stakhovsky sheds light on the work-a-day world of the tour, and makes the rank-and-file player’s life sound like that of any other self-employed person’s. Or like any other self-employed person who knows that their earning power is going to plummet in their early-30s, rather than rise. No wonder tennis players are so selfish.”

As posters, out primary priority is to comment on Tom Gainey’s article (and his excerpts of what Stakhovsky said). What Stakhovsky said in the rest of his full interview is secondary. Thus initial posts were entirely relevant as they were directed at the excerpts in Tom Gainey’s article. If posters feel there are aspects of Stakhovsky’s comments that should be criticized or assessed, we are free to do so. If other posters are upset with those criticisms, then try to rebut them using sound arguments based on facts, logic and common sense. Don’t degenerate the thread by attacking the other poster, making sarcastic remarks and fabricating stuff, and then pretending you are the innocent party.

It is not for you to decide what we should or should not do. Nowhere did the author instruct us “the discussions would be more interesting/productive if they focused more about what changes the ATP needs to make”. Each article author sets basic parameters for discussion in the way they write their article.


alison hodge Says:

Jane just wondering do you know when we can start to fill in our brackets for monte carlo?


Dave Says:

Hi Alison, this crystal gong meditation CD is quite good. Also Samonas Sound Therapy CDs are worth exploring if you have a good Sennheiser headphones. Do you have any examples of native american chanting?
http://www.new-age-music.org/meditationmusic/


Dave Says:

Also Alison, you can train your body over two to three months to get some of the oxygen benefits from altitude training by doing, everyday, this yogic breathing exercise by Dr. Andrew Weil. It’s exercise 2 in this link. A good complement with the crystal gong. Good for tennis players as well.
http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00521/three-breathing-exercises.html


Oleg Says:

“Any self-employed businessman outside tennis could have provided the same information”

Seriously? go read the interview again.

You can’t compare a business man and a tennis professional with such simplistic criteria.

A business man doesn’t have a career that lasts 10-12 years. The 100th best businessman in the world is making a VERY good living compared to the 100th best tennis player. The comparison is fruitless.

My main concern is that tennis professionals outside the top 25, aren’t really rewarded for their efforts, as compared with other mainstream sports. Some of you seem to think being in the top 100 of your chosen profession is a piece of cake. Try becoming the best player in your city for starters. Even if you work hard, that’s far from being easy. There’s a lot of armchair quarterbacks here that casually dismiss the Stakhovsky-type players as lazy players who might reach the top 25 if they only worked harder.

By the way Dave, I haven’t attacked any poster, only you. I think you’re full of it and I call a spade a spade.

p.s: Including the words “sound argument, facts, logic and common sense” in each sentence doesn’t make your sentence any more truthful. But keep repeating it, you might convince yourself.


alison hodge Says:

thanks dave i have quite a stressfull job,so meditation is a very good way for me to relax,any way i can,i can lay on the couch listening to a cd meditating and before i know it im somewhere else,or in the morning having a shower i imagine sometimes im standing under a waterfall,i love healing with any sound i find it very theraputic,i do breathing exercises too to relieve stress,thanks again for more great links.


Dave Says:

Sean, I answered your question “from where did you unearth this 2,000 number you’ve been floating around? Thin air? Guesswork?” by proving there are about 2,000 ranked ATP players (see link, actually the number was even higher a few months ago). You then responded “Unfortunately, that’s factually WRONG.” Wonderful, now it’s up to you to prove what you claim with evidence — show us a link, so we can be educated. You know we don’t trust what’s in each others heads — and capitalizing WRONG does not make your claim right — so just telling me ‘you just have it in your head and you don’t even need to look’ doesn’t cut it :)
http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/Singles.aspx?d=09.04.2012&r=1501&c=#

Despite the whining of some players, it seems things were bad for players between 1995 to 2005, according to Ivan Ljubicic after he became player council president in 2006. “I think this new Council is going to be the strongest ever,” said Ljubicic, who begins his third term (in June 2006). “I spoke with other players in the locker room and they’re really happy how it looks, and with the new management of the ATP, it’s definitely been better in the last eight months than in the last 10 years.”
(from tenniswire)


RZ Says:

Thanks Sean.


jane Says:

alison, I am not sure when Monte Carlo brackets are “open for business” so to speak, but the ATP site says the event begins April 15th, so we must be able to do so now… or soon?


mat4 Says:

Oleg:

“Again, it’s sad that Tennis-X always degenerates into bitter arguments just because a minority of you feel offended at any small or perceived slight of your favorite players.”

Well said.


Jack Lewis Says:

I have trouble feeling sympathy for under performing athletes who feel that coaching is beneath them and are struggling with the notion of retiring in their early 30s. I love the fact that he also believes his ranking needs to be protected (it’s all about not letting the newer guys get a fair shot…).
If that means I am a vulture, well so be it. I am a vulture and proud of it.


Sean Randall Says:

Dave, this statement you made here: “I clearly referred to a majority of the 2,000 players … voted for Federer.”

Is factually WRONG.

That’s what I was referring to.

You want evidence of it being wrong? Please look at the front section (page 9) of the ATP media guide found via a link on the very front of the ATP website. http://www.atpworldtour.com/Press/Media-Guide.aspx

There you will see players get elected by votes from the members. (Be sure to google or consult a rule book to find who is allowed membership.)

Further, in sampling just a section of one of you posts I found more errors that you made.

You wrote: “In any democracy, you will have a minority of whiners who want things done in a different way. But let’s not forget that there are about 2,000 ATP players, not just Nadal and Stakhovsky. The vast majority of these ATP Players twice voted for Federer to be president of the ten-member ATP Players Council (June 2008-2010, June 2010-2012)”

In fact, as confirmed by the media guide (page 9), there are not TEN members in the Player Council as you write, but TWELVE!

How did you get that wrong?

Also, you claim: “The vast majority of these ATP Players twice voted for Federer to be president”.

When in fact Federer didn’t become president because a “vast majority of (2,000) ATP Players twice voted” voted him to the post.

It was the 12-member Player Council themselves who voted him in that spot.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2010/08/Other/Federer-Reelected-Player-Council-President.aspx

So Dave, the player “members” voted Federer to the council. The 12-man Council then voted Federer as their president.

That’s the process.

Now I haven’t the will nor the time to comb through and fact check what you have written to other posters, but Dave I have to wonder how many other errors you have made and how much more misinformation you are spreading in your claims.


Rave Says:

Oleg, so why are you getting so mad when others express their opinion that does not agree with yours. Or.is it just Nadal fans who are allowed to express their disdain for Federer.


Rave Says:

Anna, what if other players came out in support of Roger. Hmmm, but wait there only needs to be only 3 players whose opinion counts,and we know who they are.


H5 Says:

Sean,
So, if the vast majority of the 2000-strong ATP players voted Federer to the council and not the president spot, ok fine. And then the elected members of the council selected Federer as their president. In my view, democracy is still winning. So, besides you correcting Dave, what is the point that you wish to make in regard to this article ?


Dave Says:

Oleg: “A business man doesn’t have a career that lasts 10-12 years”. Wrong.

Dozens of articles have reported that the average American worker (and citizens of other advanced economies) will go through between three to ten careers in a lifetime (a career is an occupation or profession such as tennis player or doctor, usually requiring special training). The most widely cited number is usually seven different careers. However, because of the multiple data, we should conservatively estimate 3 to 5 career changes in a lifetime for the average worker. Every career change (e.g., from tennis player to model to TV commentator to politician) can require major costs in retraining, pay cuts, financial investments, and — in the current job climate — the risk of not finding employment or revenue.

More accurate data is available for jobs (working with a particular employer, e.g., ATP or IBM): The US Bureau of Labour Statistics reports that individuals held an average of 11 jobs from age 18 to age 44, with 60% of the jobs being held before age 27 (see link). On average, the least-educated men held more jobs than the most-educated men, while the opposite is true among women.
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/nlsoy.pdf

I’m not sure whether there is lifelong employement in Russia or Ukraine, where you presumably came from. However, there is no such thing anymore as lifelong employment in the more developed economies of the world… due to continual economic changes, growing job instability and rising unemployment. Even in Japan, which used to be the textbook example of lifelong employment, most Japanese companies have long stopped providing jobs for life.

Many careers — and even companies/businesses — do not last 3 years, let alone 10 to 12 years. Over the course of a lifetime, many workers (whether chief executive or lower level employee or self-employed businessperson) are having to learn and adapt to new jobs, new careers and/or new companies every few years. No longer does a person’s pay keep increasing and increasing — a lot of people suffer many pay cuts over a lifetime. And in most big companies most employees have to fly on economy class from Europe to Australia or from the USA to Asia.

Bottom-line, tennis pros like Stakhovsky need to grow up and stop being so selfish — and so do their misguided supporters. Tennis players are damn lucky to make a career out of playing a game they love for 10 to 12 years. The vast majority of other 26-year old workers are not so lucky and would love to have what Stakhovsky has. Instead they have to pay obscene amounts of money for a ticket to see a tennis match.


racquet Says:

@Sean

That tidbit of information is quite significant and throws a whole different light on the situation. Kudos.
It wasn’t the first time he has been wrong and I suspect it won’t be the last.


Dave Says:

racquet: Put your money where your opportunistic mouth is: when was the second time I was wrong? My batting average is certainly better than yours, or even Sean. And I haven’t even responded to Sean’s post yet.


Dave Says:

Oleg: “You can’t compare a business man and a tennis professional with such simplistic criteria…The 100th best businessman in the world is making a VERY good living compared to the 100th best tennis player. The comparison is fruitless.”

The No. 100 ranked tennis player is 28-year old Igor Andreev, who made $4,275,830 prize money plus non-prize income. (Btw, the No. 100 golfer is Thorbjorn Olesen, who made about $1.5 milion prize money. Nobody really knows who is the 100th best soccer player)

How many 28-year old businesspeople can boast of making over $4 million by age 28?

Regardless, it is misleading to say “the 100th best businessman in the world is making a VERY good living compared to the 100th best tennis player.” It’s clear you do not understand business.

A businessperson is simply someone involved in activities specific to a particular market sector (e.g., “the tennis business”) for the purpose of generating profitable revenue or net income (e.g., prize money, endorsements) from a combination of his/her human, financial and physical capital (e.g., skills, travel expenses, tennis racquet).

There are hundreds of millions of self-employed businessperson running numerous different businesses around the world. This link gives an alphabetical list of *some* small businesses (the list is not exhaustive). Many of these businesses can be run by a self-employed person. For example, click on ‘A’, a person might have the training to be an accountant (or actor or athlete) — as a self employed person. Click on ‘Z’, a person might have the training and resources to run a small petting zoo — as a self employed person.
http://www.smallbusinessnotes.com/starting-a-business/alphabetical-list-of-business-possibilities.html

Got it? Now click on ‘T’, a a person might have the talent and training to be a “Tennis Professionals, Independent (i.e., Participating in Sports Events)” — as a self employed person.

An ATP tennis player is simply a businessperson running a business as a self-employed person. The vast majority of tennis players are basically on their own. Some may operate alone, get help from relatives, or employ others such as coaches and physios on a part-time or per use basis. A few top players (e.g., the Big Four players) have gone beyond operating like a self-employed businesperson and into operating like a small business firm (employing several staff doing different jobs, e.g., hitting partner, coach, fitness trainer, physio, doctor, dietician, publicity manager, agent, charity foundation manager, accountant, etc.).

So now that we know that businesspersons can be running numerous different businesses, it is misleading to say “the 100th best businessman in the world is making a VERY good living compared to the 100th best tennis player.”

You need to compare the income of tennis players against the income of similarly-aged people in other business careers. How much has an accountant, doctor or lawyer earned by age 28? How many have made over $4 million? How much were their student loans and other expenses to get through university and forgo income for 4 years? How many are able to fly business class from Europe to Australia?

Oleg: “Seriously? go read the interview again.” No need to. Like I said, ANY self-employed businessman outside tennis could have provided similar information.

Oleg, “By the way Dave, I haven’t attacked any poster, only you.” So you admit you attacked me in violation of the rules of this website. As I have shown, it’s really you who are “full of it” as you demand that others agree or conform to your views, even though you do not understand the issues. I have continually provided sound arguments based on facts, logic, common sense and intelligence. I am still waiting for a sound argument from you.


Dave Says:

Sean, nice try… but you are wrong to claim that “It was the 12-member Player Council themselves who voted him in that spot…So Dave, the player “members” voted Federer to the council. The 12-man Council then voted Federer as their president. That’s the process.” when in fact the process is only the 10 voting members who could vote, not all 12. Past ATP press releases describe the ATP Player Council as “consists of 10 player members, as well as one non-voting Alumni member representative and one non-voting Coach member representative.”

Sean:”In fact, as confirmed by the media guide (page 9), there are not TEN members in the Player Council as you write, but TWELVE! How did you get that wrong?”

Olympic Gold Medal for finding this BIG error! So I counted the 10 VOTING player members, but left out the one NON-VOTING Alumni member representative (Ignacio Hirigoyen) and one NON-VOTING Coach member representative (Claudio Pistolesi) because they cannot vote on decisions.

However, thanks for correcting me as I was under-stating the support Federer gets. It’s even better that the majority of a 12-member Player Council is behind Federer, rather than just a 10-member Player Council. As your own link shows, Federer was unanimously re-elected president, a vote of confidence in his leadership during the first term.

I originally got the information that Federer was directly elected by the players from the World Tennis Magazine: “Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have been re-elected as the President and Vice President of the ATP Player Council after a vote at the ATP players’ meeting at the US Open.” It contradicts the link you gave, which stated “The 2010-2012 ATP World Tour Player Council unanimously re-elected Roger Federer as President at its US Open meeting.” Let’s presume your link is correct.
http://www.worldtennismagazine.com/archives/3371

Regardless, the electoral process of Federer to president has similarities to the election of the U.S. President. Obama was elected through an indirect vote in which American citizens cast ballots for a slate of members of the U.S. Electoral College, and in turn these electors directly elect the President. Political scientists refer to this as an indirect election process.

So, if it makes you happy, I’ll amend what I said to “The vast majority of these ATP Players twice INDIRECTLY voted for Federer to be president of the ten-member ATP Players Council.” Either way, the basic idea suggested bythe statement remains unchanged.

Like H5 said to you Sean: “So, if the vast majority of the 2000-strong ATP players voted Federer to the council and not the president spot, ok fine. And then the elected members of the council selected Federer as their president. In my view, democracy is still winning… what is the point that you wish to make in regard to this article ?”

Sean: “I do sympathize with Stakhovsky’s disenchantment with tennis prize money as it compares to other sports. The 100th player in tennis makes far less than a similar player in other mainstream sports like golf, football (soccer & American NFL), baseball, basketball and hockey.” The No. 100 Igor Andreev made $4.3 million prize money which is more than the World golf rankings’ No. 100 golfer Thorbjorn Olesen’s $1.5 milion prize money. Do you even know who the No. 100 players were in all these sports before presuming tennis prize money is worse off?

This is a fact check of just the very first fact of your very first post here. And that’s not the first mistake of yours that I’ve found, as you know. So you finally dug up one debatable mistake from a larger sample. Big deal. My batting average is better than yours even though I post a greater number of facts.

Your comment should apply to you too: “I have to wonder how many other errors you have made and how much more misinformation you are spreading in your claims”.


Steve 27 Says:

jeanius, as ordinary as always, you have no solid arguments, boy. Go on Take a hot shower in your cage, and breathe. you need it.


Sean Randall Says:

Dave, moving on I see your “misinformation tour” continues.

You write, “Do you even know who the No. 100 players were in all these sports before presuming tennis prize money is worse off?”

My answer is, No. So let’s investigate.

You write, “The No. 100 Igor Andreev made $4.3 million prize money which is more than the World golf rankings’ No. 100 golfer Thorbjorn Olesen’s $1.5 milion prize money.”

That’s true, but what you don’t disclose is that you are comparing CAREER prize earnings. And from his bio at http://www.europeantour.com/europeantour/players/playerid=36519/record/index.html it appears Olesen only began playing in 2008/2009. Andreev turned pro back in 2002 with a six-year head start! Does that sound like a fair fight?

A better study would be to compare their 2012 earnings. Andreev has made $56,240. Olesen 288,021 euros, or $378,459 USD.

So, we have:
2012 #100 ATP: $56,240 (Andreev)
2012 #100 WGR: $378,459 (Olesen)

I’d say Olesen, who I’ve never heard of, has made significantly more than Andreev this year, wouldn’t you? (Though Andreev did date Kirilenko for several years and there is no price tag on that!)

Now maybe the ATP guys will be closer when we compare them to the American PGA Tour.

According to the current 2012 ATP money list (http://www.tennis.com/rankings/money_men.aspx), at 100 we find Bjorn Phau with 79,861. At 100 on the PGA list list for this year is someone named Martin Flores with $293,413.

So:
2012 ATP $$$ #100: $79,861 (Phau)
2012 PGA $$$ #100: $293,413 (Flores)

Well, tennis loses again. But maybe the PGA, which just held its Masters, has had bigger events thus far in 2012, so let’s look at full year earnings ending 2011. That might offer a better measure.

Last year the 100th earner on the ATP (per the Media Guide you are now familiar with) was Simone Bolleli at 299,021. That same spot on the year-end PGA list was occupied by someone named Briny Baird at $942,285.

So:
2011 ATP $$$ #100: $299,021 (Bolleli)
2011 PGA $$$ #100: $942,285 (Baird)

Again, PGA far ahead. This isn’t good for tennis.

Perhaps we can find some hope in comparing tennis to team sports. Of the big four in the US hockey’s at the bottom, so let’s take a look even though finding comparable metrics are tough.

The 100th ranked point leader this season was a guy named Drew Stafford from the Buffalo Sabres. According to USA Today (http://content.usatoday.com/sportsdata/hockey/nhl/salaries/player/Drew-Stafford) Stafford made $4MM this season.

In tennis the 100th ranked singles player last year, Michael Berrer, made 351,437.

So:
ATP 2011 #100: $351,437 (Berrer)
NHL 2011-12 #100: $4,000,000 (Stafford)

Now that’s downright depressing!!

Since you brought up batting averages, let’s look at baseball.

The player with the 100th best batting average last year was Cincinnati Red Jay Bruce. According to this page (http://baseballplayersalaries.com/players/539_Jay_Bruce) in 2011 Jay Bruce earned $2,750,000.

That leaves us with:
ATP 2011 #100: $351,437 (Berrer)
MLB 2011 #100: $2,750,000 (Bruce)

Again, men’s tennis is coming up way short.

Now do I need to even look at the NBA and NFL? I think we know how that would come out.

Further, in 2011-12 the MINIMUM league salary for an NHL player was $525,000. (http://www.nhl.com/ice/page.htm?id=26366)

The NBA’s is 490,180 (http://www.nba.com/news/cba_minimumsalary_050804.html)

In 2011 the minimum salary for a baseball player was 414,000 (http://mlb.mlb.com/pa/info/faq.jsp#minimum).

And in the NFL it’s $375,000 (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/07/25/minimum-salaries-shoot-up-under-new-deal/).

Taking a closer look at minimums compared to tennis last year:
NFL: $375k – Only 81 ATP players made more than the lowest earner in American football
MLB: $414K – Only 76 ATP players made more than the lowest earner in baseball last year
NHL: $525K – Only 56 ATP players made more than the lowest earner in American hockey
NBA: $490K – Only 60 ATP players made more than the lowest earner in the NBA

Said another way, loosely speaking, unless you are in the Top 80 on the ATP there’s a very good chance that every full time player in the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL makes more than you. The horror! I wonder if Staks even knows that?

And in these US team sports players get travel paid for and often a per diem, luxuries the ATP players don’t really get. The season is also shorter as well! Though ATP players do have benefits those part of a team do not, like being their own boss.

I don’t have Euro soccer #s but I’m sure those are off the charts! (http://www.tribalfootball.com/average-premiership-salary-now-%C2%A311m-year-892241)

That all said, I’m sure ATP guys get more $$$ than women’s golfers or swimmers or maybe cricketers (???), rugby players and a few other sports, but compared to the major, global sports tennis is indeed worse off. But like I said that’s the market.

So yes, Dave, I fully stand by my remark and I still “do sympathize with Stakhovsky’s disenchantment with tennis prize money as it compares to other sports.”


Sean Randall Says:

^^^
I may have to give this comment it’s own post and proper framing!


RZ Says:

Sean, the money breakdown is really interesting.

In terms of team sports, do the teams or leagues pay for the players’ travels when the teams are on the road? If so, then the disparity is even greater because there are far fewer expenses. Also, even if the team players paid for their away game travels, they would pay less because their travel would be mostly domestic or at least continental, whereas tennis players travel internationally.

And then there is the issue of seasons. Team sports have a much shorter season – so they get more money and have fewer expenses over a shorter-term. The ATP season is about 11 months long, so the players are earning and paying for travel for almost a full year.


Steve 27 Says:

Yes, Sean, what is the life of tennis in addition to being your own boss, like you’ve created your own business, you have to find ways to keep producing, you don’t have the good fortune as it were a soccer player, if he is injured on the field, the club pays the recovery of course and wages stay the same. An example from the truth of tennis, is Kaka, the Brazilian soccer player, when he was injured back in 2010, his club Real Madrid, he continued to pay his astronomical salary, something over 10 billion dollars annually . If Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, are injured, no one is going to continue paying his salary, of course they have their huge advertising revenue, but that’s another story. In short, this sport allows you to know different places, people, cultures, but makes the most of you and if you don’t have the technical, physical and mental, at the same time, you will not be in the elite of tennis, something that few can in this sport. That’s the reality.


Sean Randall Says:

RZ, the big four leagues in the US do take care of player travel, transport and hotels. So players don’t have that worry.

And when they do go on the road they get a per diem. Not only did Kobe Bryant make close to $25 million last year, but when he went on the road he received $115/day as a per diem! Like he needed that? Still, not bad.

Our team sports do have longer off seasons than tennis. Those players do get about 3 full months off.

However, like in baseball, you play almost daily and there are very few days off.

Djokovic may play 80 matches over the course of 11 months. Kobe Bryant plays 80 games in just 6 months.

Steve27, true. If you get injured in tennis and cant play Wimbledon, Wimbledon isn’t sending you any $$$. Most top players probably are insured in case of major injuries but with the exception of endorsements little is guaranteed especially for the lower ranked players.


Leon Says:

Ah, money! What can be more fascinating than prescribing the proper limits to someone’s desires! than discussing someone’s covetousness!
And look, Sean, at this firmly scientific approach: let’s take #100 Andreev, oh my, over 4M a career!
For heavens sake, this “journeyman” most of his career was top 50, often top 30, even top 20 in 2008 (on a side note, if you are a fan of tennis and not only of tables, off-court crap and maybe a single player, you should know that Andreev has some firm skills and memorable matches under his belt. He definitely deserves more respect that been cited as smth like an overpaid mute). He is #100 – NOW. Oh, let’s then better take a hewitt, why not? Last time I checked he was #174 with what? About 20M?! How come?


Kimberly Says:

the NFL is brutal and what football does to your body there has to be a huge payoff or nobody would do that to themselves.

One big difference I see between tennis and the other big US sports is all of the travel in tennis is international, much more expensive and taxing on the body.


RZ Says:

Wow, $115 a day is a HUGE per diem. I’ve done government work before and have gotten per diem for travel, but at most it was around $55 (it’s gone up now to around $70). I did an international trip that was around $120 but Kobe is mainly staying stateside.


racquet Says:

Hmm….interesting and on topic. Christopher Clarey (of the NYT) has just tweeted that the French Open has increased prize money by 7%, with much of increase to early rounds. Looks like a gesture to the ATP. It’s a start.


Sean Randall Says:

Kimberly, agreed. The pounding your head/body take in the NFL has to be incredible. I would be concerned if my kids were playing in that league!

That said, if a son was to make it big among the sports I wish it would be tennis. Among the team sports I’d say the NBA. You can still get a 15 yr career, make a lot of money on and off court plus exit fairly injury free. Baseball would be good too, but I don’t think the off court earning potential is as great as the NBA anymore.

If my kid was only going to be a journeyman (nice thinking, right?), I’d then choose baseball. 15-20 yr career, very nice paycheck plus low impact on your body. And, you play outdoors, in usually nice weather.

Haha.


jane Says:

Great post at 10:10 Sean – it’s fascinating to see the difference. And I know at least in hockey that career longevity is pretty close to par with tennis, maybe hockey players can go even a little longer, though it depends on the individual in both cases. Imagine the differential at the end of these players’ careers. Wow. You can get a sense of why tennis players may be disgruntled and want changes.

On the other hand, I guess it’s a matter of which sport fills more seats, and that sort of thing, too. I mean, I suppose that could factor into the conversation?

Anyhow, thanks for the numbers breakdown; it was interesting to see.


rogerafa Says:

@ Sean

” but compared to the major, global sports tennis is indeed worse off. But like I said that’s the market”

The only truly comparable individual sport is golf. Baseball and american football have little following outside the USA. Basketball and ice hockey are not much better either. They are not “global” by any stretch of imagination. That way, why not compare badminton, table tennis, billiards and so on? The prize money in tennis is better than most really global sports although there are definitely a lot of expenses too. I do not mind first round winners at majors getting a hike but I think the first round losers can not possibly hope for a huge increase from what they get currently.


rogerafa Says:

@steve27

“he continued to pay his astronomical salary, something over 10 billion dollars annually”

Kaka getting 10 billion dollars? I am sure the figure is closer to 10 million dollars. :-)


Steve 27 Says:

While the tennis does not turn into boxing … is everything good, right?


Steve 27 Says:

Kaka getting 10 billion dollars? I am sure the figure is closer to 10 million dollars. :-)

Yeah rogerafa, my mistake, obviously is 10 million dollars.

By the way, are you more fan of the swiss or the spaniard?


Sean Randall Says:

rogerrafa, I see your point. Many sports are regionalized. But do you think badminton has more global viewership/audience than baseball or hockey? I do not.

Ping pong may be up there, but not as high as tennis. Soccer, basketball and maybe cricket are the three biggest? I don’t know.

I would think tennis is top 10, maybe top 5.


skeezerweezer Says:

^also if these guys think there life long career income is going to be playing professional tennis, they are fools. Most pro athletes know and should be planning for a career after( except the very top players ).


Kimberly Says:

Sean, I have a six year old who is pretty good at tennis already playing in the 10′s and he trains and is very good and all of that, our ultimate goal is that he will get a college scholarship, nothing more. But agreed, if I knew he could be a professional at some sport but only an average player for that level, I would look to NBA or baseball, least injuries and most money.

Most “journeyman” tennis players end up teaching tennis and not making all that much money. Now what defines that? What is the lowest level of success as a tennis pro acceptable to actually make some bucks? Top 30 top 40?


mat4 Says:

@Sean:

Rogerafa could be right about baseball, though I disagree about basketball, very popular in Europe and South America too. Hockey is also very popular in Eastern Europe. I don’t think that golf is that popular – it is just a sport of rich.

But there is no doubt that football is the no 1 sport in the world (I didn’t write soccer on purpose).


rogerafa Says:

@ Sean

There are many ways of assessing the popularity of different sports. You could use the maximum number of people playing it or following/watching but a populous nation like China or India can make it skewed. The maximum number of nations or geographies could be taken into account. Structured professional leagues or tours(golf for example even though it is kind of elitist. Tennis is also considered somewhat elitist in many circles) reflect the professional side of it. Television viewer-ship or audience can be an indicator too. Soccer obviously ticks all the boxes here. Cricket is hugely popular in south asia(the Indian subcontinent has a population of around 1.6 billion)but it is played among only ten nations. TT and badminton are hugely popular in Asia(China alone has 1.3 billion plus people) and to a lesser extent elsewhere. Compare these with the audience for baseball and american football or even ice hockey. Outside of north america, only Japan and Cuba(maybe parts of Latin america) seem to show similar enthusiasm for baseball. Ice hockey is popular in parts of northern and eastern Europe but nowhere as popular as in US or Canada. Field hockey and volleyball are way more global. Basketball is the only one among the four which can be said to be popular in terms of the general public playing it but it is nowhere as well professionally organized as it is in north america. There is the NBA and that is it so far as my knowledge of truly professional basketball leagues is concerned.

I mentioned golf(or TT or badminton for that matter) because it is an individual sport. Golf is also, like tennis, professionally very well organized across the globe. It is another matter that some don’t consider it a sport at all.


Kimberly Says:

Crap, the heat lost to Chicago when we should have won it, draw for montecarlo opens Saturday morning.


Wog boy Says:

mat4,
Basketball is popular in Africa, Asia and Australia too. It is definitely world and not local game.
You will be suprised how much are payed American players in eastern European clubs, and I bet even Americans don’t know who they are:-)
My club signed Davis Bertans and is about to sign Dominic James. Now, how many of you in America have heard their names…….? Don’t google :)


mat4 Says:

@WB:

Your club is Partizan, isn’t it? (I used Google.)


Dave Says:

Sean, your viral misinformation continues. What you fail to disclose is that it is misleading to compare the 2012 earnings of No. 100 tennis player Andreev and No. 100 golfer Olesen… since Olesen would be No. 20 on the European Tour 100 money list (given all his events were on the European Tour)… while Andreev would be well out of the 2012 ATP 100 money list. Thus the meaningful way to compare 2012 earnings is to compare the ATP money list with the 2012 golf money list.

Given this, you should be able to see that your earlier statement was misinformation: “100th player in tennis makes far less than a similar player in other mainstream sports like golf, football (soccer & American NFL), baseball, basketball and hockey.”

What you further don’t disclose is that Thorbjorn Olesen is actually No. 20 on the 2012 European Tour prize money list with USD$378,459 (€288,021) BECAUSE he was winning relatively more than Andreev– top 8 (1st, 6th, 8th) in three of his seven tournaments (see link). No. 100 golfer was hard at work playing 7 tournaments in the European Tour. His 2012 results include: 1st won Sicilian Open ($218,000), 6th in Avantha Masters ($65,800), 8th Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship ($58,564). Olesen mkissed the cut in one tourney, and does did not make prize money.
http://www.golfdata.se/guide/spg_res_pdf.asp?nr=30138&Year=2012

On the other hand, Andreev lost to 9 players (ranked No. 11 to 252, including 5 players ranked lower than him) in the 9 tournaments he played (8 ATP and 1 Challenger tourneys). Andreev’s best finish was quarterfinalist at an ATP 250 clay tourney. Andreev has won only 5 ATP matches in the 3 months of 2012.

What is it about the golf that has the No. 100 player winning more than the No. 100 tennis player? Could it be that if you miss the ‘Cut’ in golf at the end of the second day of tournament play… you earn Zero prize money? Only the top 60 to 70 golfers who make the cut earn prize money. If golfers keep missing cuts and fall on the money list, eventually they lose their tour card and have to go back to the PGA Tour’s four-stage qualifying school or European Tour’s three-stage qualfiying school. Only a fixed number of players win their tour card that gives them membership of the PGA Tour for the season.

Maybe it is time to stop paying first round losers to get rid of the deadbeats in tennis or send them back to some kind of qualifying school.

ATP tennis players are really closer to PGA golfers… than they are to soccer-footballers, NFL footballers, basketballers or baseballers.

Let’s compare prize money at the US Open majors in tennis and golf. Tennis’s US Open ($215 million, both men and women) generates about twice the revenue as Golf’s US Open (about $100 million, men). Since no women play the Golf US Open (those there are no artificial limits on men’s prize money), we should estimate revenue for the Tennis US Open as if only men played and generated the revenue. For the tennis US Open, my speculation is that the men generate about two-thirds of the revenue (ticket sales, TV broadcasting, corporate sponsoships). So the Tennis US Open (mens) generates probably about $140 million or 40% more revenue than the Golf US Open.

- In the Tennis 2011 US Open: Players in the first round (128th place) earn $19,950; players in second round (64th place) earn $31,000; players in the third round (32nd place ) earn $55,000; fourth round (16th place ) earn 110,000; quarterfinalists (8th place ) earn $225,000; semifinalists (4th place) earn $450,000; finalist (2nd place) earns $900,000; and champion (1st place) earns $1,800,000.

- Compare this to Golf 2011 US Open: 80 players missed the ‘cut’ and so earned zero prize money (the ‘cut’ at the end of the second day carries financial consequences for a player — those missing the cut earn no prize money, so only the top 60 positions get prize money). The last person making the cut and finishing in 60th place earned $17,215; 32nd placed golfer earned $45,991, 16th place made $114,480; 8th place $194,786; 4th place $325,923; 2nd place $755,000; champion $1,260,000. (Actually it is not so simple as this direct comparison — as golf has 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th…60th — but more like 4th place in tennis $450,000 compared to the average of third place and fourth place in golf ($467,672+$325,923 / 2 = $396,798 and so on… but I am too lazy to calculate this because there are 60 prize positions in golf)

On a related issue, Stakhovsky misinforms: “For instance, the US Open spends 4-6% of their profit on prize money.” Wrong. Given the 2011 US Open revenue was $215 million (Tom Perrota), the US Open spent between 11% ($23.7 million base purse of prize money) to 12.2% ($26.3 million includes bonus prize money) of revenue from US Open on prize money. Could it have been a larger percentage (e.g., 15% to 20%)? Sure. But it was significantly more than Stakhovsky claims, which indicates he does not know what he is talking about or exaggerating on some issues.


Wog boy Says:

mat4,
It is indeed. Born and bred, blak and white all my life:)
You are forgiven for googleing:)


Wog boy Says:

mat4,
Sorry, of the topic, check You Tube under- Partizan fans-, you can find both, basketball and football fans, you will see how much we love the club and game ( basketball ).


Dave Says:

Steve 27: “you don’t have the good fortune as it were a soccer player, if he is injured on the field, the club pays the recovery of course and wages stay the same. An example from the truth of tennis, is Kaka, the Brazilian soccer player, when he was injured back in 2010, his club Real Madrid, he continued to pay his astronomical salary, something over 10 billion dollars annually.”

Kaka (more pictures and info in next post) appears on almost everyone’s top 5 good-looking footballer’s list, so no womder he is also a celebrity model for Armani.
http://tinyurl.com/73t7kpv

Does Kaka get paid 10 billion dollars annually? Nope. Being a soccer/footballer may have some positives over an ATP tennis player, but there are also negatives that tennis players do not have to face.

Kaka was not paid 10 billion, or even 10 million during his injury. Kaka’s annual salary is $12 million (sixth highest paid footballer in the world in 2011) plus he makes other income outside his club. Kaka’s injury sidelined him for only four months between late August to December — the entire first half of the 2010-2011 season. Given his annual salary ($12 million), the rich Real Madrid club paid him $4 million while he was sidelined. During his injury, the popular Kaka continued with promotional activities for the club. Kaka played 20 matches in the four months remaining of the 2010-2011 season, scoring 7 goals — this was 60% of the matches he played in the previous season but almost as many goals scored. So Kaka did contribute to the 2010-2011 season, despite the injury.

Even though Kaka was injured for four months, the cost of Kaka’s injury was probably $2 to $3 million given his increased productivity after his injury. But the reality was that it did not matter to Real Madrid whether or not Kaka played — that’s because Kaka’s gap was plugged with other other players from the 24-player first team squad. Within 10 days of Kaka’s operation Real Madrid bought a young,talented, cheaper player named Mezut Ozil. Ozil filled Kaka’s gap as playmaker so well that eventually he began regularly wearing Kaka’s No. 10 shirt.

But there are tens of thousands of suffering football players who are not as fortunate as Kaka. When we look at Kaka, we don’t realize that — though there are about 2,000 ATP players in the world — FIFA has identified at least 113,000 thousand professional footballers around the world among the 265 million peole who regularly play football in 200 countries. That’s because these professional footballers play in many football leagues around the world. The two most famous are the England’s football league and Spain’s La Liga. England’s football league is an interconnected pyramid of leagues based on relegations and promotions. The top four leagues in the pyramid hierarchy are Premier League (level 1, 20 teams with a total of 900 senior squad professional players and 600 schooboy players), Football League Championship (level 2, 24 teams), Football League One (level 3, 24 teams), Football League Two (level 4, 24 teams)… in the English football league system has more than 140 individual leagues involving more than 7,000 clubs. The biggest club in English Premier League football is Manchester United, which has over 50 first team players, reserves and other players.

Now that we know there are 113,000 pro footballers, we can use common sense: Imagine there are two companies — Company Twenis (2,000 employees) generates $1.5 billion of revenue, and Company Futbol (113,000 employees) $40 billion of revenue. Question: do you think the salaries of the 2,000 Twenis employees will be similar to the top 2,000 Futbol employees (out of 113,000)? Why should the 2,000 Twenis employees deserve equal pay, given they generate much less revenue and are a much smaller company? Can we now understand why the 100th player in tennis makes far less than the 100th player in football.

The biggest difference between ATP tennis and football is that the money in football (NFL, NBA, MLB etc) is far greater than in tennis. According to Forbes and Deloitte, the five highest earning sports teams in the world based on their 2010 revenue are: (1) Real Madrid football club $592 million; (2) Barcelona football club $537 million; (3) Manchester United football club $472 million; (4) New York Yankees $441 million; (5) Dallas Cowboys $420 million. You realize how much money there is in these sports when you consider that there are many, many clubs/teams in soccer-football, NFL football, baseball, basketball, ice hockey, etc.

Compare this to tennis’s richest tournament — the U.S. Open — which took in only about $215 million in 2011 (for both men and women; so let’s estimate revenue generated only by men to be 66% or $140 million). Wimbledon keeps its financials secret, but has anyone computed the total revenue in the 4 Slams, 1 WTF, 9 Masters 1000 events and 11 ATP 500 events?

So of course the No. 100 highest paid footballer (Manchester United’s Park Ji-Sung) should earn 3.8 million euros in 2011 compared to the No. 100 highest paid tennis player in 2011 (Teymuraz Gabashvili) who made $296,338.

Another difference between football players (basketballers, baseballers, NFL etc) and tennis players is that footballers are employees under contract to their rich clubs (which basically own their employees’ playing rights in exchange for paying them a salary). With big salary comes big responsibility. Real Madrid have been unhappy with Kaka’s performance. Real Madrid manager-coach Jose Mourinho reportedly told Kaka he was no longer part of his plans for the club.Since late 2011, Real Madrid have been trying to sell Kaka for less than half the price they bought him or loan him to a club willing to pay his high salary. Imagine the uncertainty and mental pressure that Kaka has been under.

ATP players are self-employed businessmen who are independent contractors -– they individually enter into agreements with the ATP and Grand Slams championships to compete in their tournaments. They are also co-owners of the ATP World Tour, though decisions are made by the ATP Board of Directors. The players have no control over the Grand Slam events, which tend to make decisons mosty in the interests of the slams/ITF (and with disrespect to players’ interests). However, Federer’s unseen influence has probably been at work behind the scenes: The French Open has announced yesterday that it has targeted more cash at early round losers. Total prize money will be 18.7 million euros, a 1.2 million-euro increase from 2011. Losers in the second qualifying round up to the third round of the main draw getting a pay increase of between 10 and 20 percent. The singles champions will receive a 4 percent rise in prize money to 1.25 million euros ($1.65 million).


Dave Says:

More pictures of Kaka:
http://footielove.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/kakaarmani1.jpg
http://styleblog.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/kaka-530×680.jpg
http://tinyurl.com/7rnyo44

More on the career of a top footballer under contract to the richest club in sports… Kaka was the Fifa World Player Of The Year in 2007 and the highest paid football player in the world earning 9 million euros annually. Kaka wanted to remain and finish his career at Italian club AC Milan (his contract was until 2013) but A C Milan’s financial crisis forced the club to sell the lucrative Kaka. A number of clubs expressed interest in Kaka. In June 2009, two deals were made: (1) Spain’s Real Madrid bought Kaka for 65 million euros (about $90 million) from AC Milan (one month later rich Madrid bought Cristiano Ronaldo for $130 million) and (2) Kaka’s agent made a separate deal with Real Madrid to pay the Brazilian an annual salary of $9 million euros (about $12 million) each year for five years. Kaka transferred to Madrid. Each season Real Madrid plays 38 games in the Spanish La Liga between late August to early May the following year (rarely does any player play all 38 games) as well as additoonal matches in Spain’s knockout cup competition and the UEFA Champions League (formerly European Cup). In the 2009-2010 season, Kaka played 33 games for Madrid throughout the season and scored only 9 goals due to a combination of poor form and groin injury. By the season’s end, there were rumours that Real Madrid wanted to sell Kaka to Chelsea to recoup their huge investment (but Kaka was not sold). Poor Real Madrid’s huge investment in Kaka deteriorated further during the World Cup in June 2010, when Kaka suffered a knee injury but continued to play through the “unbearably painful” injury. In early August 2010, Real Madrid’s preseason checkup detected a serious knee injury in Kaka — and surgery was immediately performed. The knee surgeon revealed that Kaka had put his career at risk by playing for Brazil at the World Cup. Kaka was sidelined for four months and played his first match on Jan 3, 2011. He played 20 matches for the remainder the 2010-2011 season, scoring 7 goals. In the current 2011-2012 season, Kaka has played 36 matches, scoring 8 goals. This was a far cry from Kaka’s heyday in 2007-2009 when he was playing about 38 matches and scoring about 17 goals per season. So Kaka played 89 matches scoring 24 goals and providing 30 assists for Madrid over the past three seasons. Cristiano Ronaldo turned out to be more productive for Madrid, appearing in 134 matches and scoring 137 goals during the same period. Currently Kaka is the sixth highest paid footballer in the world (still earning $12 million salary each year’; he also earns about $13 million in other income) while Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest paid earning a salary of $16 million annually. The world’s best footballer Lionel Messi earns $14 each year.


Sean Randall Says:

Dave, haha. I didn’t pick Olefsen, you did!

You wrote, “The No. 100 Igor Andreev made $4.3 million prize money which is more than the World golf rankings’ No. 100 golfer Thorbjorn Olesen’s $1.5 milion prize money.”

And I just followed your lead! You said Olesen was the No. 100 golfer on the WGR, and he was. So I ran with it.

Ok, perhaps not the fairest comparison (differing ranking systems which is way i moved to the PGA money list), so let’s go with current year European prize money.

You said Olesen is No. 20 on the 2012 list with “USD$378,459″. I’ll trust you are right here. No. 20 on today’s 2012 ATP list is Gilles Simon with $268,883. So…
2012 Euro Golf Tour $$$ #20: $378,459 (Olesen)
2012 ATP $$$ #20: $268,883 (Simon)

Once again tennis is a loser! In this case even the European Golf Tour has the ATP circuit beat! Staks will not be happy to learn that.

As for Staks’s comment. He says 4-6% US Open prize goes to players while you say it’s 11-12%. Sounds like you both could be right.

Staks’s 4-6% does fall in line with half of 11-12%, and the men’s prize distribution is half of that 11-12% total. So there’s a reasonable chance the 4-6% he’s referring to is men only.

So I would cut him a little slack before saying “he does not know what he is talking about or exaggerating on some issues.”

That said, I will agree that something should be done about the first round losers taking home $$$. Maybe more of that money should go to the first round winner or distributed evenly in later rounds, similar to golf.


Sean Randall Says:

Skeeze, just look at all the broke former NBA players. Antione Walker has already blown through over $100MM? Iverson in debt? Amazing.

Kimberly, I think about 200-250 guys on the ATP (singles & doubles) are making a decent living and taking home over 50K a year after expenses, taxes, etc.

I think around No 175 might be the break even point. Somewhere in that range.

And yes, very surprised at how poorly the Heat have played since the break. I have to wonder to Lebron/Wade a hiding injuries b/c I’m really shocked how bad they’ve been in the second half. Geez!

rogerafa, thanks for the added info. When it comes to $$$ and sports I like to stick to viewership. Lots of people run or play billiards, but that doesn’t translate into big TV ratings.

Hardly anyone over the age of 25 plays American football, yet the ratings for that sport are enormous.

Do more people in China watch an average table tennis match than Americans watch an NFL game?

And similarly, on a global level i’m sure more people play volleyball or field hockey, but what’s the TV viewership and attendance?


Kimberly Says:

Not to digress BUT Lebron Bosch and D Wade scored combined 71 points, shot over 50% and still lost the game because our bench absolutely sucks. I am going to the game tonight which we better win agains the bobcats, arguably the worst team in the NBA.

50k a year doesn’t sound like much for all of the extensive years of training, aggravation, injury, travel. These people start as kids and basically forgo normal life to play on the tour. But I guess any compensation for doing something you love is great. A friend of mine is a sportswriter and he says he gets paid for what he would do for free. After all, I play tennis for free for 2 hours a day almost every day!


Sean Randall Says:

Kimberly, your big three should absolutely dominate. Who needs a bench with those guys!!

If they lose to bobcats tonight, well…

Speaking of the NBA and $$$, in Houston this week Juan Monaco met with his countryman and Rocket Luis Scola.

Monaco is has been a strong Top 30/40 (he’s 16) player on the ATP. Scola is a starter for the team and one of their best scorers. But I wouldn’t put Scola among the Top 30 or even Top 50 in the NBA.

However, looking at their earnings there is quite the disparity. Since turning pro in 2002 Monaco has earned a total of $4.6 million.

Scola, since joining the NBA in 2007 has already amassed $25.7 million! (http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/s/scolalu01.html)

That money disparity is probably not lost on Monaco or other players.


Dave Says:

Sean, lol, changing your story won’t help: YOU picked a player like Olesen when you said “The 100th player in tennis makes far less than a similar player in other mainstream sports like golf…” I could have easily found a poorer golfer ranked a few places away (since you said “similar player” to No 100) but I didn’t… cuz it really doesn’t matter.

***

Boo-hoo that No. 100 golfer Olesen (No. 20 on 2012 Euro Golf Tour Money List makes $378,459) while poor No. 13 tennis player Gilles Simon (No. 20 on the ATP Money list) makes only $268,883. Thanks for helping me make my point once again. The reason Olesen made more money is because No. 100 Olesen made $218,000 by winning the Sicilian Open, while No. 13 Simon did not reach any final (Simon’s best results were 2 semifinals at ATP 250 events). If Olesen was as mediocre as Simon, he would have been fourth place at the Sicilian open (winning about $65,000 EUR instead of $218,000), thus reducing his 2012 earnings to $225,000. Whoah! Mediocre Olesen’s $225,000 would now be less than Mediocre Simon’s $269,000.

Moral of the story: If you are the No. 13 ranked tennis player in the world, yet cannot win even one tourney and get better overall results, you do not deserve to make more money than the No. 100 ranked golfer who actually does win tournaments. Now here is the secret: Only losers feel entitled to make more money while they are losers and think like losers… and that is why they are losers. Is that why you declared “I do sympathize with Stakhovsky’s disenchantment with tennis prize money as it compares to other sports”? Cuz Stakhovsky sounded like a loser to me.

***

Sean, if you want to quote me, please quote me right: “Stakhovsky misinforms… he does not know what he is talking about or exaggerating on some issues.” He should not be cut slack for misinforming, being ignorant and/or exaggerating: (1) the figure was based on revenue, not profit (profit would have been way too low to be the base for 4% to 6% prize money); (2) even if he was referring to men only, he should not have said 4-6% but 5.5% to 6% (since the prize money is 11% to 12.2%); and (3) regardless, if he was referring to men’s portion of the total prize purse (e.g., half) then he should have also referred to the men’s portion of total revenue (e.g., half)… in which case the men’s prize money would be 11% to 12.2% of the ‘half-revenue’ (note: my own estimate is that 66% of revenue was due to men).

***

Stakhovsky: “In a year, I spend 170 thousand Euros on the “game expenses” category. Last year, only the tickets cost me 85 thousand. I earned $428 thousand. Take out 30%, on average, for taxes.”
Let’s fact-check Stakhovsky:
- In 2011, Stakhovsky was the 47th highest paid ATP tennis player, earning $638,812 (€493,000 EUR) prize money plus undisclosed other income.
- Deduct €170,000 EUR of game expenses, leaves him with €323,000 EUR plus undisclosed other income
- Deduct 17% highest personal income tax rate in Ukraine (not 30% as Stakhovsky exaggerates), leaves him with €268,090 EUR ($351,921.13 USD) plus undisclosed other income.
http://tinyurl.com/83jrjht
- So he still had after-tax income of about $352,000 (in USA, before-tax income of $352,000 puts a person in the top 1% of taxpayers), which should easily put him within the richest 0.3% of Ukrainians.
- Are we that stupid that we are trying to help this every rich guy get even richer… which will lead to the consequence that tournaments will pass on the increased costs by raising ticket prices even more and cut costs by reducing staff, etc.

***

Stakhovsky: “Let’s say, I retire at 32 years. Say even that I earn a net of 500 thousand Euros by that time. But I need to live off this money for the rest of my life.”
- As I posted earlier, the rest of us in developed countries will change careers 3 to 5 (maybe more) times in a lifetime. Yet Stakhovsky expects to have only one career, retire at 32, the live off this money the rest of his life. This guy is not “very insightful” as you claim. He is either very immature, very foolish and/or has a socialist’s sense of entitlement. Like skeezerweezer noted it is foolish to expect life long income from one career (professional tennis). Most pro athletes should be planning for a new career after their sports career (except for the very richest players).
- Stakhovsky understates he will earn only a net of €500,000 EUR if retires at 32 years. If Stakhovsky retires at 32, he will have another 7 years to play in which he should make another €2.2 million EUR in prize money ($2.9 million USD) based on the assumption he makes an average of €320,000 EUR per year for the next 7 years (add €2.2 millionin to his current €2.3 million in prize money… thus, he will have made €4.5 million in prize money by the time retires).

***

Stakhovsky: “Yes, it will look vulgar if a player who lost in the first round (of a Slam), makes $50-100 thousand, but how much he invested in himself to even play there. To fly to Australia – that’s already a feat. It’s 24 hours. I’m not risking flying economy there, it’s just unrealistic.”
- I laughed when I read this. It gives you insight into Stakhovsky’s entitlement mentality. Losing the first round is like not making the ‘cut’ in golfer — golfers are not paid a cent of prize money. Yet Stakhovsky feels he is entitled to $50,000 to $100,000 for being a first round loser of a Slam! A rate that is 10 to 20 times his expenses. Ridiculous.
- As well, the vast majority of companies today require their staff below ‘C Level’ (CEO, CFO, vice-president, etc) to fly economy even for 28 hour flights, even middle managers. Gone are the days companies would pay for business class. In any case, Stakhovsky must have lost of airmiles he could use.

***

Stakhovsky’s mid-January remarks was self-fulfilling prophesy: “My issue is Indian Wells and Miami are mandatory events and if I lose in the first round I am minus (earnings). I am not making money off these tournaments. ‘It’s four weeks spent in the United States, it’s airfares and hotels … if you’re out in the first round you’re unable to pay your coach.”
http://tinyurl.com/bpw9b3v
- Stakhovsky played his first round Indian Wells match on March 8, so he should have arrived 4 days before on March 3 or 4. He lost the second round of Indian Wells on March 10 (he should have quickly left for cheaper Miami hotels) and then lost the first round of Miami to Tomic on March 22 (Thursday), so he should have left by March 23 (that’s 20 days or three weeks), not spend 3.5 weeks in USA as he claimed.
- Stakhovsky still made $20,405 for winning just one match.
- Not sure if Stakhovsky meant he lost $5,000 after expenses OR gained $11,000 after expenses… on the $20,405: “I’m in the negative after the IW and Miami Masters. About five thousand… My net gain there was about $11,000.”
- And he also got the US witholding tax on prize money by foreign athletes wrong — it’s 30%, not the 38% he claimed.
- As well, for a mediocre No. 76 player (ranking at IW) voluntarily choose to have an expensive entourage that includes a fitness trainer and coach on an expensive trip that he had concerns about losing money. If he wants to take the risk to spend beyond his means, it’ s his responsibility. By age 26 Stakhovsky should know the fitness drills and what the coach wants him to do.
- Stakhovsky was not thinking of other ways to make extra money, such as playing a challenger event between March 10 to March 22. Compare him with Igor Andreev, who had it worse: Andreev lost the first qualifying round in both Indian Wells and Miami (making a total of $2,340), but in between the two events he entered Dallas 2 Challenger to make some money (he lost in the final but made $10,200)… so in total he made $12,540.
http://tinyurl.com/bpw9b3v
- It’s interesting that players like Stakhovsky and Nadal don’t demand the obvious: (1) change the two-week Indian Wells and Miami tourneys into one-week back-to-back tourneys like Canada and Cincinnati to keep it consistent with other one-week tourneys; (2) stop running joint tourneys with women as tournaments have to equalize and put limits on prize money, instead of paying even more prize moeny to men; and (3) reject Larry Ellison’s requirement to give more prize money to the top 8 winners.

***

stay tuned, checkmate coming soon :)


Kimberly Says:

Look at the top of other sports v tennis. Kobe Bruant I believe gets 25 million a year. What did Federer make his best year ever.


Kimberly Says:

Yet I believe Maria Sharapova the highest earning femaile athlete in the world, mostly from endorsements and but also, what womens sport pays more that tennis?


Queen Says:

Who the f..k is this Dave guy? Some jobless mother f…. who writes crap on this blog all day long. Get a job! My God cannot even read this shit.


Brad F Says:

In reference to player earnings prize money winnings, the tax laws can be very complex.

Many pro tennis players on the ATP & WTA are subject to double taxation: They have to pay a local tax where the tournament is played and then their own country tax.

For example in the case of Stakhovsky if he wins $50,000 at the US Open he first pays a local tax rate of 30% on that $50,000 ($15,000).

The remaining $35,000 is then taxed by his country of the Ukraine at a rate of 17% leaving a net take home of $29,050.

His end tax rate for the US Open is then 42%.

Where it becomes confusing is each country has its own tax rate.

The rate at the French Open I believe is 15%. (Foreign players like Stakhovsky would pay 15% in tax on their earnings at that event.)

Foreign players in Barcelona next week may have up to 25% or more taken out of their winnings.

In England visitors get taxed on prize money and then you are taxed on endorsements and other earnings for the time you are there. Rafael Nadal turned down the Queen’s Club event because he has to pay so much tax on his off court income.

Monte Carlo does not withold tax thusly players take home what is written in print. And players with residence in tax havens like Monte Carlo pay no country tax.

Novak Djokovic has a Monte Carlo residency and if he wins the tournament he would keep all of his 460,260E prize monies.

If Mardy Fish won his 460,260E earnings would be subject to the US tax code.

Peter Bodo touched on this double taxation last month http://blogs.tennis.com/tennisworld/2012/03/tk-3.html

In sports we are drawn to these big prize money payouts but rarely does that figure end up in the players’ pockets.

Brad


skeezerweezer Says:

@Brad

That sucks :(
(Double Taxation)


Dave Says:

Queen: “Who the f..k is this Dave guy? Some jobless mother f…. who writes crap on this blog all day long. Get a job! My God cannot even read this shit.” You should be banned since everyone can read your crap and see that what you write is crap and that you will probably show up only to write more than crap.

What I wrote was based on facts, logic and comon sense — but of course it is crap to your because the truth hurts. You would prefer to believe Stakhovsky’s lie that Ukraine taxes him at 30% whereas I prefer to believe Ernst and Young and the Ukraine government’s word that it taxes its richest Ukainian citizens at only 17%. I bothered to check his story whereas you either foolishly believe everything he said or else you are here to support him by attacking

Like I said, Stakhovsky still had AFTER-tax income of about $352,000 last year. In USA, BEFORE-tax income of $352,000 puts a person in the top 1% of taxpayers. (University of California economist Emmanuel Saez revealed that 93% of $288 billion — the additional income created in USA in 2010 — went to the top 1% of taxpayers, those with at least $352,000 in income. That delivered an average single-year pay increase of 11.6% to each of these households. Yes, the rich are getting richer in the USA, read this article.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/26/opinion/the-rich-get-even-richer.html

If $352,000 after-tax net income puts Stakhovsky in the top 1% of income earners in the USA, where do you think that puts him in Ukraine (Ukraine’s GDP per capita (PPP) is 14% of USA; Ukraine has 14% of the population of USA)? Yes, Stakhovsky’s USD$352,000 is like earning over $2 million per year in the Ukraine. Yet his attitude is that he is entitled to even more money while the average worker outside the tennis world has to learn and adapt to new jobs, new careers, new companies and even accept pay cuts over a lifetime of employment.

Like I said, are we that stupid that we are trying to help this very rich guy get even richer?

Use your common sense. Somebody else has to pay for dramatic pay increases across the board to these rich athletes — and that somebody ultimately is us. We will have to pay for higher tennis ticket prices and directly/indirectly for higher costs of TV broadcasts of tennis programs. Tournaments will pass on the increased costs by raising already obscenely-priced tickets even more and cutting costs (reducing staff, etc.).


Sean Randall Says:

Please Dave, by all means necessary, can you fast forward to “checkmate”. I’m eager for you to prove to me/us/everyone how an average Joe like Stakhovsky makes about as much as a comparable player in another pro sport like golf, basketball, soccer, baseball or American football. (Not at issue with me here is how he compares with the avg worker)

Also, in the spirit of the tax season can you comment on the merits of double taxation on players as Brad and Peter Bodo have mentioned.

You have written, “Deduct 17% highest personal income tax rate in Ukraine (not 30% as Stakhovsky exaggerates), leaves him with €268,090 EUR ($351,921.13 USD) plus undisclosed other income…. You would prefer to believe Stakhovsky’s lie that Ukraine taxes him at 30% whereas I prefer to believe Ernst and Young and the Ukraine government’s word that it taxes its richest Ukainian citizens at only 17%. I bothered to check his story whereas you either foolishly believe everything he said or else you are here to support him by attacking … Like I said, Stakhovsky still had AFTER-tax income of about $352,000 last year.”

Do your figures take into account double taxation or is Staks exempt? It appears you’re indicating he’s exempt. Can you back up that claim or am I missing something.


Dave Says:

Brad F: “Many pro tennis players on the ATP & WTA are subject to double taxation: They have to pay a local tax where the tournament is played and then their own country tax. For example in the case of Stakhovsky if he wins $50,000 at the US Open he first pays a local tax rate of 30% on that $50,000 ($15,000). The remaining $35,000 is then taxed by his country of the Ukraine at a rate of 17% leaving a net take home of $29,050.” This example is 100% nonsense (and something Stakhovsky conveniently omitted to tell us). Stakhovsky’s Ukraine has a double taxation treaty with the USA and over 60 other countries. A double taxation treaty aims to eliminate or reduce double taxation of the same income (which was earned in one country by a resident of another country). If Stakhovsky wins $50,000 at US Open, what happens? The US Open deducts a witholding tax of 30% (imposed by USA) on the $50,000 — so Stakhovsky gets $35,000 from US Open. Stakhovsky is not taxed again in Ukraine because (given the Ukraine-USA double taxation agreement) as Ukraine will grant Stakhovsky a credit for the $15,000 taxes imposed in the USA. Because Ukraine’s 17% tax rate is lower than the USA tax rate of 30%, Stakhovsky will not pay any Ukraine tax on that remaining $35,000 (since the $15,000 tax credit more than covers the $8,500 Ukraine tax that would otherwise be imposed). When Stakhovsky plays in another country that imposes (for example) 10% tax on his winnings, Ukraine will give him a credit for that 10% tax so effectively he pays only 7% tax to Ukraine (so this is simplistic, but you get the picture).

Of course anyone who does business in other countries is not happy being taxed at a higher rate than his own country, but that’s a cost for anyone who does business in the international economy.

Some sportsmen like Djokovic reside in Monaco because it is a tax haven that imposes no personal income tax so Djokovic benefits when he plays in countries with lower tax rates than Serbia


rogerafa Says:

@ Sean

As I hinted earlier, it seems to me slightly unfair to compare the earnings of a tennis player only to those of well-paying sports. Team sports have different financial dynamics compared to individual sports especially regarding the expenses incurred by players. NFL, NHL and MLB are unique in that they are hugely popular in the biggest economy of the world and their lack of popularity outside the USA does not affect them financially at all. NBA, or basketball in general, is basically restricted to very tall athletes. Soccer pays well in the lucrative European leagues but that is not the case in Asia or Africa. Tennis pays very well compared to badminton, TT, squash, chess and many other individual sports. It compares reasonably well with golf.

Of course, ultimately it is Sergiy who is responsible for taking tennis as a profession. I do not know if he had many more lucrative options, except probably soccer, in Ukraine when he was growing up. Maybe, he would have been much worse off had he taken up something else. I think his demands should be focused more on finding out ways to reduce the expenses of, say, players outside of the top-50. For example, the ATP could take some coaching initiatives for players who can’t afford to have individual coaches for themselves. Maybe, idk, they could do bulk deals with major airlines or hotel chains for discounts for the players and similar such stuff.


Dave Says:

Kimberly: “Look at the top of other sports v tennis. Kobe Bruant I believe gets 25 million a year. What did Federer make his best year ever…what womens sport pays more that tennis?”

Federer’s best total earnings year ever was in 2011 — $53 million (only $6.4 million were from prize money earnings). Federer was the third highest earning sportsman on the planet, behind Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, who made a combined $123 million. Federer’s $6.4 million prize money was about as much as Tiger and Mickelson combined because these two deadbeats won only one tournament in 2011, while Federer won four titles.
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/specials/fortunate50-2011/index.20.html
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/specials/fortunate50-2011/index.html

Federer’s highest prize money earnings was over $10 million in 2007, which pales in comparison to Kobe’s $25 million salary each year (which is higher than footballer Cristiano Ronaldo’s $16 million per year in a bigger sport). Yet notice something intersting: sportsmen on their own like Federer, Tiger and Mickelson have much bigger endorsement earnings than earnings from winnings/salary compared to sportsmen from team sports like Kobe. I’m wondering whether it is because athletes like Kobe, Tom Brady, Alex Rodriguez, etc gave up some of their image/advertisng rights in contracts with their clubs in return for higher guaranteed salaries (I don’t know the details of their contracts so I am speculating).

Nadal is the 16th richest sportsman on the planet. Not bad to have two big earners in a sport like tennis with much lower revenues than major team sports. Even the little NHL is set to make $3.2 BILLION revenue this 2011-2012 season according to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (imagine how much NFL, MLB or NBA makes in revenue). How much revenue has tennis generated for all tournaments, ATP, ITF? Does anybody know? I doubt it is even half of the NHL. How can anyone feel entitled to make more money when their business makes less money? Yet somehow Federer, Nadal and Sharapova managed to do just that — or at least their agent IMG did it, outside the tennis tours.

Forbes said seven of the ten highest paid female athletes are tennis players. Maria Sharapova earned the most of any sportswomen, twice as much as the next sportswomen Caroline Wozniacki and race car driver Danica Patrick (who actually competes against the men, good for her). Sharapova made $25 million between July 2010 to 2011 based on prize money, endorsements, exhibitons and appearance fees. She earned more than Novak Djokovic’s $18 million and Andy Murray’s $13.5 million during the same period (Nadal earned only $6 million more than Sharapova duirng that period).
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2011/08/01/the-highest-paid-female-athletes/

Poor Yani Tseng really is one of the most consistently dominant sportswomen on the planet — as a golfer, she has won more majors and other titles at a younger age than Tiger Woods did. Yet so far this year she has made only $924,604.

Now compare the women’s LPGA money list with the men’s PGA money list. The women make significantly less than the men, probably because the men keep their golf tour separate from the women’s tour and so do not have to put limits on their prize money in order to equalize their earnings. And the women do not benefit from the sponsorship money and ticket sales that the men can bring in.
http://espn.go.com/golf/moneylist/_/tour/lpga
http://espn.go.com/golf/moneylist

On the hand, compare the money lists of the WTA and ATP. Women make more money at positions No. 1 (yes Djokovic made less than Azarenka in 2012)… and from No. 13 to 31 in the top 100. That’s 20 positions where women make more money than men. Women tennis players are the world’s best earning sportswomen. Part of this is the result of the women’s tour being coupled with the men’s tour at the four slams and during certain combined events (Indian Wells, Miami, etc) where a policy of equal payment for women and men has been implemented. The consequence is that men’s earnings are artificially depressed by having to share the total pool of prize money with women and the men’s prize money subjected to artificial limits — such limitations that would not be there had men’s earnings been based on the free market and if men kept their tour separate from women (or if tennis was truly open, i..e, men and women compete equally in the same tourney). There are probably specific reasons why No. 13 to 31 have women earning more money than men, but generally the prize money earned gap between men and women is much smaller in tennis compared to golf… and, not surprisingly, the gap between the male tennis players and male golfers is big.
http://www.wtatennis.com/page/PrizeMoneyRankings/0,,12781~0~1~100,00.html
http://www.tennis.com/rankings/money_men.aspx

Do not expact male tennis players to earn more if the men’s tour (a) allow themselves to be held back by these artificial conditions — such as being coupled with the women’s tour — that are not present in other major men’s sports (golf, soccer-football, American football, baseball, basketball, ice hockey, boxing, race car driving etc.) and (b) cannot generate more revenue than the other major men’s sports are able to do. It’s silly to expect to earn more money when your business not only earns less revenue than other businesses… worse, your business stupidly agrees to place limits on how much you are able to earn for the social good of helping another business make more money.

Like my friend Mick said, “you can’t always get what you want…” There are trade offs.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toiM1B6E2ww&feature=related

You can see the full ATP money list in this PDF file “2012 prize money”. Around James Blake’s 217 position on the ATP money list, tennis players actually make more money than golfers like John Daly and Jose Maria Olazabal do currently. The players who really need help would be the ones struggling outside the top one hundred, as long as they are not deadbeats or expecting to be entitled to relief.
http://www.atpworldtour.com/Press/Rankings-and-Stats.aspx

The ATP Player’s Council was smart in bringing in Ignacio Hirigoyen, who has three degrees (law, finance, economics) to help the players take a business and logical approach to the issues.
http://www.andrewskurth.com/people-IgnacioHirigoyen.html

Don’t worry Sean, I haven’t forgotten you. Be patient, please…


Tom Gainey Says:

Guys, I can confirm there is a tax treaty as Dave describes it. I don’t know all the international details but it does exist and it’s used to prevent what Brad says happens.

I can try to ask Stakhovsky to clarify his tax burden.


Dave Says:

Tom/Sean: why not interview Ignacio Hirigoyen on these issues, even do something creative on a regular basis with him as it could generate more hits for your site. After all, his experience on the ATP Player Council, his education and playing experience give him a unique perspective.

Federer with Nadal, Djjkovic and Murray met as a team with reps of the four grand slam tourneys at Indian Wells. Neil Harman: “Top players increase pressure on ‘majors’ to raise prize money… In a move that could have far-reaching consequences for the future pay of the world’s leading professionals, the grand-slam tournaments have met the four top-ranked players in the men’s game to discuss the revenue share at future championships, The Times has learnt. Roger Federer, the president of the ATP player council, along with Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, talked to representatives of the “majors” in an attempt to avert the prospect of a boycott of one of the leading events, which has become a much-discussed player tactic. The French Open delegation has become increasingly anxious that any revolt will affect its field in May. Alarmed at the levels of acrimony among the men, who are pressing for a greater share of the revenue of the grand-slam events — about 12 to 15 per cent — each of the four sent emissaries to Indian Wells, California, last week to try to reach a resolution. They were: Philip Brook, the chairman of the All England Club, in the company of Tim Henman, who is a member of the management committee; Gilbert Ysern, the French Open tournament director, with Guy Forget, who has taken over as tournament director of the Paris Masters; Gordon Smith, the USTA executive director; and Steve Wood, the chief executive of Tennis Australia, with Craig Tiley, the Australian Open tournament director.” (excerpt from the London Times, March 23) Also see “Roger Federer puts the ball in Tour’s court over better deal for players”

Are tennis players overpaid or underpaid?
http://www.thetennisspace.com/opinion/are-tennis-players-overpaid-or-underpaid/

The same issue has been going on and on for decades… here is something from 2003: “Prize Money Monopolizes Wimbledon Chatter”
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/23/sports/tennis-prize-money-monopolizes-wimbledon-chatter.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm


Dave Says:

Sean, are you ready to rumble? Ok, let’s start walking as a warm up. If you made one dollar for every step you walked, you would just have to walk 216 times around our planet earth to make $11 billion dollars (if you learned to walk barefoot and brought your own tent you could cut down your operational expenses on shoes, hotels and coaches).

The major team sports you mentioned are all… MONUMENTALLY MAJOR BUSINESSES.
- Europes “Big Five” football leagues had total revenue of $11 BILLION in the 2010-11 season, according to Deloitte Football Money League report (Note: only England’s Premier League, Germany’s Bundesliga, Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A and France’s Ligue 1 were counted… revenue from football leagues in remaining European countries were included). The top 20 football clubs in Europe generated combined revenues of over $6 billion in 2010/11 (Real Madrid is the world’s richest sports club with $686 million revenue for 2011)

- The National Football League (NFL) total revenue is $9 BILLION.

- Major League Baseball (MLB) is $7 BILLION, probably more this season.

- National Basketball League (NBA) is $3.8 BILLION.

- The National Hockey League (NHL) total revenue is $3.2 BILLION (updated with Gary Betteman’s latest figures).
http://www.statisticbrain.com/professional-sports-average-salary-revenue-salary-cap/

The total revenue in men’s tennis is peanuts, bycomparison. I estimate the total revenue of the men’s tennis tour to be somewhere between $500 to $800 million. The four Grand Slams made about $740 Billion last year (US Open $215 million, Wimbledon $190 million (estimated by Neil Harman), French Open $185 million, Australian Open $150 million) so the men’s portion of the four slams’ revenue is $370 (50%) to $488 (66%). Add estimated revenue from the ATP events: World Tour Finals, 9 Masters 1000, 11 ATP 500, 40 ATP 250 tourneys etc. According to USA Today “From 1990 to 2011, total ATP prize money went from $33.8 million to $80.1 million in 2011, a 137% increase”. Whether or not this figure includes the slams, we can use total prize money to estimate total revenue… given the non-slams are said to give 20% to 30% of revenue in prize money while the slams give about 12%.

You are not comparing apples to apples here, when comparing earnings in men’s tennis to major team sports. The former are a mid-size business comprising 65 events of varying sizes. The latter are massive businesses: not only are their revenues many times greater than men’s tennis, the number of active players competing at a high level is greater (through their many teams in the league). Soccer/football, for example, has 113,000 professional footballers aroung the world.

You can’t compare a smaller group of men’s tennis players generating $750 million with a larger group of other sportsmen generating $3.2 to $11 billion for their business. You are likely to see the 100 best-paid employees earning much more in a business organization generating $5 billion revenue than those in a business organization generating only $750 million revenue.

(The same argument could be used to understand the prize money disparity in golf. I’m too lazy to check golf, so I will magically estimate the four golf majors and PGA Tour to have revenue between $1 to $1.5 billion. Furthermore, the PGA Tour does not hold joint tournaments the way tennis does, and so the men’s tour does not have artificial limits places on prize money.)

Furthermore, tennis players are independent contractors (self-employed businessmen) and are not employees under contract like football, NFL, MLB or NBA players. Why would the Slams bother to pay these independent contractors more when there are still more than enough of them showing up to qualify for the main draw — even in the past at lower payments — and the ticket-buyers are paying all that money to really see the very top players?

As as I showed, men’s tennis shoots itself in the foot by participating in joint tournaments with women, as the tournaments are paying equal prize money. You don’t see any NFL, MLB, NBA or NHL leagues directly coupled with separate women’s leagues in the same space and time, do you?

So your following comment is irrelevant: “Taking a closer look at minimums compared to tennis last year: NFL: $375k – Only 81 ATP players made more than the lowest earner in American football. MLB: $414K – Only 76 ATP players made more than the lowest earner in baseball last year. NHL: $525K – Only 56 ATP players made more than the lowest earner in American hockey. NBA: $490K – Only 60 ATP players made more than the lowest earner in the NBA… Please Dave, by all means necessary, can you fast forward to “checkmate”. I’m eager for you to prove to me/us/everyone how an average Joe like Stakhovsky makes about as much as a comparable player in another pro sport like golf, basketball, soccer, baseball or American football.”

Completely irrelevant, since it’s apples and oranges.

Do I agree that men’s prize money should be significantly increased across the board, all levels: yes, though I still favor disproportionately biggest increases to the final rounds. The last thing we do should do to create a comfortable social safety net for the lower ranked players as it will take away incentive and hunger to win. In fact, there is no reason why men’s tennis should not even aim for higher earnings than golf or football, there is no need to be limited by other sports since the sports business is largely an entertainment business — and the greater the value of your entertainment, the greater should be the rewards.

However, none of common arguments used here, including yours sorry, are the right arguments to use with the slams and other tournaments.

I may have to give this post its proper frame… on second thoughts, nah. I’m not the gloating type:)


Kimberly Says:

Dave—i think tennis players may get more from endorsements if that is so,maybe because their images are generally a little cleaner and less controversial or better role model for the company.

Kobe Bryant had his little hotel adultery rape scandal which prevented him from getting any endorsements.


Tom Gainey Says:

I asked Stakhovsky via twitter: “If UKR has 17% tax, can you offer further details on your 30% tax burden?”

His 2-tweet response:

“that’s exactly what I was trying to say,if one of you people stood on court and try to teach for 12 hours then we would talk.”

“ushered my view if you r just going to pick single phrase go on but for every thing I say I have a logical explanation.”

http://twitter.com/#!/Stako_tennis

I’m not sure what to make of that. A non response?


skeezerweezer Says:

^ Tom thanks for inquiring for all of us. Apparently, he does not want to answer your question. Not surprised. Your question was direct. The answer was not.


Ajet Says:

@Queen:

STFU you child of a dirty BIT##! Dave at least stays civilised & has something to say. But sl#ts like you just come here to get their arse pounded!

—————-

and i wouldn’t be saying this if the moderators of this site were not so silly as not to ban/delete the offensive posts of people like Queen who call others as offensive a word as ”motherf…..” here! WAKE UP MODERATORS!


Sean Randall Says:

Dave, You write, “You are likely to see the 100 best-paid employees earning much more in a business organization generating $5 billion revenue than those in a business organization generating only $750 million revenue.”

I AGREE!

Tennis players earn less because their sport is no where near worth the mega-millions/billions that the NBA, EPL, etc. are. I understand that, and as I’ve said multiple times, “it’s the market”.

But that doesn’t mean I cannot, or anyone else for that matter, sympathize with the the plight of the journeymen?

Some of these players – like Michael Russell who was in the Houston SF yesterday, for ex – turned pro in 1998 and 14 years later he’s earned $1.7MM.

That sounds okay but when you consider a good chunk goes to expenses, taxes etc, his net take home over that 14-year span is likely going to fall under 100K avg/year. Not horrible by working standards, but not great for a pro in a global sport like tennis.

And a lot of tennis players, in my opinion, are better athletes than those in the other sports. Tennis has arguably the best athletes in the world! (my bias is showing)

Could Federer, Nadal or Djokovic play for a low-level pro Euro soccer team after a good bit a training? Perhaps. I’m no soccer expert but given the amount Rafa/Novak play off court I would certainly think they would get a chance.

Tennis has seen golfers like Lendl and Scott Draper try to make it on the those tours.

But reverse it. Could a pro soccer player break into the ATP after a year or even two of hard training? No way. Nor could a golfer, or a baseketball player.

(Of course just b/c you’re a great athlete doesn’t mean you should make $$$.)

And yeah, I’m biased. I played tennis myself, had friends try to make it, and fail. I’ve seen what they go through. It’s not easy.

So I hold these tennis guys in high regard and the sport is among the most popular in the world. Even here in the U.S., where it struggles, ESPN devotes a ton of live coverage every year to the Slams and the summer tournaments.

Yet last season just 200 or so of the 3,000 players with any kind of a ranking (singles/doubles men only) made over 100K in prize money.

Among the actual ATP membership (500 or so players), less than half made it into that Top 200 100K+ money bracket.

And that’s not good. I also have to wonder how many members are actually LOSING money?

Plus, compared to other sports consider the expenses the players must pay in juniors just to make it. Equipment, lessons, travel, etc. With the exception of golf, tennis is tougher on the wallet than these other sports.

Many of these players do come from wealthy backgrounds but I’d argue there’s more of a sacrifice made for these kids than for basketball, football or soccer children.

Golf is similar, but as Bubba Watson proved heck you don’t need a lesson to succeed in that sport – he claims he never took a golf lesson yet still won the Masters last weekend! In tennis you can’t just hit against the wall and expect that’ll be enough to go pro. You’ll need someone to hit with and that’s often going to cost $$$.

So for the the amount of work they put in, their athletic ability and the rigors of the long, expensive travel season I back up these lower ranked guys.

Over the years they’ve put a lot of hardwork, make sacrifices and the reward just isn’t as great as maybe it should be.

Now who’s fault it that? It’s the market. It’s everyone involved. It’s the players, who are demanding a great piece of the pie as they should. It’s the fractured heads who run these tours. And it’s their marketing/sponsorship honchos who maybe aren’t signing the big deals.

My purpose in comparing tennis with the other sports was to show this disparity. And in my mind it’s unfortunate that so few pro players in a major global sport like men’s tennis make decent money.

And for the guys at the bottom I do feel bad for them. It is the market I know, but I do think things can improve for the better.


Sienna Says:

Sean Randall Says:
Could Federer, Nadal or Djokovic play on a lowlevel pro Euro soccer team after a good bit a training? Perhaps. I’m no soccer expert but giving the amount Rafa/Novak play off court I would certainly think they would get a chance.

Of course not. Not anymore. I bet a lot of soccer player play tennis and with a great level I think. They have great feel for the ball and a good eye. A tennis oplayer put on a football field ?? LOL he would be totally lost and would not know what to do.


Sienna Says:

of course Roger was in his choldhood a great soccerplayer and had to choose between tennis and futjibal. He chose tennis.


Sean Randall Says:

Sienna, so Nadal or Djokovic couldn’t even make through a tryout with a really bad MLS team?

If you took the racquet out of Djokovic’s hand for the next 12 months and made him play soccer 24/7, you don’t think he could at least get close to making a low ranking team? (Not Man U, etc, but like a lower MLS team).

Conversely, if Ronaldo spent the next 12 months playing nothing but tennis I don’t think he’d be able to take a set from his local club pro even.

In my mind tennis & golf are sports you really need to play for years to become good.

I think if you have any kind of world class athletic ability, you can move into sports like soccer or even American football much quicker.


Dave Says:

Tom, my comments on double taxation were based on (1) having scanned through the actual Ukraine-USA double taxation treaty; (2) my once having helped a friend on parts of his economics Masters thesis on double taxation and (3) my dealings with double taxation in my business taxes. I think the logical explanation for Stak’s response to your simple question is that he is unable to reconcile the gap of 30% – 17%… now that you brought up the ‘inconvenient issue’ of Ukraine’s 17% tax rate. I would twitter him to have fun, but then I’d have to stand on court and first teach him for 12 hours… and that might actually help this a-hole increase his ranking :) Staks conveniently left out the hard work Federer put into organizing a meeting between the player reps (BIg Four) and Slam reps at Indian Wells — while he was sick and playing a Masters tourney — which did get some positive results for players like him.

**

Kimberly: Even Nadal got over $20 million in endorsements in 2010 year, which beats the endorsements of 7 of 8 American athletes on team sports (i.e., all except LeBron James). How much cleaner, less controlversial was LeBron’s image compared to Nadal than justified his $30 million endorsements. Is it coincidental that his salary was the lowest of those 8 from team sports? That’s why I’m speculating his contract had less limitations on his ability to make money from his image — in return for a lower guaranteed salary — than the other 7 athletes.
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/specials/fortunate50-2011/index.html

**

Ajet: Thanks for going to bat on this issue. I suspect “Queen” is someone who failed to shut us up under another (regular) name.

**

Sean: I’ll respond later in detail to your well-thought post.

As a quick response for now: I think the more important issue is that the entire tennis market (players, fans, owners, ATP, ITF, etc) needs to find a way to transform Tennis from a $500 to $750 million business (Tom can you contact ATP’s Brad Drewett for an accurate total revenue, thanks) to a $3 Billion to $10 billion dollar buisness. The current business model will not do this.

When the pie is larger, the players can get a larger cut. Remember, these players are independent contractors under contract, not employees under contract.

If I was the CEO of a smaller company with smaller revenues… this would be my response to whiny independent contractors who tell me some employees in the much bigger companies next door are making more than they are as independent… I’d first consider how much these whiners actually contributed to my company and — if their contributions were marginal or they were deadbeats (after all, I need to keep my best, higher potential and critical independent contractors) — I’d tell them to think very carefully whether they would be able to get a job and make more money in those other bigger companies… and then I’d canccel their contracts and tell these whiny independent contracts they are welcome to leave because they are filler whose roles can be quickly filled by thousands of other new independent contractors wanting those opportunities. That’s the sad life of independent contractors in every business.

In the hey days of tennis in North America in the 1970s, many more people watched tennis even though there was far less depth in the lower ranks (compared to the better lower-ranked players today). People watched tennis to see the big stars win and play against each other, that was the bottom line. Take away the Three Titans of Tennis (Fed, Rafa, Nole), and those record-sized audiences would plummet. On the other hand, take away Stakhovsky — whose record in the USA has been consistently poor — no one will notice. If Staks cannot add more value than what he has, he should not expect us to help him improve from already being in the top 1% of American earners and the top 0.3% of Ukrainian earners.

There is no reason NFL players should be paid so much more than top Rugby players — given that rugby is a tougher and more physical sport (don’t comment unless you have actually played or watched it live) — except that the NFL business makes much, much more than the rugby business. Stupid rugby players, who are working harder in a more dangerous sport for much less money. Despite former NFL players Dan Marino and MArcus Allen being members of the Laureus Foundation (they get to vote on sportsmen of the year), not a single NFL player has ever been nominated for a Laureus sportsman award. On the other hand, a rugby player has.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laureus_World_Sports_Award_for_Sportsman_of_the_Year


Kimberly Says:

Dave–thanks for the link. I wonder if Lebron gets more not only because he is so good but because maybe his contract has more generous provisions for endorsements since he took lower pay by going to the Heat? Pure speculation. Well at least we beat the knicks today. I wonder if we win the championship if he will get even more or if it doesn’t make a difference.


Dave Says:

Kimberly, you’re welcome. I think you could be right. Possibly a combination of giving him a cut of the team’s endorsements and not limiting the rights to his image (but I’m speculating). I would expect Kobe, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning to have the very best sports agents, so theoretically they should be able to make more endorsement money.


Dave Says:

Sean, your post April 15th, 2012 at 2:49 pm: Every tennis site should plug a statement to the effect: You don’t need a golf lesson to win the Masters or be in a PGA Championship playoff, but even if your name is Bubba you cannot win the first round of a tennis major without 5,000 hours of tennis lessons, ultimate athletic ability, unbearable pain, and years of sacrifices. Start the ball rolling Sean.

For 2011 annual earnings: the top 100 tennis earners on the ATP money list made about $102 million (singles and doubles). The top 100 golf earners made about $213 million on the PGA Tour (if you add earners on the European Tour and other top pro tours around the world, the number if higher, eg Rory McIlroy made $2.3 million on PGA Tour plus $1.8 milion on European Tour). Regardless, the top 28 golfers on the PGA Tour combined made more money than the top 100 on the ATP Tour combined. But the PGA earners tail off — only 246 made over $100,000, 209 made over $200,000, 154 over $500,000, 94 over $1,000,000, 38 over $2,000,000, 21 over $3,000,000, 7 over $4,000,000, 3 over $5,000,000 and 2 over $6,000,000 (ATP big Four made more than the top four PGA golfers, who did not win as much). Stakhovsky’s $639,000 (48th on ATP money list) was about the same as the 137th golfer on the PGA money list. The reason why golf earnings plummet at the tail end is because pro golf financially penalizes erratic golfers who consistently fail to make the cut — about half the golfers in each tourney fail to make the cut after two days of play and are given zero prize money and eventually lose their Tour Card and have to return to qualifying school (Tennis actually allows players who consistently lose in the first round to make some money, encouraging deadbeats and mediocrity).
http://www.stevegtennis.com/rankings/2011/$$122611.htm
http://espn.go.com/golf/moneylist/_/year/2011

But as I said before, the ATP Tour suffers because it has joint tourneys with women where men’s prize money is limited by the policy to keep prize money equal. Female tennis players benefit so much that they are the richest female sportswomen. Until men remove this constraint, not point hoping for men to make more money, because some of it is going to go towards paying the women. No other major sports operate like this, and that’s part of the reason why men get paid more. Too bad that those who whine about the pay of ATP players are unwilling to address this issue.

Sean: “And a lot of tennis players, in my opinion, are better athletes than those in the other sports. Tennis has arguably the best athletes in the world! (my bias is showing)”. Saying our athletes are better than in other sport — unless you can prove it with hard evidence — is not a solid argument. Your monumentally-biased opinion is totally irrelevant — and would earn you a black eye from a boxer — unless you can show hard data for our current players similar to the following:

- ESPN asked a panel of Olympic sports scientists, academics, athletes and journalists to rate 60 sports. Each sport was given a rating of 1-10 for endurance, strength, power, speed, agility, flexibility, nerve, durability, hand-eye co-ordination and analytic aptitude. Boxing ranked on top. Tennis came in at seventh place (but that is tennis at a level far below the Australian Open final and other epic Slam finals, so we should check who were the sample of tennis players studied), behind martial arts, wrestling, basketball, American football, ice hockey and boxing. Fishing was the least toughest.
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/sportSkills

- Or Bjorn Borg outperforming Olympic athletes (instead of Nadal and Djokovic playing that silly exhibition at Real Madrid, let’s turn it into an athletic competition against the world’s best athletes)
http://www.thesuperstars.org/comp/76eur5fra.html

- Or a senior sports physiologist at the Australian Institute of Sport saying he was awed by the physical and mental grit shown by Djokovic and Nadal.
http://tinyurl.com/82yl8zw

A better argument is that men’s tennis has three of the world’s best sportsmen — and the world’s sports legends from all world sports agree on this. ATP players won 6 of the last 8 prestigious Laureus sportsman awards and hold the record of four consecutive sportsman awards.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laureus_World_Sports_Award_for_Sportsman_of_the_Year

Could tennis players make more money in other jobs than in tennis? Nadal, Federer and Djokovic could probably (with training) play for a third division pro Euro soccer team, but would make signficiantly less money than they do now. How much money has Lendl and Scott Draper actually made on golf tours? Draper did win one small golf tourney in the Australian Tour he played (it’s a secondary golf tour without even the best Australian golfers, who play in the PGA Tour or European tour) but was otherwise inconsistent — he retired from golf in 2009 due to bad back. Bottom line, unless they’re Mikhail Youzhny or Ignacio Hirigoyen who made the effort to become university graduates or tennis celebrities like the top players and Feliciano Lopez, the options for most tennis players are somewhat limited.

In the Book of Life, life is unfair. It’s unfair that the better athletes of tennis can’t make more money than lesser athletes in certain other sports. It’s unfair that tennis players invested so much money and effort to learn tennis. It’s unfair that tennis is so popular and televised It’s unfair that most tennis players lost money and failed to break into the top 100 of the ATP Tour. I agree with you on the athletic talent, money, effort, sacrifice made by tennis players, but nobody earns more money because of those arguments. Stakeholders with the money — from Larry Ellison to the cheapest-priced ticket buyer — won’t give tennis more money because of those arguments. So we need to stop thinking like this and start thinking in terms that can expand the tennis business.

Most fans feel sympathy for the plight of players 33 year old Michael Russell (world No. 112) who earned $280,493 in 2011 and $1.7 million lifetime over 14 years. His career high ranking was in the 60s for only a few weeks in all those 14 years. If you were a career counselor, what would you have advised Russell? Can he even find another better paying job? He made a decent living off a game he loves. But evidently it’s not good enough for a global sport like tennis. But what value does Michael Russell contribute that should atract him greater earnings? Almost everybpdy can do somethings different to attract more money.

For decades, thousands of underachievers like Russel have not been able to work together to find solutions to improve their situation but some of them (not saying its Russel, more the Stakhovskys) expect and feel entitled to someone else finding solutions for them and bailing them out. Why haven’t they worked together to create a players’ cooperative to share resources like fitness trainers, coaches, physios, insurance, tax advice, lobbyist, etc? Becase they think and act like independent contractors with different priorities and basically in competition with each other.

Instead of taking half steps, tennis needs a fresh business model to transform it into a multi-billion dollar business that cascades into bigger prize money and earning opportunities for all levels of players.

But in the same way that Hollywood’s biggest stars are not responsible for struggling actors, the top tennis stars are not responsible for the rest of the tour. Without the top players, the MIchael Russells of the world would be getting even less or out of a job


Sean Randall Says:

Dave, I agree that no one is really buying tickets to see the Stakhovksy’s or the Russell’s, but just like any other sport or Hollywood film we need these “fillers”.

And if the fillers in tennis don’t get paid much, as they do now, then doesn’t that diminish the incentive for young kids to take up the sport when they know if they don’t make it to the very top they won’t make that big money?

In the NBA, not every kid who leaves college early to enter the league knows he’s going to be the next Lebron James or Kobe. But he knows he’s going to get paid and get paid a lot even if he doesn’t become a superstar.

That’s true for baseball and American football and likely for European soccer.

From a financial perspective, if my kid was equally as good/talented to be a decent level player in the NBA, NFL, baseball or tennis, giving the meager comparative earnings I wouldn’t want my son playing tennis. The reward for getting to the top is about the same, but there’s less of a cushion in tennis.

Ask yourself, how many jobs globally on the men’s pro tennis tour are there that pay over 50K? 300?

Now compare that took golf, taking into account all the different tours (PGA, Europe, Asia, etc).

Then look at baseball (including USA, Japan, Taiwan), football, soccer, etc.

Of course you’ll find far many more jobs that pay well in the other sports than tennis.

And what’s interesting is how many players are chasing those coveted spots. In tennis there are only 200-300 or so spots.

In baseball in the U.S. alone there are 720 spots. Now in the U.S. there are probably more kids trying for those 720 spots than those kids bidding to be among the Top 300 in tennis, but globally?

So if I’m a parent knowing the expenditures and sacrifice, the reward in tennis is certainly high but if you don’t make it to the top it’s going to be tough.

However, if my kid doesn’t become the best in soccer or basketball, at least financially my kid will be set.

And the result is the better athletes migrate to the better paying sports, and along the way maybe tennis loses it’s next Federer. Who knows.

On the subject of combined events, I agree that the women have been piggybacking (free ride) off the success of the men. The two tours are not equal and the Slams should not be allaying equal funds to the women’s winner as the men’s. It’s ludicrous.

Unfortunately, guys like Federer, Nadal privately may take offense to that (and I’m sure they do), but publicly it’s such a hot-button issue that they can’t.

So at the Slams it appears we are trapped in this “unfairness of equality”.

But the other tournaments can and do award differing amounts to the men’s/women’s winner.

However, simply removing the women’s event from say Miami or Cincinnati doesn’t necessarily push those now-available funds to the men.

Sponsors won’t offer as much cash, maybe TV won’t deliver as much coverage and perhaps there will be a slight drop in ticket sales. And some tournaments may not be able to survive with having a mixed gender event – sponsor might just withdrew.

That said, and I know the men’s stars would in mass agree (privately agree), I’d like to see fewer of the combined stops. Unfortunately, the trend is clearly otherwise because from the tournament’s perspective it must be better financially for them to run it mix gender otherwise they wouldn’t be doing it!

So what’s the real solution? It’s “Get Lucky”.

With Federer, Nadal, the Williams sisters, Sharapova all on the downslope, the end of a damn good generation of tennis will close in 4-5 years (I doubt any of the aforementioned will be playing in 2017).

And then what?

If the “powers that be” haven’t fully capitalized on our current golden era of tennis, how are they going to market the sport when these stars like Roger are gone?

The sport has to get lucky and produce multiple global level “icons”, a la Federer or the Williams sisters. And preferably a few from the U.S.

Can we get a few American “Kournikovas” who actually win Slams and date movie stars?

Or an American man in the mold of Connors or McEnroe who breaks racquets, makes sportscenter highlights and gets into the gossip rags while winning Majors?

The reality of it is in the future tennis would be better off with Murray winning Slams than Djokovic. Wozniacki winning over Kvitova or Azarenka.

Murray would bring in money. Wozniacki would bring in more money than Azarenka, etc.

That may sound harsh but in the end it’s just business.


Dave Says:

Sean, you made a compelling point about the lack of incentive to attracting talent. Yet Hollywood continues to churn out mega-stars from the ashes of suffering actors. And tennis players were recognized as the world’s best sportsmen in 6 of the last 7 years, so Tennis managed to attract high-quality talent despite conditions probably being worse in the past. Now, perhaps it’s luck that drew Federer, Nadal and Djokovic to tennis. But these problems have existed for decades, yet tennis has had it’s share of stars. And when tennis was starved of talent in USA, other countries took up the slack, even Serbia. So everytime men’s tennis hit the crossroads from fading top players, new talent even takes their place. The consequence of this stellar era will likely be to attract more talented American kids into tennis for the next generation. Milos Raonic has already popped up from Canada, though it remains to be seen how far he goes (okay Daniel Nestor certainly a mega double star in his own right who once beat Stefan Edberg in Davis Cup).

Someone should analyze how does men’s golf afford to pay $213 million in prize money just to the top 100 PGA golfers (PGA only, as including European, Asian and other tours would add even more, probably around $300 to top 100 highest paid golfers in the world) while men’s tennis pays just $102 million even though its top 100 players are truly playing globally (while golfers spend most of their time in regional tours). And find out what’s the total revenue in golf and in tennis, and why the disparity. The mindset I would have is that tennis should be paying at least $500 million in prize money, and then re-design every aspect of the tennis business to yield the necessary revenue to make such prize payouts feasible and sustainable. Trying to squeeze the slams to open up their coffers for a few million is short term thinking (whatever increases the French Open gave the men, now the women probably also automatically get the same increases without having to demand a raise).

Why don’t we devote a blog to re-designing the men’s tour to be a business that generates $2 to 3 Billion revenue (instead of the current $500 to $750 million revenue)… and which pays the players at least $500 million or more. Blue sky thinking, e.g., maybe add special one on one matches between the top players, bring more billionaires into tennis ownership, etc. Things are not going to improve much for the Michael Russells of the world under the current system, so change the system by first changing the business.

Men’s tennis is in a trap of its own making. In every business we have unfair inequalities. For example, a 30-year old IBM sales rep whined to me about getting paid less than $50K plus a pathetic commision for making large sales worth tens of millions dollars for his company. He wanted to know what to do to get promoted or get a pay raise, which in the IBM system amounted to pittance (really). I told him he was being exploited by IBM, that they were treating him as one of hundreds of thousands of pigs and chickens on staff, that he’s stuck to a company that’s never going to pay him well, and its time to get out of that company and change the game — leave for a better paying job elsewhere. Several months later he finally left for another company that paid him $140,000 (he had to lie about his salary at IBM, otherwise he would never have gotten so much, lol). He is just one of many people I know who are mindlessly stuck in the rut of a job/company because they have grown used to it, hoping things will eventually change because they are doing what’s asked of them. Well, sometimes the only way to change is to change the game.


Kimberly Says:

why would Murray bring in more money than Djokovic and WOzniaki more than Azarenka? I always thought even in sports looks play a huge factor and Murray isn’t exactly the hottest guy around (sorry Margot). People pay to see good looking people. A sportswriter I know was saying a lot of people discount it but its a fact. People paid to see Kournikova because she was hot. And while Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player of all time, his looks had a huge role in his popularity. I think for a tennis player to achieve iconic status they either need 1. Federer like flawless tennis (once in a century) 2. Good looks 3. Poor behavior while producing good tennis.


Sean Randall Says:

Kimberly, I would add 4) nationality.

Because Murray’s from Great Britain there’s a lot more money and a much bigger market for him in his country then there is for Djokovic in Serbia.

Overall, Murray winning Wimbledon would bring more $$$ to tennis then Djokovic’s win did last year.

Novak’s obviously a star in Serbia but being a star in GBR or even Spain is likely a bigger on a global scale.

Dave, it is luck that we have Djokovic, Federer, Nadal. And when you include the Williams sisters, Andy Roddick, Andy Murray and Sharapova, we are in a period when the game has enjoyed an abundance of incredible characters and marketable stars, yet tennis still languishes financially compared to golf, soccer, etc. Imagine what would happen if we didn’t have them.

Somewhere there’s a disconnect – tennis should be worth more!

And when these stars fade there will be new ones, we are 100% guaranteed of that! But how bright will they shine? It’s hard to top Federer/Nadal or the Williams sisters. But maybe tennis “gets lucky”.

At least the men do have some, if not all, of the big four for another 4-5 more years, the WTA is much worse off with just the Williams sisters, who may have 1-2 more years left max and Sharapova. After that it looks real, real bleak.

Are Kvitova, Azarenka, Liscki, Kerber really going to sell many tickets/sponsorships and light up Madison Ave? Wozniacki and Ivanovic, if she can get back to the top, are their best hopes right now.

Like golf tennis is a star-driven sport. We need stars.

“Things are not going to improve much for the Michael Russells of the world under the current system, so change the system by first changing the business.”

That’s true. In fact I have a feeling it might get worse (once Federer departs). And unfortunately, because of the fracturing of the sport and individual interests (players, tournaments & managements), it’s hard to bring forth any meaningful change, especially for the little guy who hardly has a voice.

Hell, Stakhovsky could be out of the game a year from now (his rank is already down to 70s), then who’ll pick up his lead and raise a ruckus?

“He is just one of many people I know who are mindlessly stuck in the rut of a job/company because they have grown used to it”

For athletes, it’s that much tougher because there is no where else to go. Where does Michael Russell go to play pro tennis if not on the ATP? At least your IBM guy likely has the option to move to a half dozen if not more other firms, granted in the same “stuck” position, but at least there is room to move.

For a tennis player, golfer even a Hollywood actor, you reach a point and it’s career over – granted there is or should be that expectancy. And your skillset often leaves you with little future other than teaching the sport you just retired from or selling cars.

I don’t know Stakhovsky’s background but he’s probably right. Unless he really makes a lot of cash, when he retires in his mid 30s his future is likely teaching tennis for 10-12 hours/day or becoming a tennis coach. That’s it. That’s your life.

Maybe his name is big enough in the Ukraine where he can make $$$ being a salesman, both otherwise it won’t be easy to break into the “real world”.

And that’s true of all sports and entertainers, though the latter group often have longer lifespans.


Dave Says:

Sean, the average person goes through three to ten different careers in a lifetime (due to voluntary or involuntary change). No one is exempt from this fact of life — not even rich athletes like Stakhovsky. Stakhovsky could make $6 million or more in prize money (€4.5 million) by the time he plans to retire at age 32. His net income on $6 million will still go much further in Ukraine (the average Ukrainian earns only 14% of the average American!), so Stakhovsky needs to learn to save part of his income like the rest of us in the real world. Stakhovsky is not a child — it’s his responsibility to prepare for a new career, save the money needed to train and invest in a new career, and go through the pain of starting a new career. Stakhovsky would have a longer career (as an ATP player) than the average person’s career. Every new career requires a new skillset so those people who face a career change because their skillsets become obsolete or redundant have to learn new skills. If Stakhovsky had attended the ATP University seminar, he would have learned about personal finance and preparing for life after tennis.

Unlike most people who change careers in the real world, Stakhovsky has had 14 years headstart to plan for a career change. But what does he do about it? Whine, and then whine some more. He wants to be spoonfed. He wants to us to help him make so much money so he can retire at age 32 — only 30% of his working life — and live off his tennis earnings for the rest of his life instead of going through the pain of changing careers. If Stakhovsky, for the remainder of his working life, wants to laze on a Ukraine resort, be a tennis coach or car salesman… then I do not care for such losers who don’t take responsibility for bettering their lives, but expect to be spoonfed or have it easy.

Common sense tells Stakhovsky that he can’t be a tennis player forever, so what is he planning to do about it? If tennis players like Mario Ancic, Max Mirnyi, Ignacio Hirigoyen, Mikhail Youzhny, etc. can make the effort to earn a university degree, surely Stakhovsky can invest in training or education for an alternative career. Tennis players and their fans need to grow up, stop making excuses, and start thinking like responsible adults.

Ask yourself, if Steve Jobs’s ghost or Larry Ellison listened to the whining from the tennis players what would they be thinking? What a bunch of whiners, whining and whining about the same old problems every year. Everybody knows the problems, but most want handouts. Very few are proposing constructive solutions that are relatively win-win for all parties. Like I said, periodically squeezing this current business model will not get the significant improvements players want. The business model needs to change, otherwise we are just going around in circles, whining and whining some more.

Though things “might get worse (once Federer departs)” as a player, it may be the best thing for the tennis business if he eventually returns as ATP CEO because he has the reputation, commercial smarts, connections and influence to deal more authoritatively with other parts of the tennis industry, from slams to sponsors to media in order to change and transform the tennis business. If so, this guy could ultimately have more impact on tennis than Jack Kramer did. Roger could easily earn 20 to 30 times more money doing easier work elsewhere, but he may just feel passionate enough about tennis that he wants to do something about breaking the status quo to take the sport forward.

Note: my IBM example aimed to show that even in the high-tech business, there are unfair inequalities — some companies (even mega one slike IBM) pay their employees poorly compared to other companies who pay their staff generously for essentially the same work and employee skillset. However the high-tech industry is not immune to drastic career changes — when the stock market bubble burst, many thousands of high-tech workers flooded the market… many could not find work and either had to learn new careers outside high-tech or remain unemployed. Structural unemployment is the kind of unemployment where your career becomes obsolete. You are displaced (by mechanization, automation, declining market demand, etc. in their current career) and are unsuited for work in other careers.

Note 2: Stakhovsky wasn’t trying to tell us “his future is likely teaching tennis for 10-12 hours/day.” His snarky response to Tom Gainey’s question was an attempt to deflect from answering the question: “if one of you people stood on court and try to teach for 12 hours then we would talk.” When we see through the fog of Stakhovsky’s “ruckus” he is not the appropriate poster boy for this issue. Maybe Michael Russell is, but I suspect there are even better examples of actual tennis player hardship.


Dave Says:

See the Federer of soccer — Lionel Messi — in action. Even if a tennis player has world class athletic ability, he can’t just move into a sport like soccer, anymore than Michael Jordan could have moved into baseball (he never made it even out of AA minor league). The only reason why Nadal, Federer or Djokovic might have a chance to play for a third division pro European soccer team is because all three played soccer as children, and so have some basic skills and practice for years (of the three, probably Nadal played higher quality football as a child, given his uncle the ‘Beast’ Nadal). But it’s highly unlikely, with only a year of training, that Nadal would play for Real Madrid (or even Mallorca), Federer for FC Basel or Djokovic for Red Star Belgrade. Soccer is a sport that looks deceptively simple to play until you try playing it at a high level. Remember, there are 265 million people who regularly play football in 200 countries so the talent pool is much larger. On the other hand, I doubt Crisitiano Ronaldo played much tennis in his childhood days, so for him to pick up a racquet now is not easy..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79aEWuBETLw


Dave Says:

See the Federer of soccer — Lionel Messi — in action. Even if a tennis player has world class athletic ability, he can’t just move into a sport like soccer, anymore than Michael Jordan could have moved into baseball (he never made it even out of AA minor league). The only reason why Nadal, Federer or Djokovic might have a chance to play for a third division pro European soccer team is because all three played soccer as children, and so have some basic skills and practice for years (of the three, probably Nadal played higher quality football as a child, given his uncle the ‘Beast’ Nadal). But it’s highly unlikely, with only a year of training, that Nadal would play for Real Madrid (or even Mallorca), Federer for FC Basel or Djokovic for Red Star Belgrade. Soccer is a sport that looks deceptively simple to play until you try playing it at a high level. Remember, there are 265 million people who regularly play football in 200 countries so the talent pool is much larger. On the other hand, I doubt Crisitiano Ronaldo played much tennis in his childhood days, so for him to pick up a racquet now is not easy..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79aEWuBETLw

And this is what big time soccer (football) feels like. In European soccer, winning the Champions Cup and domestic league title take precedence for the top players over even winning the World Cup (few take the Olympics seriously). Soccer is, by far, the world’s biggest sport in revenue and particpation. The world’s three richest sports clubs are European soccer clubs. Even ESPN’s home page features soceer along with NHL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAA, Nascar… but tennis is hidden under “More Sports”.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P30Muc-JS74&feature=related

And Messi’s likely succesor, Neymar.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93Va6TZhmDQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiwIsqdhgBw

The ‘Beast’ Miguel Angel Nadal scoring the winning goal for Barcelona, then managed by football legend Johann Cryuff.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PNp5UB2Cws


Steve 27 Says:

See the Federer of soccer — Lionel Messi — in action.

Very funny. Federer won the French open in agony, I doubt that Messi win anything-The Olympic Games are amateur-, with Argentina.


Dave Says:

Steve 27, what’s hilarious is you think Lionel Messi won the 2008 Olympic gold medal on an amateur team. Every member of the Argentinian Olympic team was a professional footballer (86% played with European clubs), aged 20 to 30 years. Messi was 21 years old at the time, already a big star with Barcelona (considered the world’s best club at the time).

I seriously doubt your “doubt that Messi win anything”. Messi has won a lot at just age 24:
- 3 UEFA Champions League titles
- 5 Spanish league (La Liga) titles
- 2 UEFA Super Cup titles
- 2 FIFA Club World Cup titles
- 1 Spanish Cup (Copa del Rey)

Even some of Maradona’s ex-team mates believe Lionel Messi is a great footballer he is only 24 years old. Former Argentina star and Tottenham Hotspur player and coach Ossie Ardiles: “I played with Maradona for seven years and he was magnificent. I thought I would never see another player like that but I have to say Messi is better… Messi is by far the best.”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAGfwprpXsk

Btw, when I said the Champion’s Cup in my previous post, I meant the UEFA Champions League title (it was originally known as the European Cup). Messi is playing today in a Champion’s League semifinal against an English club.


Steve 27 Says:

Dave, you talk about his archieves in Barcelona, by the way, is magnificent until now, but if you know something about soccer, his performances in his country leaves much to be desired. Is not the same be next to the best Spanish player in history,-Xavi Hernandez-, and one of the best in Europe, and one of the best “brains” of world football, Andres Iniesta. A club already formed from the direction of Frank Rijkaard. Guardiola only had to polish it a little and form a scheme where the Argentine was the key. If you think Messi is the best ever in this sport, let me tell you not know much about marketing and what makes Media with all the stars of the sport: to believe that now is always going to be better than the past. The World Cup is a doctorate of tennis, the argentinian has so far proved to be only an apprentice.
It has a few more chances. Will have to wait.
Indeed Ardiles to your appointments, think Pele is the greatest footballer of all time, also did not have much regard for Maradona.
Like I said before, your links all you do is assert your own point of view and not looking for another source of information. You must enlarge your vision of things and not believe that what you think is the most credible. By the way Federer is the best in the Open Era, but not of history, a guy named Laver holds the title of he best of all time.

If you are intelligent, the olympics games in soccer are amateur, they dont considered an official event like World Cup or Euro Cup, beyond players have over 23 years. Its simple: It no as World Cup title. Ask an argentinian if they considered as big as World cup. I dont think so.
Maradona is different player than Messi. his magic is unique. I think yo have less than 30 years.


Tennislover Says:

Steve27 – You make some good points about Barca. I agree that Guardiola is a bit overrated and his predecessor did all the hard work. I also agree that Xavi and Iniesta are the main schemers at Barca and deserve a lot of credit for Barca’s and Messi’s success. I also agree generally that there is a tendency to anoint somebody as the “greatest” way too easily these days. I thought Zidane was overrated too and the same can be said of many “great” players of the recent past.

However, having followed soccer for several years, imho it is pretty safe to say that Messi is in the league of Pele and Maradona. Soccer is a team game and his lack of international success should not be held against him when we judge him as a player. Sometimes coaches are not able to optimize the use of their best players and Maradona was nowhere as good as a coach as he was as a player. He just could not utilize Messi properly at the world cup. Club football is so much more important today than national duties that you hardly get a chance to gel as a unit and bond with the rest of your national teammates. Most world cups are held after a brutal and grueling club season and players are often tired and injured. All this has taken some sheen off the world cup and many experts express their dismay at the quality of play at WCs these days. FIFA can not do much about it as the UEFA is very powerful although the European championships are also affected similarly due to the same reasons. Personally, I love the high quality of football on display in the Champions league. I think some of the club sides are way better than the best international teams. I can not imagine the current Barca side getting beaten by any national team. Do not under estimate the quality of club football in some of the European leagues.

I will say Messi is the best I have ever seen and I have seen a lot of Maradona and many other gifted players. Uniquely gifted players like Fed and Messi almost transcend their sports. Messi is a genuinely great player and, you, I am afraid, are being a bit unfair in judging his abilities.


Steve 27 Says:

Well tennislover, I disagree with you about Messi is in the same league as Maradona and Pele. La “pulga”- his nickname- is a fantastic player, but no way, these are the two best footballers of all time, Messi should demonstrate his skills in another team no named Barza.
UCL as same as World Cup? are you kidding me?. In the WC there are the best of best in the entire the wold, the UCl is a fantastic competition , however is not the same, it has a less pressure than WC, national dress shirt you supposed to demonstrate your skills in addition, an unconditional and self-esteem, which does not give your team, where mostly just play for money and not by a genuine love. In short, this is where players become true legends of the sport.

And yes, before there was no TV, no marketing, no resonance boxes to amplify a thousand times what a player did in the way that amplifies today what a great player like Messi. But still there are hundreds of testimonials to us note what is ours and our rankings do not agree with the Eurocentric view of those who ignore a far superior football.

Cruyff did not won the World Cup in 1974- Germany did- but he and the Clockwork Orange, left an indelible mark on all who worship football beyond the results. I expect Messi do something similar in Brazil 2014, which will have the same age as the Dutch, 27. It is his best opportunity and not be wasted.


Dave Says:

Steve 27, in the UEFA Champions League, Messi is playing a ‘mini-World Cup’ each year against the star-packed best clubs from other European countries. the vast majority of the world’s best players and coaches are in European leagues and the pressure to win the UEFA Champions League — alongside domestic league matches — is today arguably greater than the pressure to win the World Cup. Messi’s 51 goals makes him already the third top scorer in the history of the European Cup and Champions League behind Raul (71) and van Nistelrooy (56) who both took much longer to score their 51st goal.

You Tube: Lionel Messi, Barcelona History 2004-2012 (HD)

In today’s context, whether or not Messi wins a World Cup or leaves an indelible impression, most experts will not hold it against him. If you know anything at all about soccer and history of the World Cup, you’d know that the recent World Cups have lost their luster as the pre-eminent soccer prize it used to be in the 1960s to 1980s. One of the biggest complaints about recent World Cups is that most of the established soccer powers did not perform as expected because their established stars did not play their best either because of exhaustion and injuries from long seasons or because their clubs warned them to avoid injuries (see what happend to Kaka after he returned to Real Madrid with an injury). That’s one of the reasons why unheralded teams with nothing to lose and are well coached into a cohesive unit — like South Korea, Turkey, Croatia, Bulgaria, Uruguay and Sweden — have reached the top four in the last fewWorld Cups.

If Frank Rijkaard was the magic who put together Barcelona (who ended his coaching tenure in 2008), why hasn’t Rijkaard had any success during his subsequent management of Galatasaray (where he was sacked) or Saudi Arabia? Rijkaard and Guardiola are both fruit from the tree of… the great Johann Cryuff.

Messi already won the 2008 Olympic gold for Argentina — even Brazil does not have an Olympic gold — so how does Messi’s performance for his country leave much to be desired? If you are have 10% intelligence you would ask yourself why Brazil assigned its World Cup coach to coach the Brazil Olympic team to win an Olympic gold medal in soccer, the only soccer trophy that Brazil does not have. Each mens Olympic soccer squad can comprise unlimited professionals as well as three players older than 23 years (Argentina’s 2008 Olympic team comprised 100% professionals and three players older than 23, including the great Requilme who was 30 years old).

To assess Messi’s likely place among football’s greatest, he has to be compared with Maradona, Pele, Cruyff, Beckenbauer, Best, Platini, Di Stefano, Garrincha, Puskas, Zidane, among others. TV in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s was the reason people all over the world learned about Pele, Beckenbauer, Cryuff, Best, Garrincha, Rivelino, Tostao, Jairzinho, etc, etc. Until You Tube, most people had never seen Alfredo di Stefano play.

Maradona in his entire career scored 258 goals (mostly by age 31). Messi at age 24 has already scored 243 goals. He is already Barcelona’s leading goalscorer of all time, eclipsing what a Barcelona legend took 13 years to achieve in the 1940s and 1950s. And it’s not just scoring goals but also his assists and many other attributes that draw praise from serious and thoughtful experts such as Arsenal manager-coach Arsene Wenger, who says the Pele-Maradona comparisons are valid. “(Messi) is that good… for me he has qualities that are mental: humility, desire to play, happiness to help the team, always desire; you never see any bad reaction despite all the kicks he gets. When you look at the numbers, you have to kneel down and say they are fantastic. When a guy scores 52 goals in modern football and has 25 assists, when you see how difficult it is to score a goal, you just have to say it is absolutely exceptional what this player is delivering.” That was Arsene Wenger’s comments last year. This year, so far he has 63 goals and 25 assists. and he still has 6 games left to add to those incredible numbers. No wonder this year Arsene Wenger has declared Messi the greatest of all time.

At age 24, Messi has outdone Maradona what has achieved by the same age. “In terms of ability and his overall impact on the game and what’s (Messi) achieved so far, he would be the best I’ve ever seen,” says former Barcelona striker Gary Lineker, who was one of England’s best ever goal scorers. “They’re both (Maradona and Messi) diminutive with unbelievably brilliant left feet that can manipulate the ball as if it were a hand, that can beat people, that can score goals, that can change games. But I think looking at the two of them, I think Messi, at the same stage of his career as Maradona, has probably achieved more. He’s won everything, he’s unbelievably consistent, which he has an edge over Maradona. He’s frighteningly disciplined.”

The general consensus among the world’s current/former greatest footballers and coaches is that — at minimum — if Messi continues like this then he will be the best player in the history of football. The experts who praise Messi are smart enough to factor in the value of Xavi, Iniesta and Guardiola in Messi’s success.

Many have conceded that Messi is already the greatest. Ossie Ardiles was the star midfielder when Argentina won the World Cup in 1978 — before Maradona played for Argentina — and then was Maradona’s international teammate for 6 years. Ardiles believes that Messi has already eclipsed both Maradona and Pele. “I think (Messi is) certainly the best player of his generation. And I definitely believe not only that but he’s the best player in the history of football. To be perfectly honest, I thought I would never encounter anybody in the same league because Diego was a genius… One of the reasons I think Messi is better than Maradona and Pele is evolution. People before say Pele was running 5,000, 6,000 meters. Now they are running 9,000 meters. Now players eat better, train better, the pitches are better. So this is why I believe Messi is the very best ever.”

The most significant major holdout is Pele himself (as in the Pele who said “I was born to play football, just like Beethoven was born to write music and Michelangelo was born to paint”). Pele’s argument goes something like this: It used to be people said Maradona was better than me. Now they are saying Messi is better than me. But Messi can’t be better than me because… he has to first be better than (my fellow Brazilian and Santos player) Neymar and he is not better than Neymar, he just has more experience, lol. Like Maradona said, Pele is getting nervous more and more people are saying Messi is the greatest in history.

Don’t get me started on “a guy named Laver holds the title of the best of all time”… Have you even seen him or Rosewall play?


Dave Says:

You Tube: Lionel Messi, Barcelona History 2004-2012 (HD)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEt1eBL2Jfo


Steve 27 Says:

You can not compare the position of midfielder-Maradona-with Messi – forward. You cant compare that Maradona played for Napoli. a small club with no history that led to the highest in Italy, the best league in the world at that time, competing with the likes of Milan (Baresi, Maldini, Gullit, Van Basten), Juventus (Platini, Laudrup, Serena), Inter (Matheus, Klinsmann, Brehmme)
Does Napoli won something important after the exit of the number 10?. Not even a Italy Cup. And at that time only reached 3 foreign European leagues, now even from the U.S. comes to European football!

Yes, the Champions League with the likes of Apoel, Bate Borisov, etc. involved in this great event, please give me a break!. The magic of football is in Latin America, Europeans for economic, social reasons, never will be able to compare to what a child feel in marginal areas of that part of the world.
How you can say that the World Cup is under a club tournament? You fall off the floor, boy, to say such an aberration, the World Cup has the largest number of viewers in the world, above the famous Olympic Games. You think with your little cerebral cortex, that the final of the Champions League can be compared even to a quarter-final match in the World Cup, nothing to do, boy, I know that the media and marketing think us to believe that we are seeing the best, but let me tell you, it is not. You must have a great background and know the history of this sport-where you do not include you-to learn to differentiate what is fashion and what it will transcend.

Moreover, the Dutch coach, Rijkaard, Barcelona lifted the worst of the past 20 years, thanks in part to a true genius, could have been, this one, the best ever, Ronaldinho, the master of “La Pulga” and he he took him to the top. According to your reasoning, if Guardiola fails in any English team no longer worth it? I think not.

I repeat once again to see if I you could understand: The Olympics are nothing compared to a World Cup. Go to Buenos Aires and ask them if they feel the same Olympic gold compared with the championship trophy in the world. I’m surprised you overestimate the competition in soccer, but in tennis do not give its due importance. We know, for obvious reasons. The Brazilian is only circumstantial to not win yet, they want to do a lot of momentum. The same goes for Federer, not win this tournament, is their top priority, as you see you contradict yourself, and you believe one thing when in another you’re not sure what you say.
Get out of your enclosure, and not always look for links to state what you believe is right. Be open to other opinions and more reasons, the answers only lead to more questions. Do as Socrates, “I just know that I know nothing”, be more humble and respects the views of others, and works a bit, which seems to spend much time on this blog, unless you have much free time. If so, good for you.
goodbye.


Bella Says:

I have to agree with steve 27 that you really can’t call messi the best ever, maybe he will become it in the future but not now. He would def. be a better candidate for the title if he peformed well with argentina. He’s a completely different player when in that team, in a bad way. One time I watched a match of them and thought messi was on the bench, it took more then 70 min of the match for me to realize that he actually was playing. I was shocked he was just completely invicible. Obv. messi’s not that bad in every match for his national team, but still his performances are very poor in general. I know like some poster already mentioned that they won the olympic gold, but that really isn’t that impressive or anything close to the world cup. Why? Because you get almost all the second teams of the european countries. Which makes a big difference as the second team of those countries is nowhere near the quality level of their first, so making the competition for a medal in the olympics way lighter. Again he could perhaps one day become the GOAT, but not yet IMO.


Dave Says:

Steve 27, it’s ignorant to potray Messi’s success as due only to Xavi and Iniesta. Football is a team sport and overall Messi gave more than he got. Over the last two seasons Messi dominated his club in both goals as well as assists to other players scoring goals. This 2011-2012 season Messi scored 63 goals and made 25 assists in all competitions (last season it was 53 goals, 24 assists), leading his team in both categories. Messi’s 13 assists in the Spanish premier league (La Liga) puts him third behind the assist leader Mezut Ozil of Real Madrid. In Barcelona, Messi was not only the club’s leader in assists to help other teammates score… he also provided as many assists (13) as the playmakers Xavi (8) and Iniesta (7) combined! The truth is that many of Messi’s goals are solo efforts or on moves started by him or assisted by other players… not just due to the efforts of Xavi and Iniesta.

Use your common sense — even if Messi’s success was the outcome of 32-year old Xavi’s support, then why couldn’t Xavi — when he was in his prime 3 to 6 years ago — turn your great “true genius master” Ronaldino into a scorer of over 30 goals per season? Lol, Ronaldinho’s best two seasons — with Xavi and Iniesta — he scored 29 goals and 21 assists (2005-06) and 29 goals and 16 assists (2006-2007). No comparison to Messi who has consistently scored 47 to 63 goals in each of his last three seasons, as well as 24 to 25 assists in his last two seasons.

Messi is not a forward like a conventional center forward. Guardiola has used Messi as a midfielder or allowed him to drop deeper due to dedicated markers put on him by Real Madrid and other clubs. E.g., in last December’s El Clasico derby between Barcelona-Real Madrid and then the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup Final between Barcelona and Santos, the roles of midfielder Fabregas and forward Messi were reversed: Messi received the ball in deep positions giving him the freedom to initiate an attack either as playmaker or as attacker. And Messi still scored two of Barcelona’s four goals against Santos.

Stop pretending that Napoli was a club with no history: in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s Napoli was often among the top five teams in Serie A, with several second or third place finishes. Dino Zoff, the greatest Italian goalkeeper, was with Napoli until the early 1970s. In 1984, 24-year old Maradona (Messi is 24 today) was in his prime when he was brought into Napoli, but it was only three years later in the 1986–87 season that Napoli finally won both the Serie A title and Coppa Italia (Napoli won one more Serie A title in 1989-90 season and one UEFA Cup-WInners Cup in 1989 — and that’s it despite the great Maradona).

What you fail to tell us about the legend of Maradona is that Napoli did not win only only because of Maradona: Several players in the 1986-87 Napoli squad played for Italy’s national team in their careers, including the other two forwards/attackers (see link). Maradona was often seen as an attacking midfielder, but has also played as a forward in a second striker role for Napoli (Maradona was the top scorer in Serie A in 1987-88, when Napoli failed to win anything). Napoli had a great forward line up called Ma-Gi-Ca (Maradona, Giordano, Careca). Giordano had played for Italy between 1978 to 1985, and it was Giordano’s goals that took Napoli to their first Serie A title. Careca (joined Napoli immediately after Napoli’s first 1986-87 Serie A) was Brazil’s 1986 Footballer of the Year, so was a great footballer himself.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1986%E2%80%9387_S.S.C._Napoli_season

Which was the first World Cup you watched? Barcelona today is considered by many to be possibly the greatest team in club history in the world. Barcelona would be considered the favorites to beat any national team that has won a World Cup. Only someone out of touch with reality would think otherwise.

You jump to conclusions to fit your ignorant views. Your original ignorant claim “(Messi’s) performances in his country leaves much to be desired” is totally false given that Messi was gold medallist at the 2008 Olympics as well the top scorer and gold medallist in the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship. I never said Olympic soccer supersedes World Cup soccer, just that it is considered important enough that a soccer power like Brazil puts a priority on winning lympic gold. If you had intended to say Messi’s performances in the World Cup leaves much to be desired, you need to be clear in the first place instead of getting ultra defensive when you are contradicted. And even if you said this, it just shows your lack of understanding of today’s soccer as a team sport that relies on coach’s instructions and how the rest of the team plays. (Stop trying to conflate this issue with Federer and the Olympics — the short history of Olympic tennis pales in comparison with football in the Olympics since 1900).

You talk a lot, but you do not know as much as you pretend to know.

Bella: your opinion on Messi does not matter since most of the world’s great current/former footballers and coaches have either already called Messi the greatest ever or he will be if he continues like this. At the age of 24, Messi is already the fifth highest scorer of goals for Argentina so he could finish his career as as Argentina’s top scorer (Maradona is third). Messi on the Argentina team may not have impressed you… but the rest of the Argentina team is not that good (Tevez aside, who else: Mascherano? Higuain? Maxi Rodriguez?), opposing teams can easily put two/three players to mark Messi, and Messi is a team player who has to follow his coach’s instructions. At World Cup 2006, when Brasil’s Ronaldinho was doubled teamed, the ball went to Kaka who had more room to play. Not so with the 2010 Argentina team, the coach Maradona did ot have a Plan B, resulting in passes to Messi being intercepted and Messi being marked out of play especially against Germany.


Dave Says:

Steve 27: “A club already formed from the direction of Frank Rijkaard. Guardiola only had to polish it a little and form a scheme where the Argentine was the key. Moreover, the Dutch coach, Rijkaard, Barcelona lifted the worst of the past 20 years…According to your reasoning, if Guardiola fails in any English team no longer worth it? I think not.”

Appearances can be deceptive. You should listen to Barcelona’s midfield general Xavi Hernandez (“the best Spanish player in history” according to you) when he tells us — as I did — that things were not what they seemed to be under Rijkaard: “Xavi slams Rijkaard era”.
http://tinyurl.com/6uowtbm

Maybe now it makes sense why Xavi and Barcelona became even better under Guardiola than they were under Rijkaard, even though Xavi was aging… and why Rijkaard was fired from his next job as coach of Galatasaray and the best job he can get is coach of Saudi Arabia until he gets fired again after the World Cup.

Asked if he believes Messi is the world’s best, Xavi said: “Yes, and I think most people in football think the same, but obviously Cristiano is a great footballer. They are the two players most capable of making the difference on the pitch, but Messi is peerless. I hate to compare them, but Leo gives us everything. He creates goals, he scores goals, makes us play, has a lot of involvement in the way we play and is at the centre of almost all our attacks. The guy has it all. He can even head it well despite his height. Pep (Guardiola) once said – and he is absolutely right – that (Messi) dominates every aspect of the game. He is the best – the number one.”

You need to follow your own advice: ‘Get out of your enclosure, and not always look for information to state what you believe is right. Be open to other opinions and more reasons, the answers only lead to more questions. Do as Socrates, “I just know that I know nothing”, be more humble and respects the views of others (especially Dave’s views).’


Steve 27 Says:

Poor Dave, as ignorant as always! Messi performance against Real Madrid today demonstrates what we’ve always known about Messi: when there is a great marking, his performance is not the same and not as marked when carelessly

Why Messi is not the best ever like idiots (the power of money) would have us believe: Well today is seen as the quintessential classic of world football. that when you mark Messi repeatedly, loudly, completely disappears. What happened today is the same like in the match against Inter Milan two years ago, the same against Chelsea in the same semifinal remembered 2009, the hero was Iniesta. When you mark the argentinan as it should, suffocating, leaving no thought, as is the skilled, low performance a lot and he is like a “normal” player. To think that Maradona won in the hardest league in the world with a marking that would make Messi not touch the ball, and make far fewer goals, where the real 10, Maradona, provided the goals and did not wait for someone (s) you give all to define. Why you think Messi in Latin America is made or 20 percent showing in Barca? but Dave, a youth of globalization, follows the story to multinationals, large corporations, major brands, media, that the only thing that matters is sell, sell and sell. As the Americans say: “Time is money.” you get carried away by emotions, but not thoroughly analyze the history of sport.

Do you know who was Lucho Reyna? It was a Peruvian defense,which marked him fiercely,as remembered the same Diego, at the edge of the regulations valid for the qualifying matches in Mexico 1986. If Messi made a mark like that. what would happen?. Simple, he disappears completely from the game. Not to mention Pele in World Cup 1966, when methodically abused him, leaving him outside the world cup. They had not even yellow and red cards at the time!. What happened in the recent Américan Cup held in the country of the argentinian: He was not even among the top 3 players of the competition. If he can not stand out in a lesser tournament at home, how will excell in the World Cup when the pressure is 1000 times greater, and the competition is the best of the best?

Finally, young and inexperienced Dave, rather than see a board with no desire to show off, you get defensive and attack me without shame. The only thing I admire about you is how you make arguing with others, using plenty of time to seek to reaffirm your beliefs and fundamentalism in trivial things like tennis and football, and always want to have the last word and can not stand the views of else. Behind your apparent intelligence, there are only vague ideas without connections that feed your ego and not let you out of your shell in which you live: a world surrounded by computers, if young people like you, they will use all that energy, yet well-managed for what really matters, the world would be better and we would not be a population numbed by the great powers of the overall policy and corporatism. What envious of you, for not having all that free time to do productive things, where unlike you, do not lose, things like this. Now, let me end this dialectical exchange, please respect the Reviews posted more than others, that would make you a person more open and sensitive to your environment. Farewell, young Dave, unlike you, I don’t have so much free time and I have more responsibilities than spend all day on a blog like this.


Steve 27 Says:

Oh, I forgot, Ronaldinho does not translate into numbers, but nothing beyond cold logic of statistics, but something more. But I know that for you the most important are the numbers, right? To understand the magic of Ronaldinho should be guided by the senses and see that was a unique talent that could be but he would not. After all, the magic of living is more important than sporting significance for the person who decides that.


Dave Says:

Steve 27: So your brilliant mind generalizes from three subpar Messi performances that great footballers and coaches are idiots for considering Messi the greatest ever? Duh, your heroes Maradona and Ronaldinho had far, far more subpar performances and subpar seasons. The reason why the great experts consider Messi the world’s best is because he delivers great performances in many, many more games than not — relative to Maradona, Ronaldinho and other great players.

Messi is more consistent and his club wins far, far more than Maradona’s Napoli or Ronaldinho’s Barcelona ever did. In less than four years with Messi as key player and Guardiola as coach, Barcelona have already won an incredible 13 titles (they could still win two more titles before this season ends) which beats the previous Barca record of 11 titles in eight years under coach Johan Cryuff. Coach Rijkaard took five years to win only 5 titles with your magical hero Ronaldinho. Napoli with Maradona won only 3 titles. And Messi is far from finished as he is just entering his prime.

A smart footballing mind will tell you the key reasons for Mourinho’s first Real Madrid victory over Barcelona was partly due to Barcelona issues: poor goalkeeping from Victor Valdez, the coach’s unorthodox 3-4-3 strategy to win a game they had to win, ineffectivenss of Xavi and Iniesta, key players injured (Villa, Abidal, etc.), and bad choice to play Cristian Tello, Thiago and Adriano instead of better players like Alexi Sanchez, Cesc Fabregas and Pique. Real Madrid was the better team that game, and Barcelona looked tired after a long tough season

An ignorant person might jump to the conclusion that Messi was neutralized by “great marking”. But a more intelligent footballing analysis would have realized he was mostly let down by a poor 3-4-3 strategy and teammates poor passing and support: “Messi was forced to drop deeper into midfield as he got no offensive support whenever he was at his dangerous position; The Madrid system did well to close the most important passing lanes, or maybe it was the Barcelona team’s passing which was not that great? Messi was always dangerous with the ball and Xavi, Iniesta and Tello could all have scored from his through balls if it weren’t for poor finishing, poor control and poor first touch; all in that order. Messi’s free-kick was easily cleared on the 13th min and his shot was blocked on the 59th. He was offside on the 41st and 60th min and he made some wonderful diagonal balls which won’t go unnoticed.”

Get this into your dense head: 24-year Messi has played at a higher level in far more games than Maradona did even by age 28. And Messi is marked by today’s technically-better markers than Maradona was in the 1980s, even in Italy. Don’t make me laugh by citing Luis Reyna.

And here is an example of your absurdity: “(Messi) was not even among the top 3 players of the competition” in the 2011 Copa America. Duh, of course he would not be the top three players of the competition as the top players would be those whose teams reached the final or semifinal stages (Argentina lost in the quarterifinal to eventual champions Uruguay because Tevez missed his penalty kick). Today, most stars who play in European leagues seldom stand out at the Copa America, because they are tired from played a long season.

And here is an example of your double standard: “If he can not stand out in a lesser tournament at home”. Maradona never won the Copa America in all his years on the national team, and Argentina was not even among the top three teams when Maradona’s Argentina hosted the Copa America in 1987. Yet Argentina won the Copa America in 1991 and 1993 — without Maradona. As well, your great Ronaldonho did not even play in Brazil’s 1984 and 1987 Copa America winning teams.

And more evidence of your ignorance: “Ronaldinho does not translate into numbers, but nothing beyond cold logic of statistics…To understand the magic of Ronaldinho should be guided by the senses and see that was a unique talent that could be but he would not.” Even Ronadinho’s Barcelona and Paris St Germain manager-coaches agree with me that Ronaldinho plays well for a few seasons (though his best was still inferior to Messi) but his indiscipline, night life and need to be adored/loved led to several mediocre seasons with PSG, Barcelona, etc. In his last two seasons with Barcelona, the club won nothing and Rijkaard was fired because he had built his club around Ronaldinho. Why do you think Ronaldinho is now back in Brazil?

Once again, you don’t know what you’re yapping about, though your ego pretends it does.

Now applying your own words of wisdom to yourself: “Finally, young and inexperienced Steve, you are trying to show off, get defensive and attack me without shame. The only thing I admire about you is how you make arguing with others, using plenty of time to seek to reaffirm your beliefs and fundamentalism in trivial things like tennis and football, and always want to have the last word and can not stand the views of else. Behind your apparent intelligence, there are only vague ideas without connections that feed your ego and not let you out of your shell in which you live: a world surrounded by computers, if young people like you, they will use all that energy and free time to do productive things, maybe the world would be a better place. Now, let me end this dialectical exchange, please respect the Reviews posted more than others, that would make you a person more open and sensitive to your environment. Farewell, young Steve.”


Steve 27 Says:

All fanatics have heroes, idols, because they need and are unable to see more openly, therefore, serves not argue with them, they do not understand reasons and it is a waste of time to chat with them. because of their obstinacy and stubbornness. His youth inhibits them from seeing the ghosts of his sick personality. Only the quiet maturity and restores the sense of reality.
Here a great example Here of a disturbed personality.


Dave Says:

Steve 27: Now let’s show everybody proof you are unable to “see more openly” because in your “(sick and disturbed) obstinacy and stubbornness” it is you who “do not understand reasons and it is a waste of time to chat with you”. The sign of a fanatic is the delusion that the problem lies elsewhere, not within himself.

You claimed repeatedly that Lionel Messi was marked out of the game: “Messi performance against Real Madrid today demonstrates what we’ve always known about Messi: when there is a great marking, his performance is not the same… when you mark Messi repeatedly, loudly, completely disappears… When you mark the argentinan as it should, suffocating, leaving no thought, as is the skilled, low performance a lot and he is like a “normal” player… If Messi made a mark like that. what would happen?. Simple, he disappears completely from the game. ”

Duh, Messi wasn’t “marked out of the game”. You obviously were unable to see the obvious as you watched a soccer game being played but were unable to understand the strategy used by the Chelsea and Real Madrid teams. As I said earlier, “an ignorant person might jump to the conclusion that Messi was neutralized by “great marking”. But a more intelligent footballing analysis would have realized he was mostly let down by a poor 3-4-3 strategy and teammates poor passing and support.”

As shown, what Real Madrid and Chelsea did was to deny Barcelona’s attackers and midfielders space/ position on the field and close down their passing lanes — rather than attempt to mark Messi and steal the ball from him — which blocked Barcelona’s playmakers like Xavi, Alves and Iniesta from passing the ball to Messi… thus forcing Messi out of his attacking positions and to withdraw deeper and narrower in order to pick up the ball. Madrid’s playmakers failed to overcome their opponents’ strategy of cutting down their space and they failed to support Messi. And when Messi managed to find them, they were unable to finish what he started.

Here, find some humility to learn from the clear illustrations of how Chelsea and Madrid were able to keep balls from getting to Messi in dangerous positions:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thefootballtacticsblog/2012/04/can_chelsea_prey_on_barcelonas.html


Steve 27 Says:

by the way, did you live in a monarchy?


Jason Says:

I am so impressed with Dave’s knowledge and vision. Let Dave to be the ATP CEO if Fedr is not intested.

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