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Old 01-23-2013, 08:11 AM   #1
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Default Fitzpatrick about prize money: very interesting article

again we have a great article about futures prize money, this time by fitzpatrick, futures player from the uk. please guys have a look!!

Quote:
The world's best players are gathering in Melbourne this week ahead of the Australian Open where even the first-round losers will receive record 'prize' money.

But, at least for now, the glamour of Melbourne Park is but a distant dream for British number 13 Andrew Fitzpatrick, ranked 509th in the world.

The 23-year-old, who last year hit the headlines when he was the victim of both an assault and a theft while playing in Vietnam, has joined us for the first in a series of columns to take a closer look at what life as a lower-ranked professional is really like.

A lot has been said about prize money ahead of the Australian Open [organisers have announced big increases for players losing in the early rounds so their large expenses of playing on a global tour can be met] but that's not the lowest standard of tennis.

I play in a lot of Futures tournaments [effectively tennis' third division] where the prize money is often US$10,000 per tournament. That figure hasn't gone up in years. When I've spoken to the ITF about it, their explanation is that the tournaments are called $10,000 tournaments but changing the name is not that hard to do!

In terms of prize money, it's absolutely woeful. If you lose in the first round, you get about £70-80. You don't want to be losing regularly early in Futures - if you are you probably don't have much chance of making it. To make any money you have to be winning every single week.

Last season my prize money totalled just over $12,000. It's not much. The LTA do have a bonus scheme but that's effectively prize money which any UK player can get - I don't get standard funding from them. I recently had to sell my car as I couldn't get through December without doing it which is not good. Now for anything within the UK in 2013 I'm relying on public transport.

Luckily I've got a reputation in England as someone who never pays for accommodation. If I lose first round, I'm the only person to make money doing so! I use the Couchsurfing website and find people who will put me up for nothing - it's all free and I get to stay in their spare room or on their couch. With the level I was at last year, it's fine. In terms of where I want to go to next - 250/300 in the rankings - I'm cutting corners that can't be cut. You need a decent night's sleep, get your hydration right etc. My preparation is not great. That's why I want to secure sponsorship. I'm not saying I would immediately go out and blow it all on hotels but I wouldn't have to cut as many corners. The more professional you are, the better the results will be.

Tennis is a job, whether other people view it like that or not. Other wages go up but prize money at our level hasn't and that doesn't seem to make sense. If I were an official within the ITF/ATP, I'd want more money filtering down to the Challenger and Futures level. I don't think the players at my level are well represented on bodies like the ATP Player Council. The players at the top were at the bottom at one stage, at least some of them, but they've not had to grind it out - many of them sailed through to a high ranking.

At the moment, I play 60-70 per cent in the UK. For the new season I'm starting in Birmingham this week then play my first Futures event of the year in Glasgow. After that it's Preston, then Sheffield. As and when I build up some money then I have a chance of heading overseas.

Last year I borrowed money from a friend to get a flight to Israel and it just so happens it was my best decision of 2012 as I won a Futures event and collected as many points there than in the whole of the previous year.

The way the tour works, if you have money you can have flexibility about where you are going to play, so if you know a load of good players are playing one tournament, you can go to another and have a better chance of winning money and ranking points. However, players in my situation just have to go with it.

I spent much of the recent off-season trying to make as much money as possible. I was working as a temp at Foxtons, the estate agents. I've also been speaking to potential sponsors in London where I've been living with my girlfriend.

The highlight was definitely being a hitting partner for the players at the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 in November. I networked with the tournament director the previous year and it paid off. I was the only official hitting partner and got to hit with [Novak] Djokovic, in fact every player except [Roger] Federer and [Andy] Murray.

As for practice, it's been minimal - a couple of times a week. It's been difficult to fit it in. Money has been more important - and I've certainly not practised as much as I wanted to. Thankfully, fitness has always been one of my strongest points so that's not really been a problem. I've practised with anyone who's been around. I've been in London for the last month or so and I'm good friends with one of the reps from the racquet firm Prince who's a decent player so I hit with him a lot. I haven't had a coach for around two years but this year I'm planning to link up with my old coach, Dan Kiernan, in Spain - at the Soto Tennis Academy that you may have heard of - so I'll see where that leads. Ideally I'd get someone to travel with me but that's not cheap!

source: http://www.sportinglife.com/tennis/n...r-further-down
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:34 AM   #2
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Default Re: Fitzpatrick about prize money: very interesting article

Unless you're Roger Federer racking in 55 Million a year (Djokovic makes half that)

Tennis is not worth it. So unless you find out you are 17 Grand Slam material at an early age then don't waste your life. I bet tons of tennis players are on the streets after their bad tennis careers.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:35 AM   #3
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Very interesting, thanks. It is true that the real money prize problem is in Challengers and Futures, but unfortunately there are not playing players with "huge pressence", anybody with influence in almost any tennis organization, so it is very difficult to change it.

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Old 01-23-2013, 08:39 AM   #4
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Default Re: Fitzpatrick about prize money: very interesting article

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serve&Volley01 View Post
Unless you're Roger Federer racking in 55 Million a year (Djokovic makes half that)

Tennis is not worth it. So unless you find out you are 17 Grand Slam material at an early age then don't waste your life. I bet tons of tennis players are on the streets after their bad tennis careers.
..Or you can have financial assistance from your parents, relatives etc. ala Gulbis. If you don't have one, you're screwed if you don't have serious potential. Tennis is a sport with a lot of lost talent because of this.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:44 AM   #5
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Default Re: Fitzpatrick about prize money: very interesting article

I find this a very difficult topic. On the one hand it irritates me that some people's careers are hampered due to financial problems and unwillingness of the ITF to up the pricemoney at challengers and futures. On the other hand... we need a system that filters the great from the good, and the good from the average. Tennis leagues in all countries support their biggest talents. They can't support everyone who is pretty good at it, as this would cost too much money and will probably cost the real talents. It's the major stars that bring in the money for the ITF/ATP, not the futureplayers.

I feel for Fitzpatick, and I obviously know nothing of his talent or his game, but I think alot of the time the players also need to be realistic with themselves. Maybe they just aren't good enough. A friend of mine was a promising footballtalent, played at Ajax in the juniors. He just wasn't good enough for the top, so he could've played in a lower league, where he'd be scraping by, or he could go to college. He wisely chose the latter. Being a top player is not for everyone
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: Fitzpatrick about prize money: very interesting article

some things i didnt know before reading the article:

he had to sell his car to earn some money
he borrowed money from a friend to travel to israel(and finally won the title)
he uses couchsurfing to get free bed on tournaments
he was the victim of an assault and a theft in vietnam

i mean, this is terrific stuff
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:13 AM   #7
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Default Re: Fitzpatrick about prize money: very interesting article

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jverweij View Post
I find this a very difficult topic. On the one hand it irritates me that some people's careers are hampered due to financial problems and unwillingness of the ITF to up the pricemoney at challengers and futures. On the other hand... we need a system that filters the great from the good, and the good from the average. Tennis leagues in all countries support their biggest talents. They can't support everyone who is pretty good at it, as this would cost too much money and will probably cost the real talents. It's the major stars that bring in the money for the ITF/ATP, not the futureplayers.

I feel for Fitzpatick, and I obviously know nothing of his talent or his game, but I think alot of the time the players also need to be realistic with themselves. Maybe they just aren't good enough. A friend of mine was a promising footballtalent, played at Ajax in the juniors. He just wasn't good enough for the top, so he could've played in a lower league, where he'd be scraping by, or he could go to college. He wisely chose the latter. Being a top player is not for everyone
The big question here is: what is "good enough"? How many players should be able to make a living out of tennis? Nowadays it's difficult even for decent Challenger players (200-300 in the ranking) to break even. I think less than 200 players being able to make a living out of it is way too few.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:16 AM   #8
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Default Re: Fitzpatrick about prize money: very interesting article

its not easy developing your full potential when you are playing thinking: if i lose, i cant afford playing next week another tournament. thats the problem
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:38 AM   #9
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Default Re: Fitzpatrick about prize money: very interesting article

Quote:
Originally Posted by erickmartins View Post
The big question here is: what is "good enough"? How many players should be able to make a living out of tennis? Nowadays it's difficult even for decent Challenger players (200-300 in the ranking) to break even. I think less than 200 players being able to make a living out of it is way too few.
That would be a good place to start. I think the ITF should determine this, and base the system on that. So if they want, say, 500 players to be able to make a living out of it, that means challenger tournaments will need to get a big boost financially, and futures need a smaller one.

It all comes down to how much money those small tournaments can generate, which atm is not too much, barring a few really big challengers.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:50 AM   #10
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Default Re: Fitzpatrick about prize money: very interesting article

Quote:
Originally Posted by erickmartins View Post
The big question here is: what is "good enough"? How many players should be able to make a living out of tennis? Nowadays it's difficult even for decent Challenger players (200-300 in the ranking) to break even. I think less than 200 players being able to make a living out of it is way too few.
But that´s only the pro level. There are other ways to make money as a non-top 200 player. You can become a club coach, play in national leagues and get a usual job in addition to that.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:53 AM   #11
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Default Re: Fitzpatrick about prize money: very interesting article

ITF - "If you're 23 and 509th in the World, either find a real job or find sponsors, we don't have money to waste".

Fair.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:18 AM   #12
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Default Re: Fitzpatrick about prize money: very interesting article

Quote:
Originally Posted by latso View Post
ITF - "If you're 23 and 509th in the World, either find a real job or find sponsors, we don't have money to waste".

Fair.
Fair if you think less than 500 athletes should be able to make a living from pro tennis, of course.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:26 AM   #13
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Default Re: Fitzpatrick about prize money: very interesting article

Very interesting (and sad) article.

ITF changed prize money distribution this year: for example, the winner of 10K Futures now gets $1,440 (was $1,300), while players who lose in R1 get $104 instead of $118 as it was before. So the players who were earning the least will now earn even less.

The whole ITF Procircuit is designed as a selection pool: if a player is good he will move to Challengers and ATPs where he could make decent amount of money; if a player is not-so-good he will eventually have to stop playing due to lack of funds, or he will struggle like Fitzpatrick. It's simply not possible for a player to spend an entire career playing Futures and earn enough money, Futures are not meant for that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jverweij View Post
That would be a good place to start. I think the ITF should determine this, and base the system on that. So if they want, say, 500 players to be able to make a living out of it, that means challenger tournaments will need to get a big boost financially, and futures need a smaller one.

It all comes down to how much money those small tournaments can generate, which atm is not too much, barring a few really big challengers.
This. As much as I agree that the prize money for Futures and Challengers should be increased, I'm afraid it may result in decreasing number of tournaments.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:35 AM   #14
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Default Re: Fitzpatrick about prize money: very interesting article

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Fair if you think less than 500 athletes should be able to make a living from pro tennis, of course.
it's already unwrittenly decided - 250-300

the rest need to be either promissing juniors and get money from their TAs, have solid and patient sponsors trusting them, or just be good enough to make their living. Also the national leagues option is always open, at least 300 players outside top 100 play there and make very decent money.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:44 AM   #15
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Default Re: Fitzpatrick about prize money: very interesting article

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Originally Posted by latso View Post
it's already unwrittenly decided - 250-300

the rest need to be either promissing juniors and get money from their TAs, have solid and patient sponsors trusting them, or just be good enough to make their living. Also the national leagues option is always open, at least 300 players outside top 100 play there and make very decent money.
I was not talking about what it is like AT PRESENT, I was talking about what is your opinion on the matter. If you agree with ITF/ATP that roughly 200 athletes should be able to make a living, then your statement is fair, of course. If you think, I don't know, 2000 athletes should be able to do so, then it's not fair. I was only pointing that the "fairness" of your claim depends on personal opinions.
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