When the Covid-19 pandemic forced North American sports to a standstill and tennis tournaments, a small but meaningful breakup was the way Kristie Ahn performed.
No competition, no money
Kristie Ahn is the world’s 96th ranked female tennis racket. On Thursday morning, she plans to fly from California, where the Indian Wells tournament was delayed due to the coronavirus, to Guadalajara, Mexico, the next lower stop on the WTA Tour. It was not clear until the end of Wednesday to know whether the tennis tournament in Mexico will take place or not because not every tennis tournament in the world is postponed, canceled at breakneck speed.
Finally, the news came to Kristie Ahn that night that the Guadalajara tournament was also likely to be canceled, as an inevitable chain reaction broke the competition system. As a member of the WTA Racket Council, she has a duty to inform as many people as possible, so that they know and cancel their journey.
Before 8 am took off the next morning, Kristie Ahn had enough time to do the same. She booked a flight to New York to return home to New Jersey, seeking a break from the disappointments of the past few days and deciding what to do next.
“When Indian Wells canceled, many racquets expressed their anger on social media: We’re here, we’re ready to play, why not let us play without an audience?” Kristie Ahn said. However, that feeling disappears gradually during the week, when people find that the health of the racquet is more important than all and also because of another concern. That is when they will return to the field and how will they make money?
Here, a tennis tournament is extremely difficult to build a livelihood. The professional racket does not have a salary as in team sports. Their income from competitions is based on their performance in tournaments, from award-less prizes like Guadalajara to top events like Indian Wells and the Miami Open, where they can receive payouts. digits if included in the draw.
For example, in 2019, losing in the first round of Indian Wells, a racket can receive $ 16,425, at the Miami Open is $ 16,425, while at the Australian Open 2020 is $ 55,649.
That said, the racket has a reason to regret after the Indian Wells postponement, then a series of tennis tournaments such as the Miami Open, one of the most important and prestigious tennis tournaments besides the WTA’s Grand Slam 4 tournament system and ATP. According to the ATP, they will postpone the match until April 27 after the announcement of the World Health Organization that the coronavirus has become a pandemic.
Similarly, the WTA, due to the health of the racquets, announced the cancellation of Miami at the end of March and Charleston Open in early April. In fact, at this time there is no women’s tournament until the Stuttgart Open begins. on April 20.
Anxiety can be more lasted
It is still known that the world of sports has stalled because of the Covid-19 epidemic, but in a tennis tournament, a period of non-playing time will bring about major economic troubles that most racquets are facing. Naturally, the longer this period of time, the greater their trouble.
“If you are injured, if you do not play, you will run out of money,” Kristie Ahn said. “I know a lot of racquets are feeling very worried about the financial situation (now). It puts a lot of pressure on us. Even when we come back, we are under pressure because we did not earn. get some money in some weeks and months and we need to play well. ”
While there is no exact statistic indicating that the income that racquets can lose during multiple tennis tournaments are delayed, this number will range from tens of thousands to millions of dollars depending on performance.
Therefore, Kristie Ahn said she hopes WTA will come up with a plan next week to pay for the racket during breaks and reorganize the calendar year. This is not an easy offer when the events are canceled which means WTA also lost a large amount of money. However, if the tennis tournament is not restarted soon, the racquets will not get money to hire coaches and practice, not to mention eating and renting houses.
That is the question not only of Kristie Ahn but of all racquets at the moment. In the future, she will rest a few days at home, recover from a long flight from California and then, she will wonder if it’s worth coming to New York this week to practice at Flushing or should stay indoors. and do the gym itself to stay fit.
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