John Isner Unhappy With The State Of Pay On The ATP Tour
by Jeremy Davis | February 27th, 2021, 6:11 pm
  • 4 Comments

In a series of tweets earlier this week, John Isner lashed out at the Miami Masters and the ATP for their lack of transparency over recent prize money reductions due to COVID.

Nearly all of the events thus far since the tour restarted in August have had to reduce prize money due to sponsorship shortcomings, fan restrictions, safety requirements and other issues.

Isner voiced his concerns calling the current ATP equal partnership between players and tournaments “broken” citing that events like Miami and the tour as a whole is not sharing in the revenue shortfall like the players are.

ATP is a broken system. Players and tournaments as ‘partners’ need to work together, but 60% cut and 80% champions cut in one of our biggest events that has TV, Data, sponsorship, and newly approved gambling revenue intact, isn’t a partnership at all.

How about a true audit to see much how tourneys are actually hurting and then a money formula after the event to reconcile. Amazing we still don’t have this in a lot of our big events. How does that make any sense?

Tennis is run like an intramural sport. Check NBA, MLB, NHL, PGA etc etc. Not comparing revenue/popularity to those sports but take a peak at their structure, talent representation, and percentage of revenue models. Tennis is plagued by conflict and lack of transparency.

Promoters own assets that appreciate and have infinite time to monetize that asset, whereas the players have a short amount of time to maximize our talents. That’s a broken system.

So players should take a 60% cut and 80% champions cut while ATP executives keep full salaries, benefits and expense accounts? Make that make sense. Seems just a little bit hypocritical, don’t ya think?

The sentiment is shared by many other players including Reilly Opelka who joined in on Isner’s crusade.

Not only are they not willing to take a salary cut, but they are also not willing to show up to any of our events. Was really shocked when our execs were not present when we re opened in Cincy/NY

Hard for things to change when our board members do NOT serve terms. Also, almost 50% of our board members would be considered “conflicts of interest” in any other sport or company.

The big issue for both players and others is the reality that next month’s Miami event will see prize money to champions cut by 80% from $1.35M in 2019 to just over $300K for 2021. And overall prize money reduced 60%.

So players have a right to be upset. That’s a huge hit for a sport as big as tennis and for one of the top tier events. It’s fair to say if in a 50-50 partnership if one group gets cut by 60%, then the other group should as well. Isner and Opelka are asking that question but not getting an answer.

And why is tennis taking it on the chin. Other sports are seeing such dramatic cuts at their top levels, but tennis is different to the NBA, NHL, NFL, PGA, etc. It’s global.

The Australian tennis season just finished and while the smaller events didn’t offer much in prize money, the Open did, keeping the total purse level with 2020. However, that’s Australia which has a deeper interest in tennis then America.

In fact, the players should be thankful that the Miami tournament is happening at all, and they have an opportunity to play for prize money! The The event didn’t happen last year due to COVID, which must have been financially devastating. And with fan limits and like reductions from sponsors and unknown player participation, this is not going to be the normal Miami Open.

Indian Wells and the Laver Cup are also uncertain and the NY Open and Houston events were cancelled outright for 2021. Even the US Open last September was down in prize money. So tennis in the U.S. is in a tough state right now.

Meanwhile, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic started the PTPA back in August to address such concerns, but what has the organization done? Djokovic suggested (or demanded) the players be taken better care of during the Australian quarantine. A request that fell flat.

He also advocated for the tour to build a bubble for the season. Another miss. And that follows a forgettable summer of 2020 when just about everything went wrong for the Serb.

At least the tour is back, now. Players are playing. Tournaments are being won and being lost. And there haven’t been any outbreaks.

Players across all sports are having to deal with and adapt to this new evolving COVID environment. Because of its complex global nature and its many governing bodies, this has been especially hard for tennis. A fact Isner already knows.


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4 Comments for John Isner Unhappy With The State Of Pay On The ATP Tour

Tom Says:

Jim Courier said the following about Novak.

“What he was asking for was help for the people that are going to try and beat him at the Australian Open. That’s really important to note: he was helping the people that he’s going to compete against.

“Because while some of the things he asked for are still pie in the sky – the house with the tennis court, all of those things, it’s so completely unrealistic – but it was still done with the intention to help his competitors and I think that’s been lost in the shuffle.”

‘A miscarriage of justice’: Jim Courier is standing by Novak Djokovic https://www.theage.com.au/culture/tv-and-radio/a-miscarriage-of-justice-jim-courier-is-standing-by-novak-djokovic-20210201-p56yic.html

(2) Question : Besides Djokovic, what are other top male players doing to help Isner and other lower ranked players?

In the meantime, Serena Williams said that “I’m obviously Team Djokovic…” in September 2020 according to Tennis 365.


Wog Boy Says:

Jeremy Davis, in the true fashion of British press, you didn’t even bother to read Craig Tiley interview from few days ago, did you?
Why would you, since you already made up your mind about what you are going to write about Nole regardless of the facts.

Nole, with a support of few players including Serena helped immensely lower ranked players this AO, but again you failed to mention that either and I am sure you knew that.

Nole received 1,2 million dollars less this year for winning AO than what he received last year, that wasn’t because AO had less prize money this year than last one, no, the prize money was the same but Nole pushed for more equal distribution of money and succeeded, prize money for SFs, finalists and the winner of AO was significantly lowered and that money was given to qualifiers and first four rounds players, only QFs stayed the same as last year.
I can give you the link with the numbers but why would I since I am absolutely sure you knew it just didn’t fit in your article since you would have to give credit to Nole for something and that’s big NO NO, he is villain and that’s how it has to stay until his retirement and beyond.


mat4 Says:

Great answer, WB!


Django Says:

So that means Kyrgios got extra money


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