No IPTL Money = No Roger Federer, No Serena Williams And Lots Of Irate Fans
by Staff | December 6th, 2016, 4:03 pm

After a blockbuster season last year, the IPTL is running on fumes this year. With little in the coffers, the exo tour was already without many star players, but at least they had Roger Federer and Serena Williams. Until today.

The IPTL announced that both Roger and Serena would be unable to play the circuit because the series basically didn’t have the money to pay them.

“We have had challenges this year, and we were hoping to get past them. With the current economic climate in India and the uncertainty of spending money, I reached out to both Roger and Serena to explain the situation,” explained IPTL head Mahesh Bhupathi.

“They have both been very supportive of the IPTL the first two seasons and we look forward to bring them in future years.”

How long did the IPTL know they couldn’t pay Federer and Serena is not known. What is is that fans hoping to see Federer this weekend in Hyderabad, India weren’t pleased.

All ticket holders can request refunds should they choose. And it sounds like many of them will.

You Might Like:
The WTA Now Supports The IPTL, The ATP Still Does Not
Novak Djokovic Will Not Play The Cash Grab December Exos In The IPTL And Abu Dhabi
Roger Federer, Serena Williams Among The Few Top Names Chasing Money At The IPTL
Roger Federer Replaces Rafael Nadal In IPTL, He’ll Play In New Delhi!
WTA Too Scared To Slam Serena For Skipping Singapore, Can You Blame Then?

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

28 Comments for No IPTL Money = No Roger Federer, No Serena Williams And Lots Of Irate Fans

Dennis Says:

Surely though, Roger’s and Serena’s names couldn’t have been used to sell tickets without their consent. The fault is not just with promoters here, but with players pulling out at the last minute.

J-Kath Says:

Dennis: Was it too much to hope that Roger and Serena might have been more gracious…they don’t need the money – I can’t see Andy, Rafa or Nole walking out.

BBB Says:

They’re both injured and sign off the season early, somehow make are able to materialize for an exhibition, and disappear again when the money runs dry.

Not a good look for either of them.

Humble Rafa Says:

It is amazing how money minded these players are. If the Arrogant One had made the trip despite not getting paid, the Heavens would have opened up for him. Now, he will just have to settle for the cattle class with his rich buddies.

John Bullock Says:

I suppose it can seem a bit cynical regular people like us when super rich athletes turn down a gig because the pay isn’t enough, but I sympathise. Charity doesn’t benefit from the IPTL, Federer and Serena aren’t benefiting if they’re not being paid (they get match time but they can practice anywhere). Really the only people who stand to gain from players like Federer or Serena showing up for free (or near as dammit) is the IPTL organisers.

I get that Fed/Serena don’t *need* the money, but where do you draw the line? If they start doing events for free without a good cause then everyone will expect them to play and they’ll have to play favourites.

Willow Says:

Personally ive always thought it quite annoying when people view the stars to be bigger than the sport itself, all rather trite that Federer and Serena are worshipped like they are some gods or goddesses or something, god get over yourselves people, they are tennis players for goodness sake ….

Sean Randall Says:

J-Kath, so how often do you work for free?

BBB, and why didn’t Murray or Nadal sign up to play again? $$$

It’s just business.

sinha71 Says:

Murray was likely exhausted. Nadal is injured.

Besides, Murray and Nadal didn’t make a commitment to appear.

Sean Randall Says:

sinha71, and why didn’t they make a commitment? $$$

sinha71 Says:

It is not about why but that they did not to begin with.

No one can say for sure why they did not.

I do know that Nadal was injured and ended his season early. Murray’s plans were to push very hard to finish the year as number 1 for the first time ever so maybe thought he would need a big rest for next year.

SG1 Says:

We don’t always know what goes on behind the scenes. Typically speaking, players get guaranteed money to show up to these things. It’s very possible that the Federer and Serena camp may have proposed that the IPTL pony up a % of the gate revenue to compensate for the lack of guaranteed money. It’s a way for the event to get what it needs and for the players to get what they need. It’s also possible that the IPTL said no to this proposal as they already have the ticket money in hand. Federer and Serena are effectively senior citizens on tour. Why are you going to drag your ass all over the world when you have other commitments e.g. family? They don’t need the money. I have a feeling that this is more of an IPTL thing than a Federer and Serena thing.

J-Kath Says:

Sean: I note you are addressing me.

I have worked for free in many aspects my life – tell me what you really want to know.

I have no envy for those who have earned more than me because money has never been my ultimate goal. You could never imagine the exciting life that I have so far enjoyed.

(PS: Be careful about suggesting that people whom you believe are less successful than yourself i.e. in numbers of publications are incapable of analyses). With some respect, how many successful articles/radio plays etc. have you produced/have achieved awards for?

At the same time I recognise business is business but there is no way I would not have fulfilled my obligations in the case of Federer/Serena irrespective of the conduct of others.

Danica Says:

Well said J-Kath.

As I was reading this, it struck me that all the tweets addressed the organizers and not one bashed the conduct of the stars. Of course, staff made a choice what tweets to include. It is quite one sided. Still, Roger and Serena could have been a bit more understanding as India is going through a specific monetary issue.

BBB Says:

How strange. Someone who allows his image to be used for marketing purposes is not on the same footing as someone who declines to allow his image to be used for marketing purposes. This isn’t obvious?

I don’t know why Murray and Nadal didn’t play. Perhaps they actually don’t think the money is worth it. Did Murray not come back to the O2 a few years back and play an exhibition with Djokovic when Federer pulled out? Was he paid, or did he do it to alleviate the fans’ disappointment? Did he not just play an exhibition in Vienna when the other semifinalist pulled out, to the dismay of his fans, who wanted him to be fresh for the final? Does he not give valuable real estate on his shirt sleeve for charities?

I’m not even the world’s biggest Murray fan, and even I know he’s not a money grubber.

J-Kath Says:


Murray did not take money at the O2 when he played the exhibition with Nole (following Fed’s withdrawal). I don’t know about Vienna. And you are right, he is far from being a money grubber – he recently hired a private plane for his Davis Cup colleagues – even though Andy himself wasn’t playing. He also pays training expenses for a number of “young” Brit. players. etc. etc.

Danica: Thanks.

Willow Says:

BBB I Believe Rafa might be busy promoting his tennis academy, but im just second guessing here, as i dont personally know what goes on in the players minds ….

Jack Lewis Says:

I have to laugh when people think it is awful for professional athletes to expect payment for their services. Clearly there is nothing else they could be doing instead with their time.
When it comes to worthwhile charities the IPTL ranks so high…FFS.

BBB Says:

I don’t know who’s saying it’s awful for professional athletes to expect payment for their services. I do see people saying that if your image has been used to sell tickets, you might consider appearing anyway. Because you can afford it, and your fans are disappointed.

JK, I was agnostic on Murray, but when he agreed to play at the O2 after losing, I started to pay more attention to his character. I simply assumed he hadn’t been paid – proving that some people do in fact play for free out of regard for the fans. He does a lot of very decent things without fuss. I was glad when Lendl came back because he brings the best out of Murray, and Murray deserves every ounce of success he’s had.

BBB Says:

And no slight to Nadal – I am just not as familiar with times he’s played when he wasn’t obliged to, nor compensated for it.

J-Kath Says:


Again I feel the need to break my self-imposed withdrawal from Tennis X for a while, but I wish to thank you for your fair, measured and welcome response.

BBB Says:

JK, enjoy your break, and I very much value your posts. One of the reasons I continue to come here.

Danica Says:

I believe both Rafa and Nole (I know for Nole) played exho matches for free. Nole was not even compensated for the ones he played in S.America for the longest time. So, yes, some of the tennis biggest stars care genuinely about promoting their sport or about the good cause.

lakie Says:

I do not understand why Federer or anyone owes an explanation to others whether he plays IPTL or not or whether he wants to play for free. I remember some year he wanted to play Basel but his spokespersons demanded a huge price probably because sponsors might have put restrictions in place so that he does not sell his brand for less to others. He was really frustrated and did not really care for the money. I do not remember whether he did eventually play that year. It is really annoying how some people pass judgments on stars without knowing much about them or their constraints. Djok avoids paying taxes in his country. Then gets publicity by donating to charity. Federer is paying taxes in Switzerland and also contributing time and money to charity. I know Andy and Rafa pay taxes in their countries and are also contributing a lot to noble causes. Shame on Djok! Two can play at this game, my friends.

Wog Boy Says:

Switzerland Is a tax haven, always has been, even for nazies, eight out of ten French players listed Switzerland as their residence, Ana Ivanovic too and so on…by the stupid logic of previous poster all Serbians living abroad and earning their money abroad, as Nole does, should pay tax to Serbia, since we are Serbian citizens too. You pay tax where you earned the money.

lakie Says:

Djok does not pay taxes anywhere as he lives in Monte Carlo which is a tax haven. That is not the same as Serbians living abroad and paying taxes elsewhere. Switzerland taxes worldwide income of its residents. Its tax rate is low and there are some benefits for foreigners. But Fed pays higher taxes in Switzerland because he did not join the army. Besides Switzerland is his country and he is not staying there to avoid taxes unlike Djok who lives in Monte Carlo to avoid paying taxes to Serbia.

lakie Says:

So be careful about claiming my logic is stupid. Serbians earning money in other countries pay taxes there. Djok chose to live in Monte Carlo to avoid paying taxes ANYWHERE.

Danica Says:

And let’s not even start naming all the sport stars and those in entertainment business who are temporarily living in Monaco.

Lakie, if the aforementioned stars committed originally to playing and the organizer promoted the event using them as bait if you will, then I would think that they do owe it to their fans even if that means they would play for free (with paid tickets and hotel). I understood that Laender Paes tried to explain the current financial issue in India but to no avail.

Both Serena and Roger were quite free in the last leg of the season. Andy and Nole had legitimate reasons for not playing, specially Andy.

Wog Boy Says:

Unfortunately (for you) very stupid an uneducated if you believe that players are taking listed prize money in full without paying the tax in the country they played.
Rafa refused to play Queens because UK tax on prize money is too high for his liking. Most Western contries have agreements between them that don’t double tax players (thats why lot of players don’t move the countries, besides Roger listed Dubai too as his residence), meaning if players are playing in America, they pay tax in America but not back in their countries for the same money.
Serbia doesn’t have that, what kind of idiot Nole would be to pay 30% tax in Melbourne and than go to Serbia and they charge him extra 30% on the same money?

You keep trolling, I understand, lot of frustration has been acumulated in the last six years in your previous lives on TX, under different monikers …o yes, and Nole won non-calendar GS, nice…

Leave Your Comment [guidelines]

Top story: Rafa Rises Up Down Under; Federer v Nishikori Tonight At The Australian Open, Who's The Pick?