Aussie tennis World No.206 Andrew Harris has hit out at Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic for failing to support the lower ranked players in the game and keeping all the money at the top of the sport.
Harris has been in the wilderness during the coronavirus pandemic having not heard much about when the tour would restart from the ATP.
During a difficult period, Harris took aim at the ATP for their lack of communication towards players and leaving the tour in disarray.
But he also turned his attention to Federer, Djokovic and Nadal and his belief they are keeping the wealth of the game at the top.
Harris called for a restructure of tennis’ prize money to help distribute the wealth down the rankings to make sure players aren’t losing money attempting to play tournaments.
He took a swipe at Federer and accused him of claiming one thing in public about sharing wealth, but presenting a different sentiment in ATP meetings.
“Roger, Rafa and Novak. They’ve been at the top for so long, they almost forget what it’s like to be in these lower positions,” he said on the Break Point Podcast.
“I know Federer is all for the money at the top. He might say in public what people want to hear, that he’s all for money being redistributed to lower-ranked players … but when it comes to voting, his preference is to keep it at the top.
“I think Novak out of the top three is pushing the agenda to give money to the lower ranks hardest. (I’m unsure) whether that’s enough, but out of those three, I think he’s doing the most. It doesn’t affect them so they’re not that invested.
“At world no. 1 or 2, you’ve got so much going on.”
‘Pretty ordinary’: Harris on Djokovic leadership
“Novak didn’t even join the Zoom call … He’s head of the Player Council and he’s not even on the call, didn’t show his face. There were images of him playing soccer at the same time. That’s pretty ordinary.”
Regarding that Zoom Call, Harris claimed he came out of it with “more questions and being more frustrated” due to how messy the communication has been.
Harris explained the first piece of communication was only five days out from the ATP’s decision to go ahead with the US Open, despite not warning players.
But Harris saved his biggest criticism for ATP head, and former Italian tennis player, Andrea Gaudenzi for being ‘condescending’ and showing a lack of support for players outside the Top 100.
He also hit out at Gaudenzi after he claimed he didn’t take a pay cut during these difficult times.
“His justification was because they’ve been working twice as hard,” Harris said.
“He said something like, ‘after a day’s work with what I’ve been doing, it feels like I’ve played a five-set match’, something along those lines. I was like, that’s actually insulting, that as a reason to not take a pay cut.
“He was a player so you would think he would have a bit more understanding instead of being so tone-deaf.”
Harris also said, just like fellow Aussie James Duckworth, he has found out just as much from the internet or from social media, compared to the ATP.