Issued on: 25/03/2021 – 01:00Modified: 03/25/2021 – 00:58
American veteran John Isner eased his criticism of the ATP Tour on Wednesday after beating the organization last month after confirming at the Miami Open earlier this week that the prize money had been cut.
The world number 28 called the ATP a “broken system” in February after it became known that the pandemic-stricken tournament had increased prize money for individual winners from $ 1.35 million in 2019 to just over $ 300,000 that year had decreased.
The 35-year-old called for a “real test” of the tournament to see how much money was available and berated tennis for “a lack of transparency”.
On Wednesday, Isner returned to the topic, insisting that reducing the prize money was not his main concern.
“I think for some players it’s not so much about the prize money,” said Isner. “We don’t really want to make it.
“Maybe the tour structure is about the fact that the players want to know better why decisions are made and what went into each decision.”
Tennis finances have taken a hit since the pandemic. The season has been suspended for much of 2020, and tournaments like the Miami Open last year and two editions of the Indian Wells Masters have been completely canceled.
Isner acknowledged that the players understood that revenue had dropped due to the loss of ticket sales.
“Again, it’s really not about the money,” added Isner. “Of course we would prefer to play for a bigger wallet.
“There’s just a little bit of uncertainty about how those numbers came into play and why the prize money is what it is.
“Of course we’d love to gamble for more, but we understand that as we lose ticketing revenue, our wallets will go down,” he said.
“But there are some players who have questions about why it was so bad. The tour implemented a strategy that keeps the lower rounds pretty similar.
“The prize money in the quarters, semi-finals and finals has been cut quite severely. The top players in our game have had a great deal of success in terms of prize money lately.”
However, Isner said the ATP Tour has been more open with the players in recent meetings.
“Look, there will always be some things that players are unhappy about,” he said.
“I think lately the players have felt that the tour was more transparent for them. We’re trying to understand the process a little better.”
Isner added that the new Professional Tennis Players Association, led by World Number 1 Novak Djokovic, whom he joined last year, would address some of the players’ concerns.
“I think it could ultimately be healthy for the tour,” said Isner. “Some people would definitely disagree with me.”
© 2021 AFP