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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Australian journeyman tennis player Andrew Harris has hit out at tennis organising bodies – and some of the sport’s biggest stars – over their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

World number 204 Harris, has labelled the lack of communication and transparency from the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) hierarchy “really frustrating” and accused its leader of “actually insulting”, “condescending”, and “tone-deaf” behaviour.

The 26-year-old also took aim at elite players like Players Council chief Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer over their lack of effort towards supporting lower-level players, accusing Federer of being “all for the money at the top”.


The ATP tour has been thrown into disarray due to the spread of COVID-19, with the scheduled return to action in tournaments like the US Open still facing significant uncertainty.

And Harris says there’s been a concerning lack of communication with players over the plans for the Grand Slam to take place between August 31st to September 13th.

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Speaking on the Break Point podcast, Harris said: “We had a Zoom call three weeks ago now, it was the first bit of communication we had from the ATP since coronavirus hit in March. It was good that we finally got some communication, but it took way too long.
“On the Zoom call, there were 400 people, all different groups: the top 100 guys, guys in the Challengers and guys 400 and below in Futures. Everyone had their own different interests … It was a bit messy with groups of different people wanting their own thing. I left that call getting nothing out of it except more questions and being more frustrated.”
“They said that the deadline for the US Open decision was in five days. That was the first communication we had, and they’re making a big call like that five days later, for the first time, before anyone’s even heard anything. That was really frustrating and everyone was voicing their concerns.”
Like many players, Harris has resorted to waiting for updates on the internet.
“James (Duckworth) found out through Twitter, and I’m the same. It’s pretty bad … I’m honestly just finding out my information online.”
Australian Andrew Harris has taken aim at Roger Federer.
Australian Andrew Harris has taken aim at Roger Federer.
Harris also took aim at the head of the ATP, former Italian tennis player Andrea Gaudenzi, accusing him of dismissing the concerns of players.
“He was pretty condescending on that Zoom call,” Harris said.
“You haven’t been transparent with any of the players. No one outside the top 100 knows what’s going on.”
He also accused Gaudenzi of not taking a pay cut while the tour is in shutdown.
“His justification was because they’ve been working twice as hard.
“He said something like, ‘after a day’s work with what I’ve been doing, it feels like I’ve played a five-set match’, something along those lines. I was like, that’s actually insulting, that as a reason to not take a pay cut.
“He was a player so you would think he would have a bit more understanding instead of being so tone-deaf.”
Harris joined the ongoing calls for tennis to better distribute prize money so lower-level players can make a living from the sport, and slammed stars like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for not using their influence in the Players Council to push for equality.
“The general public don’t have any idea of the discrepancies in prize money and the distribution of wealth right up the top. There’s got to be a structure where there’s more than just 100 guys making a living in a global sport … after that, we’re pretty much losing money.
“I think we need a system where we can support 300 players where the 300th-best player in the world can earn an income to support themselves. It’s definitely skewed to the top but the governing bodies need to do more to help the guys outside the top 100 because there’s still a bloody good level outside the top 100. It’s just about getting the opportunities and taking them to get to the next level.”

Could Novak Djokovic lose his council role?


Harris said: “Roger, Rafa and Novak. They’ve been at the top for so long, they almost forget what it’s like to be in these lower positions. I know Federer is all for the money at the top. He might say in public what people want to hear, that he’s all for money being redistributed to lower-ranked players … but when it comes to voting, his preference is to keep it at the top.
“I think Novak out of the top three is pushing the agenda to give money to the lower ranks hardest. (I’m unsure) whether that’s enough, but out of those three, I think he’s doing the most. It doesn’t affect them so they’re not that invested. At world no. 1 or 2, you’ve got so much going on. Novak didn’t even join the Zoom call … He’s head of the Player Council and he’s not even on the call, didn’t show his face. There were images of him playing soccer at the same time. That’s pretty ordinary.”
 

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lol....who cares about random players?
 

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Andrew Harris - you are not a tennis player. You are a human being. You are not genetically required to play tennis. You can do anything.

You can be an astronaut. You can work in a bakery. You can become a TV newsreader. You can sweep the streets. You can be a lifeguard. You can take accountancy qualifications. You can work in McDonald's. You can start your own business.

If you don't like the money in tennis, get better or do something else. You play a ballgame for a living FFS! Stop f*cking moaning!
 

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Andrew Harris - you are not a tennis player. You are a human being. You are not genetically required to play tennis. You can do anything.

You can be an astronaut. You can work in a bakery. You can become a TV newsreader. You can sweep the streets. You can be a lifeguard. You can take accountancy qualifications. You can work in McDonald's. You can start your own business.

If you don't like the money in tennis, get better or do something else. You play a ballgame for a living FFS! Stop f*cking moaning!
Best post ever about this.
 
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Andrew Harris - you are not a tennis player. You are a human being. You are not genetically required to play tennis. You can do anything.

You can be an astronaut. You can work in a bakery. You can become a TV newsreader. You can sweep the streets. You can be a lifeguard. You can take accountancy qualifications. You can work in McDonald's. You can start your own business.

If you don't like the money in tennis, get better or do something else. You play a ballgame for a living FFS! Stop f*cking moaning!
Um, sure, but that doesnt mean the price money can't be distributed more evenly, to make tennis a more attractive sport.

We all know he technically doesnt have to.

Get better isn't a valid suggestion. He could get better and stay #202, if everyone simply "gets better". It wont improve his money at all.
 

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What I would expect from the ATP regarding the money distribution is more financial support to juniors and younger up-and-coming players. 25+ years old journeymen, if anything, block talents from faster breakthrough so I'm not sure they need extra motivation especially at challenger/ futures level.
 

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As I've said elsewhere, it's clear Djokovic did more to try to help lower ranked players than Fedal (not saying much), so it's a shame that at this point he's clearly a goner. Totally his own fault of course, but unfortunate in a way. Hopefully Harris or someone like him is the next leader, not a top player who likes the money distribution the way it is.
 

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Um, sure, but that doesnt mean the price money can be distributed more evenly, to make tennis a more attractive sport.

We all know he technically doesnt have to.

Get better isn't a valid suggestion. He could get better and stay #202, if everyone simply "gets better". It wont improve his money at all.
We've had this discussion countless times.

People don't want to watch the world number 204 play the world number 173. They want to watch the top players. Those are basic market values.

I'm a freelance writer. There is no point in me complaining about the fact that I don't make as much money as J.K. Rowling. People value J.K. Rowling more highly than me. It's as simple as that.

We've also discussed this guy Harris before. He is currently the world number 204. He's never been in the top 150. He's only ever played one match on the ATP Tour, and that was due to a wildcard at the Australian Open. He got stuffed out of sight in the first round. He's not good enough.

Yes, there needs to be a trickle down so that tennis is a viable sport. But no-one owes this guy Harris a living, just because he'd rather play tennis than do a more menial job.

I managed to make a moderate success out of my career, and I'm highly fortunate that I can work for myself, from home. I've bought a little house in the country, I feel blessed. The way that I achieved that was sheer determination. Working 365 days per year. Every f*cking day. And I loved it because it was the only thing that I've ever wanted to do.

What I didn't do, and what you shouldn't ever do, is expect other people to give you handouts. If I'd failed, and not made enough money from writing, I would simply have had to accept that it was because I wasn't accomplished enough. I wouldn't have claimed that some of the top writers should subsidise my career because I am a writer, that's my identity, and I can't possibly do anything else.

The snooker player, Neil Robertson, who is also Australian had this experience:

He remembers standing in a queue at the local job centre in Melbourne at the outset of 2003 with no job, no qualifications and three failed attempts behind him on the UK-based professional tour. He was facing the grim reality that his time dedicated to snooker truly was the sign of a misspent youth.

“I was in the queue at the job centre. I had no other option. I didn’t have any qualifications having left school at 15,” Robertson told Eurosport.

“I didn’t really want to do anything, and didn’t know what I was going to do. I remember being in there, and there was this guy kicking off at the counter because they weren’t going to pay him.

“I don’t know what the system is over here, but you have to do 10 job interviews over two weeks. He was kicking off, swearing, saying f*** this, f*** that.

“I was like: “Oh my God, is this my life ahead?”
Maybe Harris needs a bit of that so that he can wake up to himself.
 

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Once again, one day when I am Czar of Global Tennis, I will make all this right

We will bring the governing bodies together and lock them in a room until the deal is made. No food, nothing. Until the deal is made.

As for the deal, we will be selling Sportradar and other company data to betting companies as we already do, and use that money to increase futures and challengers money. It is a lie to say no one wants to watch those matches. Then why is there a $70 million dollar data deal if no one is watching? Doesn't add up. I'm not saying a guy 1000 in the world should be driving a Ferrari, I'm saying 1000 in the world should not have to worry about whether he has enough to travel and play next week. 1000 in the world should make 30k/year at least. Let's start with that goal and move up. Also, every tournament should provide hospitality as well as live streaming for every single match. Throw a $100 camera on the fence and let's fucking go.

Then, we increase the reach of the Tennis Channel from 1% of homes where you need 10 different special fucking packages to see it. Fuck that. Put that shit on basic cable. ABC, NBC, ESPN, Tennis Channel. I want everyone to be able to watch Tennis Channel at all times. If Tennis Channel is fuckin' up, which they are, then fuck 'em. We'll make our own TV channel with global reach, and easy set-up. Stop making it so damn difficult to find the channel to watch the game.

Thirdly, better tennis journalism. For fuck's sake. I'd hire a number of MTF posters to work on my channel to provide fun commentary, trolling, etc. People like fun, people want to laugh, people want to enjoy themselves. Sure there will be hard hitting tennis analysis, but also fun and jokes.

So those are my ideas, right from the top of my head. Much more constructive than assholes saying "well you just need to get better". We need to improve the system as a whole. #200 in the world in anything should not struggle for money. That's not because he's not good enough, it is because the organization has failed any player outside top 100. We need to market the players differently, we need to broadcast the game differently, we need idiot commentators to shut the fuck up when they insult a guy #50 in the world as if he's nothing and no one. Well no wonder the people have no respect for lower ranked players when the commentators just talk shit all the time. Fucking idiots. Anyway.

I'm Johnny Groove and I approve this message
 

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Disgusting bigotry, xenophobia, racism and anti-Swiss propaganda!
 
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Why wouldn't he ?

He is heading towards his first billion $ and it would be much harder to accomplish it by going against the (ATP, ITF, sponsors etc.) grain.
 

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One guy out of hundreds comes to say Federer isn't a nice guy. Djokotards in the thread:


Which is fun because this is a figurative comparision, but could also be literal, you know, because Novaxx
 

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No matter what other players think of Federer, he has put more money into their pockets than they otherwise would have received. It’s the superstars that draw the crowds, the TV ratings, and, ultimately, the sponsors with the big money. True, much of it doesn’t trickle down, but as several have suggested, get better and get more.

If anyone remembers the NBA when Jordan retired, you know what happens to a star-driven sport when it loses a superstar.

Added: The top guys are generating most of the money so why shouldn't they get it? It's not a charity.
 

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What I would expect from the ATP regarding the money distribution is more financial support to juniors and younger up-and-coming players. 25+ years old journeymen, if anything, block talents from faster breakthrough so I'm not sure they need extra motivation especially at challenger/ futures level.
The ITF already tried doing this with the transition tour but then received a lot of backlash from players and the plan was scrapped. The issue with this is it ignores potential late bloomers who need enough money to sustain themselves before eventually reaching the higher levels of the game.

My own grievance with Harris' point here is that nobody involved in this conversation can hide their self-centeredness. He says, “we need a system where we can support 300 players where the 300th-best player in the world can earn an income to support themselves." Why just 300? Why not 500? Is there a huge difference in quality between someone ranked #300 and someone #500? My guess is it's because he's ranked #203 and desires that stable income for himself. If journeymen aren't fighting for other journeymen then nothing is likely to change.
 

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Yes the money distribution is terrible and needs to improve big time. I mean in other sports like football or basketball, dogshit players are still havin fuckin million dollar contracts whereas people in the top 500 of the whole goddamn world in tennis can’t even make a living. Having said that, Harris needs to stop bitchin about Federer and Djokovic as they’ve been trying to help and he needs to get a good chunk of players to pressure the ATP to distribute the money better.
 
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