Tennis star Dustin Brown has led the criticism of World No.3 Dominic Thiem after he claimed he shouldn’t have to share his wealth to lower ranked players in a recovery fund.
The popular Austrian caused a stir on Monday when he claimed he shouldn’t have to sacrifice his salary to help out lower ranked opponents who are struggling for cash due to the suspension of the ATP Tour during the coronavirus crisis.
‘WON’T STARVE’: Thiem's shock refusal to help lower-ranked players
But German former World No.64 Brown has offered Thiem a reality check.
The 35-year-old - who is now ranked World No.239 - has reminded Thiem that many struggling players come from humble beginnings and have grafted their way to the top.
Startin In 2004 I Lived In A Camper, Surviving From Week To Week With The Money I Made... Losing First Round In A 10k Was 117,50$ - Tax... Because Of This I Was Also Stringing Rackets For Other Players For 5€ A Pop... If This Would Happend Then, It Would Have Cost Me My Career!! https://t.co/xVPzXTSqIw— Dustin Brown (@DreddyTennis) April 26, 2020
For Brown this included stringing rackets for his opponents to earn some extra cash.
This was backed up by British World No.233 Tara Moore.
The 26-year-old said Thiem couldn’t understand the “desperation” of some lower ranked players who would have no income.
She also said tennis could lose a future World No.1 if a young player is not able to recover financially from their position.
Many other tennis pros praised Brown’s story and suggested this crisis should force the ATP into a re-think about how to distribute funds.
No he can choose if and who he’d like to help, but to say that lower ranked players are not fighting is disrespectful. He has no right to judge other people’s work ethic, unless he knows them personally and walked besides them.— Tara Moore (@TaraMoore92) April 26, 2020
To come back to then he would understand the desperation. There’s possibly a future grand slam champion ranked outside 500 who is not coming back from this crisis. There’s players who’s family members are sick and their only income is tennis (coaching, club matches) 2/2— Tara Moore (@TaraMoore92) April 26, 2020
Anyway, I think we should fix the system not this sort of charity thing. Players should get what they deserve. And we deserve much more than we are getting right now. Yes, with lower ranked players you have no sponsors and spectators, but without them tennis would not exist.— Illya Marchenko (@imarchello) April 27, 2020
I hear ya bro! Btw did you ever string your opponents racket?— Marcus Willis (@Willbomb90) April 26, 2020
Thiem comes out swinging over relief fund
In an interview with Austria's Krone newspaper, Thiem was asked about last week's announcement by world number one Novak Djokovic that he was working with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to organise aid for players struggling with the paralysis of the game due to the coronavirus pandemic.
‘POOR FORM’: Kyrgios blasts tennis' virus relief efforts
"Quite honestly I have to say that no tennis player will be fighting to survive, even those who are much lower-ranked," Thiem said, adding: "None of them are going to starve."
He said that his experience competing on the sport's Futures circuit had shown him that there are "many, many players who don't put the sport above everything else and don't live in a professional manner."
"I wouldn't really see why I should give such players money," he went on.
"I would rather give money to people or organisations that really need it," Thiem said.