Expenses and life on tour (Amir Weintraub's blog, Tursunov's interview June 2013)
I thought you guys might find it interesting. Israel's second ranked player, Amir Weintraub, who is ranked 270 as of today (born in 1986), has been writing a column describing his life on tour. I translated from Hebrew.
In the next few weeks I'm going to tell you about my life, about the life of a pro tennis player, and how it is nothing like you would imagine.
Status report – I'm ranked around 280 in the world. Last week I've won the Israeli championship after beating Dudi Sela in the finals. This was my last 2010 match, four days later and 2011 has already started. My original plan was to fly to two big tournaments in Australia, and then play the Australian open qualifications. But yet again I've discovered how unpredictable life on tour can be if you are ranked at the tail end of the top 300.
This is how it started.
I flew 'El-Al' (Israel airline) To Hong Kong on Tuesday night, and from there I took a connecting flight to Brisbane in Australia, which was suppose to be my first tournament. Suppose to. In reality, I arrived to Brisbane completely drained on Thursday afternoon. It was the first time in my career I had a ride waiting for me, because this was my first big tournament. I told the driver to take me directly to the courts and not to the hotel because I wanted to practice.
I arrived to the tournament and saw black. Half the tennis players on tour did the exact same calculations as I did. There were so many players there ranked so much higher than me, which meant I wasn't even going to get into qualifications. There are 28 places, and those ranked higher get authomatic priority. Even if I beg till morning that I just flew in 20 hours from Israel – it won't help me.
I remembered there was a 75,000 dollars (including hospitality!!) in New Caledonia, somewhere near Australia. In a split-second decision I told my driver to take me back to the airport. The same wretched place I was crying tears of joy to have left behind an hour ago. A call to my traveling agent again. "I need a ticket for New Caledonia." "Where?" "Again, Slowly. N-E-W C-A-L-E-D-O-N-I-A, NOW!" I paid 400 dollars for 2 hours flight.
I landed on 2 AM, weary of four days of traveling. Luckily for me there were two other tennis players on the plane. They had hotel rooms, I didn't. Got lucky again, I spent the night as a guest in their room.
You need to understand that a big part of the considerations players in our level make have to do with how to save costs. Sometimes those considerations exceed the professional considerations. For example. A day after 'floor night' I decided to enter the doubles tournament in New Caledonia. Not because I wanted to, but because to enter main draw in either singles or double means full hospitality. I entered with an Italian player ranked 210 in the world and we were last on the list. Simple math – it was worth five nights minimum savings, in a 5 stars hotel which charges 150 per night.
On Friday afternoon I found myself practicing for the first time after 5 days, in a heat of 44 degrees and 80% moistures. Civilization? On this island I get the internet, best case scenario, for an hour per day, and lets not even talk about cellular reception.
Tennis time. I'm ranked second in qualifications. I beat a local played in the first round easily. Second round I get past a French guy, but injured my abductor as the match ends. The doctor and tournament physiotherapist meet me the next day and tell me "there's no way you are playing today'. I told them fine, but I didn't make all this way from Israel to this hole so someone could tell me whether I'm healthy or not. I played against a Frenchman, former top 100 player, and had one of my biggest victories to date.
Between the tennis and the leg problems, I kept thinking about the Australian Open. When I got here I was 20 places away from making the cut. 'The Cut' is the term players in my level live by. I didn't check it statistically, but it never happened that a player ranked 280 in the world didn't make the cut for Australia qualifications, and somehow it looks like it could happen this year. Every day I check what is going on in the lists. It's like a stoke on the market that wouldn't budge. As of this weekend, I'm 8 outside the cut, and 6 more days to the deadlines.
My progress on court also changed my status in the hotel. From a tenant I turned into a landlord, every day I get visits from 'pilgrims' – other tennis players who ask me whether they can stay in my room. Me, who slept on the floor two days ago, now hosting the new 'homeless' guys. Eventually we're all in the same boat. This thing is costing us all too much money not to help each other at least outside the court.
I lost second round in both singles and doubles, and eventually it was smart of me to come to New Caledonia. But was it worth it? The trip back is gonna cost me 842 dollars! Which means the entire spontenous detour has cost me 1242 dollars. Almost like my entire plane ticket to Australia, and a lot more than the check I got for the rounds I won in the tournaments, but between us – what's money in comparison to the chance to earn a few more ranking points?
Last edited by Or Levy; 10-06-2012 at 10:38 PM.