Tennis

Boris Becker pleads for resumption of tennis matches

Divergent views: While Boris Becker believes TV revenue will tide things along, Vijay Amritraj stresses on the need to raise sponsorship.  

German legend Boris Becker has urged tennis authorities to seriously consider playing tournaments, behind closed doors, in order to save the careers of lower-ranked players.

In an Instagram live session with Indian great Vijay Amritraj on Saturday, the six-time Grand Slam winner said it was time for the multiple governing bodies — ATP, WTA and ITF — to unite and come up with a relief plan.

Time for unity

“Most tennis players outside the top-50, male or female, need the weekly pay cheque,” Becker said.

“For 30 years, the ATP, the WTA and the ITF have never agreed with each other and only worried about their own tournaments. But now everybody is in the same boat and struggling. It is an opportunity of a lifetime to bring everybody together.

“Tennis is one of the few sports that can be held without spectators. It is not ideal, but most tennis players need to make a living. If everything is cancelled for the next few months, half the players will have to look for other jobs,” he said.

While Amritraj shared Becker’s worries, he wasn’t sure if closed-door matches would solve the problem.

“While in the US and Europe there are several events where a majority of the revenue comes from television, in Asia and the Middle East that’s not the case. Television is not as big a money-spinner in tennis,” he stated.

“Sponsorships are more important. So it is quite hard to put on a tournament without spectators.”

Becker, however, felt that a few exceptions had to be made.

“If there is a match on right now, the whole world will watch and television revenue will come in,” the German said.

Income threatened

“If I were in charge, I would definitely try and have the US Open. I know the situation is not right in New York and I hope things get better.

“But if the US Open doesn't happen, the rest of the tennis season may well be cancelled. What are you going to do with those hundreds who need a living?” he asked.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 8:40:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/boris-becker-pleads-for-resumption-of-tennis-matches/article31382900.ece

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