'Don’t want to play': Tennis world on alert over looming crisis

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Denis Shapovalov (pictured) celebrates after winning a point.
Denis Shapovalov (pictured) has hit out at the prize money on the ATP Tour as Covid-19 continues to impact tennis. (Getty Images)

Denis Shapovalov has spoken out about a looming tennis crisis after pointing out the prize money for ATP 250 and 500 events has hit a critical low.

The ATP and WTA were hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic as tournaments were called off and revenue dipped as many players opted to travel only for Grand Slams.

ANGRY: Andrey Rublev continues attack on 'absurd' Roger Federer farce

'RISK AND REWARD': Ash Barty announces return to WTA Tour

Canadian Shapovalov attempted to address the issue at the Dubai Open after a big announcement this week.

Following his quarter-final win over Jeremy Chardy at the Dubai Open, where he hasn't dropped a game on serve, the in-form World No.12 talked about the whopping drop in prize money.

The Miami Masters just announced a huge 66 per cent (approximately) reduction in the prize pool for the up-coming tournament.

The Miami Open winner will take home $310,000 in prize money in 2020, compared to in 2019 when Roger Federer took home roughly $1.35 million.

Prize money isn't the only issue, with big names such as Rafael Nadal, Federer, Nick Kyrgios and Dominic Thiem all absent for various reasons.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Shapovalov said if prize money remains low, players may opt to just play Grand Slams due to the hassle and risk of travelling.

"I definitely think there's going to be a lot of withdrawals and a lot of people not going to tournaments," Shapovalov said.

"I do agree the prize money is low, and it's not motivating to play every week, and play all the big tournaments. There's not really a lot in it for us other than the Slams at this point, that are paying just as much or better."

Shapovalov calls for ATP action

The Canadian said he hoped the ATP take action so players have more incentive to attend tournaments outside the majors.

"Hopefully the ATP or someone can do something to improve the prize money and bring it back to what it was," he added.

"But it is what it is right now, you know. So we have other obligations from sponsors, contracts that obligate us to play as well. 

Denis Shapovalov celebrates a point in his Quarter-Final singles match against Jeremy Chardy of France during Day Twelve of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on March 18, 2021 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Denis Shapovalov celebrates a point in his Quarter-Final singles match against Jeremy Chardy of France during Day Twelve of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on March 18, 2021 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

"So for sure, that's definitely one reason why a lot of players are still playing, because otherwise, I feel like a lot of players just don’t want to play at all."

This isn't the only issue raised as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to hurt tennis.

Recently, Mexican Open tournament director Raul Zurutuza claimed Federer had a deal with Dubai - which means he has never played in Accapulco - and hoped more of its kind would 'never repeated' so big name players can visit multiple events.

Furthermore, Zurutuza admitted the tournament didn't have the money to pay Nadal his appearance fee, despite the Spaniard being defending champion.

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.