Re: Fitzpatrick about prize money: very interesting article
It´s a very interesting topic, and there are a lot of good comments in this thread. I´m sure it´s not easy for someone like FItzpatrick, but still...
Playing futures should not be a lucrative job. It´s supposed to be a springboard to higher levels of the game. Players are supposed to go through that phase and into the challengers, not play futures until they are thirty. Let´s face it, if you´re still playing futures at 23-24, (like Fitzpatrick), playing only a few challengers here and there, and losing in the qualies, you´re not going to make it to the top. Then it´s time to do something else with your life. Or continue playing futures, but don´t expect someone else to keep funding your hobby.
It all comes down to simple economics. In order for the players to earn more, they would have to create value themselves. Top pros do this, they attract huge crowds, sponsors, tv-broadcasters etc. etc. Even challenger players do this, obviously to a much lesser extent. But futures? What is the value they create? DO the matches draw crowds? Not really, ticket income is close to zero. Does tv brodcast futures? No, because no one would watch it. Sponsors? SOme, but let´s be honest, not that much, simply because the visibility is limited to the local club that doesn´t really draw spectators or tv. In fact there is a substantial alternative cost with futures. They are usually played at small-medium size tennis clubs, meaning that during a tournament that lasts a week, the club loses a lot of the income they would get under normal circumstances from paying club players. In many european countries that´s close to 20 e/hour/court. DUring a week it adds up to quite a big sum. They dont get ticket revenues to copmpensate for it, not even close.
So in futures, we are not talking about pros. We are talking about a tournaments that are very necessary for young players, but playing them should not be a lucrative job for journeymen getting close to 30 years. Talented players will usually find a way to advance, whether it´s with sponsors, pure talent, or with support of local federations (and if the federations don´t support young players and keep ther money to themselves, the issue is with them, not the ATP). Sure, some talented players will remain unspotted, maybe even some kid who could be the next Federer. But that´s the way it is, life is not fair. Every year thounsands of smart, talented young people graduate with masters degrees but can´t find jobs and end up unemployed. Life is not fair.
So all in all, it´s a question of market economy and capitalism. Whether those things are good for the society as a whole is a different question, but we´re not talking about health care, social security or education here. We´re talking about young, healhty people who have a choice. THey can do something else with their lives, there are people who are much worse off than guys like FItzpatrick. If they want to keep playing and dreaming of the top 100, sure, go ahead. But then they should find the funding for it themselves.
And for the record, I don´t think they current money distribution is fair, actually far from it. The top guys don´t need more money and the money should spead much more evenly, but the current issue is mostly with challengers, they should receive more. Futures is not the issue.