Potential minimum income, changes to late night finishes and marketing among changes in WTA Chairman's response to top stars

Thursday, 02 November 2023 at 20:30
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The WTA would be ready to implement some of the measures proposed by the world's top female tennis players, including a minimum salary and flexible schedules.
In the past week, the WTA has faced criticism, particularly due to the conditions under which the WTA Finals are being played. Similar to last year in Fort Worth, Texas, the tournament's location in Cancun was only announced a few weeks before it started. This time in Cancun, there were similar issues, with delays in the construction of infrastructure, empty stands, and the players not being able to practice on the central court in time.
Tensions escalated after The Athletic reported that a group of 21 of the world's best female tennis players, including Aryna Sabalenka and Marketa Vondrousova, sent a letter demanding that the WTA provide higher salaries, flexible schedules, support for childcare, and the opportunity to have a representative from the Professional Tennis Players Association on the WTA Player Council.
While there is no official information regarding the letter, other players who reportedly signed it include Elena Rybakina and Ons Jabeur. The players received a response from Steve Simon in a letter published in Sports Illustrated, first addressing the situation at the Finals and then discussing some changes for the WTA Tour in 2024.
“We would also like to share with you the various areas that you have identified in your letter that are already in place, are currently being discussed and the topics in which a review is being scheduled.”
“The topic of ‘minimum income’ and injury/disability and maternity coverage is a topic scheduled for review,” he wrote.
“The ATP introduced Baseline which will be used as a basis from which the review will begin. We will provide you with further updates on this as the review and discussion progresses.”
The "Baseline" plan is a three-stage program that guarantees a minimum income for tennis players. In the first trial season of 2024, players within the top 100 are assured a minimum income of £246,000 ($300,000), players ranked 101-175 will receive at least £123,000 ($150,000), and those ranked 176-250 will earn a minimum of £62,000 ($75,000). If a player falls short of these earnings, the ATP will cover the difference.
Under ‘injury protection’, those who play less than nine tournaments across the ATP Tour and Challenger Tour circuits in a single season due to injury will also receive a minimum wage, stopping players from trying to return too early just to make a living.
For players who can't play many tournaments in a year due to injuries, they'll get a guaranteed income. The amount depends on their ranking:
-       Top 100 players get £164,000 ($200,000).
-       Players ranked 101-175 are guaranteed £82,000 ($100,000).
-       Those ranked 176-250 will have a safety net of £41,000 ($50,000).
Also, there's support for young players just starting in the top 125 for the first time. They'll receive £164,000 ($200,000) in advance for the next season, which will be deducted from their future prize money earnings.

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