Pospisil interview

Znak

Professional
Copying and pasting from a fellow redditor (u/anchatol) who transcribed the podcast Pospisil was on. He was quite frank about pay, fed and genie. Thought it was quite interesting!

If you want to give it a listen, link is here: https://www.sportsnet.ca/650/sportsnets-starting-lineup/vasek-pospisil-challenge-making-living-tennis-pro/

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Q: Do you ever feel like—did you break a mirror somewhere along the way where, you know what, just as you really started to find your stride and your momentum, and then you just had some of these little injury setbacks—Milos has kind of had some of the same things that he’s had to deal with—but we’re kind of hitting the golden age for Canadian tennis. Never mind the Nadals, and the Federers, and the Djokovics, and the Andy Murrays, but you guys are really all starting to find your stride, too.

Pospisil: Yeah, for sure, we have a lot of momentum right now. I think tennis in Canada is just kind of booming, you know, to the places that it’s never been.

Q: Why?

Pospisil: I guess various reasons. One I would say: Tennis Canada had hired a French tennis guru guy that was head of development in France, and he came to Canada and he started hiring good coaches, and he started kind of overlooking tennis in Canada, and then in turn, Milos [Raonic] and I kind of came up—Milos first, obviously—to the big leagues, let’s say, of tennis, and then Genie [Bouchard], and I guess it just kind of started a little bit of a momentum, a swing, and that was it, yeah. I guess good coaching, and on TV, other young kids are playing, and suddenly it changes the culture.

Q: It’s become a sport—with you, and Milos, and Shapo [Denis Shapovalov] now—it’s kind of a trendy thing to do. You’re only 28, but you battled so many injuries, and I think we watch tennis—here with the Canucks, oh, Brock Boeser, he takes a long time off, but he’d rather be training right now—so to our listeners, to the average fan, is the sport of tennis much more physical and demanding than we actually think?

Pospisil: I’ll put it this way, tennis is—of course it’s difficult, because tennis is all I know, so I don’t really have much to compare with other sports—but I will say that tennis has a lot of different variables. It’s one of those sports where you need to be physically strong, you know: strength, explosiveness, endurance. You don’t focus on one thing, it’s like you need everything. Plus the season is grueling; you’re playing from the first week of January until mid-November, and then you have two weeks off, and then you go through a rigorous training program. You’re just killing yourself all of December, so you really just have two weeks off, and it’s tough. And then with everything mentally—there’s so many variables in tennis, so it’s definitely a tough sport, and I think it’s one of those that can get overlooked in terms of how difficult it is to sustain. You’re always trying to find this balance between pushing the limits and not pushing too hard.

Q: Well, if you get a little calf strain, it hampers you. You can’t play through it like football players and hockey players who go, “I can play through this.” Or do you play through all those injuries?

Pospisil: Well, that’s the thing—it’s almost like, in a lot of ways, you have to really find that balance. Because unlike the other sports, if you get injured you just stop making money, you stop making a living. You’re not under any contract, so it’s really cutthroat. It’s like, okay, you have a great year, now you’re not signing any contracts—twelve months later what you just achieved is gone. So we have, I guess, no insurance, when you look at it that way, so you really have to be on top.

Q: You’re a results-driven business, unlike where—we were just talking a few minutes ago about hockey players, when you sign a contract, you have a guaranteed contract for guys who can get term, whereas with you, if you don’t show up, you don’t get paid. There is something to be said about that: if you win, you make a lot of money; if you don’t win, you don’t make a lot of money.

Pospisil: Yeah, exactly, that’s the thing—you really have to be, at all times, keeping up and putting full focus on moving along with the trends and trying to be on top of your game, because as soon as you slip 2%, 3%, young guys come up, and then you’re gone.

Q: At what point do you as a tennis player start seeing results financially? Because like you said, we know there’s the really rich—and we know that Djokovic makes his money, we know Nadal and Federer—but at what point does a player on the tour start making money compared to a guy who’s, you know, “Hey, look man, I still got to bank this money, my mom and dad have to help me,” or sponsors, or whatever. At what point do you start seeing that return?

Pospisil: Oh boy, I could talk hours about this. But there are different thresholds for sure, I think, in the sport, where—the sport of tennis has some governing issues for sure, and yeah, the top guys are making a lot of money, and the Grand Slams and these big events, they love to publicize that, they love to, kind of—

Q: The big cheque presentations!

Pospisil: Yeah, and it gives off this view to the general public, like, “Oh yeah, look at this, look at these tennis players, look at how much money they’re making.” But then, for example the Grand Slams, they’re only giving back 7% of revenue to the athletes.

Q: Total? For everybody?

Pospisil: For the men, for the ATP Tour—I’m speaking on behalf of the ATP—so it’s 14% for the athletes: 7% for the women, and then 7% for the men, total prize money. So that’s not a very fair business—

Q: Everybody’s trying to talk 50-50!

Pospisil: Exactly, and the issue is we have no—the players aren’t unified, we’re not united, so we have no leverage on any kind of business negotiations. So it’s just like they pay us what they want, they distribute the prize money however they want. Now going to answer the question: I think if you’re in the top hundred, and you’re playing the main draws of the Grand Slams, you’re able to sustain yourself and you’re making money. But then there’s the issue of your expenses; you have to take care of all your expenses. You have to buy your flights, you have to pay for your coach, your physio, and then at some point, you have to make decisions—well, do I want to have a fitness trainer travel with me and a physio travel with me, it’s X amount of dollars. So it’s not an ideal situation in terms of the difficulty—the amount of effort it requires throughout your whole career and your whole life to make it there, and then the reward isn’t what it should be when you look at actually how successful tennis is financially in these big events

Q: You’re part of the ATP Council, and I think that makes sense. Your individual contractors, where you’ve got the unions—and we see it in all the other sports—it gives them more power. Has it been talk that’s been around for decades, or is this something new where you’re going, “Hey, we now know how much money we’re making. We need to get a part of it because we’re the show.”

Pospisil: Yeah, it’s been a conversation that’s been going on for years, but it’s such a difficult thing to do because it’s a very international sport. It’s an individual sport, there are language barriers—there are so many hurdles to actually be able to do this. Even within our own governing body, even in the ATP, in the bylaws, it’s really not easy to do. They really have done a great job to, I guess, mislead the players over the years to kind of have the monopoly over the tour, over what they do. Lately, there’s definitely been a movement for sure, I think, but it always comes in spurts, because the other thing they do really well is to keep the players uneducated and uninformed on what’s happening. I got elected onto the council, so I’m one of the ten players who are representing all the players on the tour, so I’m really happy that I’m in that position, because I feel like the first step is educating all the players on what’s actually happening, because most don’t even realize it.



...
 

Znak

Professional
.. continued

Q: As long as the rich keep rich—and it’s a little bit of a societal thing, right—how do you get the haves and the have-nots to buy in to say, “Hey, look, we want to evenly distribute the revenue to everybody.” How do you say that to a guy like Novak Djokovic, who’s saying, “I’m making ten million a year. Do I really wanna give back? I kind of like making ten million dollars.”

Pospisil: Well, the funny thing is that most of them are on board. Because it’s not even so much that they’d be redistributing their wealth—they actually even view that they’re not getting enough, so there’s full support all around. I’ve had this discussion with most of the guys, including the top guys, and it’s the general consensus that—and again, we’re not unreasonable, that’s the thing. What’s unreasonable is for somebody 80 in the world that’s barely able to pay for his staff or make a living and has to make decisions that affect his business so that he has a little bit more in his pocket, when you have the other side that’s just really, really—

Q: I don’t wanna get into numbers, but if you’re the hundredth ranked player in the world, are you making a couple hundred of thousands a year?

Pospisil: After expenses, that becomes individual. It’s really hard to say, “Okay, if you’re 80, you get X amount of dollars”, because it depends on how you got up to 80. If you play Challengers, you can get quite a few points, but then there’s very little prize money, so it’s relative to which events you’re playing and making your money. But I would say in general, yeah, players that are 80 to 100, you will leave with—maybe not a couple hundred thousand, but around that.

Q: Considering you’re one of the best top 100 players, you’re number 70 in the world, it seems kind of—think about what the 70th ranked hockey player would make, or the NBA!

Pospisil: What’s tough is, the way we look at it is like—and it’s true of any sport, for sure—but in tennis, pretty much your whole life, from the age of five, you’re creating this product for these events—which is you, which is yourself—and it’s very, very competitive. It’s international, almost every country in the world is in some ways—tennis is not as big in Canada as it is in a lot of other countries.

Q: No, it’s a global sport.

Pospisil: It’s a global sport, and to make it is really not easy. So we just feel like we’re creating this product—we’re the employees and the product for the ATP, or for the ITF, these Grand Slams, and we get 7% back in the Slams, which is not enough.

Q: You said it’s very competitive on the tour. I’m curious: what are the personalities, the rockstars? What’s Roger Federer like? You hear a lot of guys, especially lower ranked guys, that say, “Man, Roger is just the best.” What’s your experience with a guy like Roger, or Djokovic?

Pospisil: Yeah, like—interesting, honestly. I think they’re—in general, they’re good guys. I think Federer is a really nice guy; very pleasant with everybody. He is what you see, I guess, in interviews, so he’s very kind of, you know, charming, nice, very polite with everybody—

Q: And confident!

Pospisil: Yeah! Oh, my gosh—well, that’s the thing—if I’m gonna, you know, sway away from the political correctness for one second, it would be that—yeah, he’s definitely—he really thinks he’s really special.

Q: [laughs]

Pospisil: I mean, but the thing is, it’s okay! He’s Federer! He can think that! You know, it’s like—you know what, okay, we’ll let it slide, because he is who he is, he is the GOAT, so it’s like, he walks around, he prances around, and we’re like, “Oh, look at Roger again.” “Yeah, it’s Roger. We’ll let him do that, he deserves—he’s allowed to.” [laughs]

Q: It’s a dog-eat-dog sport. Do you get along for the most part? Are there guys you avoid? Or do you go, “Hey, play hard, but we’re gonna see a lot of each other every weekend.”

Pospisil: Honestly, yeah, we get along pretty well. I mean, for sure, there are some players that you’re just like, “Oh my gosh, it’s just not even worth being nice to you.” There are a few of those instances, but in general, I would say 95%, everyone’s pretty relaxed. And they have a good head on their shoulders. I think to make it in general in tennis, you need to have a good perspective over things, and one of them is we’re pretty mature. Obviously we’re adults; we know that we’ll compete and that we’ll wanna kill each other on the court, and then we’ll get to the locker room and we’ll make some jokes about something that’s happened. It’s not the same environment as a team sport would be for sure, because on a team you’re joking with your team. Since it’s individual and everybody is your competitor, it’s a little bit different, but it’s very respectable.

Q: It’s about marketing. It’s about getting out there and sponsorships and all that. We first met when you were here for the Odlum Brown [Vancouver Open]. Genie Bouchard played in it this summer. We'd kind of gone off on her like, “Really? She didn’t do much press at all?” But she posted on her Instagram and Twitter and thousands and thousands knew she was here. You partnered with her at the Hopman Cup—I wonder if she’s more about tennis, or more about being a Kardashian? I know you slagged Roger Federer, and I don’t mean to go for Genie Bouchard—

Pospisil: [laughs] Oh, you know what, no.

Q: —but I mean, do you sense that with her? That she’s more about the celebrity than she is a tennis player? How does she balance it?

Pospisil: Yeah, I think she’s in the interesting middle ground—I don’t think she really knows herself, what she really, really wants, and I think that’s maybe one of the issues, because obviously when she came up, she was not a huge star yet—I mean, obviously, you have to first make some big results to become a star—

Q: And then she exploded!

Pospisil: And then she exploded, and she had a great year when she came out. She made the Wimbledon final, and I think it was the Aussie Open final as well, the year before—or maybe the semis, I’m not sure, but I know she had two big Slam results—and she became a huge star. She was young as well, right, so I think you have to be careful with the influences, and I guess, uh—

Q: She’s followed the money trail, though.

Pospisil: That’s the thing—it’s like, well, is she making a huge mistake? I mean, yeah, if you look at it from strictly tennis results and the tennis world, then for sure. But if you look at it in the perspective of “What does she really want?”—everyone has different values, different things they want to do with their lives, so maybe she’s happier that way, you know. It’s tough to say.

Q: And I would think that you obviously have to love a sport to play, especially at this level with just how competitive, and the drive and the training, and for some people, when you get to a certain point, I do wonder if it’s—I’m sure there’s probably moments where you say “it stops being fun” once in a while, right? And from her standpoint—modelling, going to bright lights, big cities—this isn’t as taxing physically. It’s fun compared to, “Come on! Work harder! Push!”

Pospisil: Totally. And that’s the tough part about this profession—it takes such a toll on the social life, right? And suddenly, Genie has—everybody has a social life that they have to look out for, and if you’re thinking, wow, I’m making tons of money and having a lot more fun actually, I’m meeting people—it’s not easy to stay on course and know how it is you wanna go. Even myself, over the years, it requires huge sacrifices. I would love to be with my family, I would love to socialize, go out, have these drinks with people, but it’s like I don’t have that at all, and that’s just the decision I’m making. But yeah, it’s easy to see how somebody like Genie, or people, can get kind of swayed and distracted and go veer off.
 

tacou

G.O.A.T.
If this is accurate it just drives home how LAUGHABLE the "do women deserve equal pay" argument is. Would men rather it change to 8 and 6 percent? Or maybe unify and demand 15% each.

Yeah anyways, 14% of revenue going to players is a joke.
 

oldmanfan

Hall of Fame
If this is accurate it just drives home how LAUGHABLE the "do women deserve equal pay" argument is. Would men rather it change to 8 and 6 percent? Or maybe unify and demand 15% each.

Yeah anyways, 14% of revenue going to players is a joke.
This 14% is probably misrepresented. It's 14% of 'revenue', not 14% of 'net profit after expenses'. There's a huge difference. Has there been any published data on what the actual profits are for the slams? In other words, if the slams spent 33%-50% for expenses/costs/etc., then this 14%-of-revenue compared to the actual profits will end up being 21%-28%, respectively. But this is only for the slams. Many of the smaller ITF events probably break even or more likely take a loss (ITF futures) and are subsidized by the slams' profits. Who will chip in to cover the costs/losses for these tournaments that provide platform(s) for much lower ranked players? Certainly not from the top100 players' pockets.

I'm not saying 14% is the right number (it may/may not be), but it's much more nuanced than what Pospisil is suggesting.

One more thing:

team sports = you get paid to play (salary).
tennis = you get paid to WIN (prize money).

Pospisil seems like a nice chap. But he basically wants to get paid to play AND get paid to win. They're different sporting formats, so it's very difficult to get it right for tennis.

edit: Also, seeing how sparsely attended some of the ATP250/ATP500's are, I imagine that many (if not all) would barely turn a profit if none of the Big4 participated. So with this proposed 'we should get nearly 50% of profits' idea, does that mean that players will agree to play for free for zero-profit tournaments, and the players will take out their check books to 'pay/subsidize' the tournaments that took a loss? Don't think so. All they want is a big cut of the big cake (slams) and take even bigger chunks from the little tournaments too.
 
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Legend of Borg

G.O.A.T.
tennis is all about the have and the have nots

the winners who get it all and the loser who nobody remembers

good luck balancing that equation and trying to be fair
 

Znak

Professional
This 14% is probably misrepresented. It's 14% of 'revenue', not 14% of 'net profit after expenses'. There's a huge difference. Has there been any published data on what the actual profits are for the slams? In other words, if the slams spent 33%-50% for expenses/costs/etc., then this 14%-of-revenue compared to the actual profits will end up being 21%-28%, respectively. But this is only for the slams. Many of the smaller ITF events probably break even or more likely take a loss (ITF futures) and are subsidized by the slams' profits. Who will chip in to cover the costs/losses for these tournaments that provide platform(s) for much lower ranked players? Certainly not from the top100 players' pockets.

I'm not saying 14% is the right number (it may/may not be), but it's much more nuanced than what Pospisil is suggesting.

One more thing:

team sports = you get paid to play (salary).
tennis = you get paid to WIN (prize money).

Pospisil seems like a nice chap. But he basically wants to get paid to play AND get paid to win. They're different sporting formats, so it's very difficult to get it right for tennis.

edit: Also, seeing how sparsely attended some of the ATP250/ATP500's are, I imagine that many (if not all) would barely turn a profit if none of the Big4 participated. So with this proposed 'we should get nearly 50% of profits' idea, does that mean that players will agree to play for free for zero-profit tournaments, and the players will take out their check books to 'pay/subsidize' the tournaments that took a loss? Don't think so. All they want is a big cut of the big cake (slams) and take even bigger chunks from the little tournaments too.
Interesting points! It's too bad there wasn't some possibility of having a league of some sort to allow for contracts. It's gotta be a grind when you're on the come up as a tennis player. I still feel like Olympians have it the worst (depending on your country of course)
 

RaulRamirez

Hall of Fame
.. continued

Q: As long as the rich keep rich—and it’s a little bit of a societal thing, right—how do you get the haves and the have-nots to buy in to say, “Hey, look, we want to evenly distribute the revenue to everybody.” How do you say that to a guy like Novak Djokovic, who’s saying, “I’m making ten million a year. Do I really wanna give back? I kind of like making ten million dollars.”

Pospisil: Well, the funny thing is that most of them are on board. Because it’s not even so much that they’d be redistributing their wealth—they actually even view that they’re not getting enough, so there’s full support all around. I’ve had this discussion with most of the guys, including the top guys, and it’s the general consensus that—and again, we’re not unreasonable, that’s the thing. What’s unreasonable is for somebody 80 in the world that’s barely able to pay for his staff or make a living and has to make decisions that affect his business so that he has a little bit more in his pocket, when you have the other side that’s just really, really—

Q: I don’t wanna get into numbers, but if you’re the hundredth ranked player in the world, are you making a couple hundred of thousands a year?

Pospisil: After expenses, that becomes individual. It’s really hard to say, “Okay, if you’re 80, you get X amount of dollars”, because it depends on how you got up to 80. If you play Challengers, you can get quite a few points, but then there’s very little prize money, so it’s relative to which events you’re playing and making your money. But I would say in general, yeah, players that are 80 to 100, you will leave with—maybe not a couple hundred thousand, but around that.

Q: Considering you’re one of the best top 100 players, you’re number 70 in the world, it seems kind of—think about what the 70th ranked hockey player would make, or the NBA!

Pospisil: What’s tough is, the way we look at it is like—and it’s true of any sport, for sure—but in tennis, pretty much your whole life, from the age of five, you’re creating this product for these events—which is you, which is yourself—and it’s very, very competitive. It’s international, almost every country in the world is in some ways—tennis is not as big in Canada as it is in a lot of other countries.

Q: No, it’s a global sport.

Pospisil: It’s a global sport, and to make it is really not easy. So we just feel like we’re creating this product—we’re the employees and the product for the ATP, or for the ITF, these Grand Slams, and we get 7% back in the Slams, which is not enough.

Q: You said it’s very competitive on the tour. I’m curious: what are the personalities, the rockstars? What’s Roger Federer like? You hear a lot of guys, especially lower ranked guys, that say, “Man, Roger is just the best.” What’s your experience with a guy like Roger, or Djokovic?

Pospisil: Yeah, like—interesting, honestly. I think they’re—in general, they’re good guys. I think Federer is a really nice guy; very pleasant with everybody. He is what you see, I guess, in interviews, so he’s very kind of, you know, charming, nice, very polite with everybody—

Q: And confident!

Pospisil: Yeah! Oh, my gosh—well, that’s the thing—if I’m gonna, you know, sway away from the political correctness for one second, it would be that—yeah, he’s definitely—he really thinks he’s really special.

Q: [laughs]

Pospisil: I mean, but the thing is, it’s okay! He’s Federer! He can think that! You know, it’s like—you know what, okay, we’ll let it slide, because he is who he is, he is the GOAT, so it’s like, he walks around, he prances around, and we’re like, “Oh, look at Roger again.” “Yeah, it’s Roger. We’ll let him do that, he deserves—he’s allowed to.” [laughs]

Q: It’s a dog-eat-dog sport. Do you get along for the most part? Are there guys you avoid? Or do you go, “Hey, play hard, but we’re gonna see a lot of each other every weekend.”

Pospisil: Honestly, yeah, we get along pretty well. I mean, for sure, there are some players that you’re just like, “Oh my gosh, it’s just not even worth being nice to you.” There are a few of those instances, but in general, I would say 95%, everyone’s pretty relaxed. And they have a good head on their shoulders. I think to make it in general in tennis, you need to have a good perspective over things, and one of them is we’re pretty mature. Obviously we’re adults; we know that we’ll compete and that we’ll wanna kill each other on the court, and then we’ll get to the locker room and we’ll make some jokes about something that’s happened. It’s not the same environment as a team sport would be for sure, because on a team you’re joking with your team. Since it’s individual and everybody is your competitor, it’s a little bit different, but it’s very respectable.

Q: It’s about marketing. It’s about getting out there and sponsorships and all that. We first met when you were here for the Odlum Brown [Vancouver Open]. Genie Bouchard played in it this summer. We'd kind of gone off on her like, “Really? She didn’t do much press at all?” But she posted on her Instagram and Twitter and thousands and thousands knew she was here. You partnered with her at the Hopman Cup—I wonder if she’s more about tennis, or more about being a Kardashian? I know you slagged Roger Federer, and I don’t mean to go for Genie Bouchard—

Pospisil: [laughs] Oh, you know what, no.

Q: —but I mean, do you sense that with her? That she’s more about the celebrity than she is a tennis player? How does she balance it?

Pospisil: Yeah, I think she’s in the interesting middle ground—I don’t think she really knows herself, what she really, really wants, and I think that’s maybe one of the issues, because obviously when she came up, she was not a huge star yet—I mean, obviously, you have to first make some big results to become a star—

Q: And then she exploded!

Pospisil: And then she exploded, and she had a great year when she came out. She made the Wimbledon final, and I think it was the Aussie Open final as well, the year before—or maybe the semis, I’m not sure, but I know she had two big Slam results—and she became a huge star. She was young as well, right, so I think you have to be careful with the influences, and I guess, uh—

Q: She’s followed the money trail, though.

Pospisil: That’s the thing—it’s like, well, is she making a huge mistake? I mean, yeah, if you look at it from strictly tennis results and the tennis world, then for sure. But if you look at it in the perspective of “What does she really want?”—everyone has different values, different things they want to do with their lives, so maybe she’s happier that way, you know. It’s tough to say.

Q: And I would think that you obviously have to love a sport to play, especially at this level with just how competitive, and the drive and the training, and for some people, when you get to a certain point, I do wonder if it’s—I’m sure there’s probably moments where you say “it stops being fun” once in a while, right? And from her standpoint—modelling, going to bright lights, big cities—this isn’t as taxing physically. It’s fun compared to, “Come on! Work harder! Push!”

Pospisil: Totally. And that’s the tough part about this profession—it takes such a toll on the social life, right? And suddenly, Genie has—everybody has a social life that they have to look out for, and if you’re thinking, wow, I’m making tons of money and having a lot more fun actually, I’m meeting people—it’s not easy to stay on course and know how it is you wanna go. Even myself, over the years, it requires huge sacrifices. I would love to be with my family, I would love to socialize, go out, have these drinks with people, but it’s like I don’t have that at all, and that’s just the decision I’m making. But yeah, it’s easy to see how somebody like Genie, or people, can get kind of swayed and distracted and go veer off.
Thanks for posting - a good interview.
 

oldmanfan

Hall of Fame
Interesting points! It's too bad there wasn't some possibility of having a league of some sort to allow for contracts. It's gotta be a grind when you're on the come up as a tennis player. I still feel like Olympians have it the worst (depending on your country of course)
Agreed. But this is tennis. I'm not sure how league-tennis will turn a profit, let alone the $3-4 million winners' checks from the slams.

The players that argue for bigger cuts love to compare it to sports like NBA/NFL/FIFA/etc., but it's disingenuous. Why? Well, how many top100 tennis players can realistically be top100 players in the NBA/NFL/FIFA/etc.? Not many, if at all. So the comparison is moot, not to mention they are different sports with different market formats.

As for the women, the WNBA has been taking a loss since inception IIRC. Yet, practically zero top100 WTA players will be anywhere near making the cut for the WNBA, mostly bc WTA players are too short. Again, this makes the comparisons moot.

From that standpoint, ATP/WTA are doing well for themselves. The competition for slots in the NBA/NFL/FIFA/etc. are tough enough. If we added all tennis players to that mix, it will only make it even harder for these tennis players to be picked into the NBA/NFL/FIFA/etc. And this assumes that they are even good enough of a player to be in the draft for the NBA/NFL/FIFA/etc., which most won't be.

ATP/WTA should learn to appreciate what they have. Pushing for more and pushing too hard then it can backfire, as it likely will after the Big4 retires.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
"I mean, for sure, there are some players that you’re just like, “Oh my gosh, it’s just not even worth being nice to you.”

We want NAMES, Vasek, NAMES! :happydevil:

"Yeah! Oh, my gosh—well, that’s the thing—if I’m gonna, you know, sway away from the political correctness for one second, it would be that—yeah, he’s definitely—he really thinks he’s really special."

How arrogant of Fed to go around thinking he's really special! :cool:
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
The players that argue for bigger cuts love to compare it to sports like NBA/NFL/FIFA/etc., but it's disingenuous. Why? Well, how many top100 tennis players can realistically be top100 players in the NBA/NFL/FIFA/etc.? Not many, if at all. So the comparison is moot, not to mention they are different sports with different market formats.
Conversely. None of the top 100 NBA/NFL etc players could be in the top 100 in tennis either.

The whole 100th best tennis player vs the 100th best NBA or NFL player is generally a wayward way to look at it imo. A more accurate way would be to compare the 100th tennis player from the average player on the 100th best NBA or NFL team, not athlete. (which doesn't exist technically so, in lieu of no global team ranking, we have to make a stab at which basketball or football team is the closest to being the 100th best - on average - in the world. Chances are, if you could work it out, hardly anyone would have heard of them and their matches would be very poor attended compared to the top 50. So too, take a look at the average athlete on that team and you'd see how few guys are making big bank).

The biggest different between tennis and other sports is not the chosen cut of revenue, it's that the entire business model is different. In a league situation like the classic "American" sports the whole league is marketed en masse and truly massive advantages exist because of that financially. If every single NBA match had to be marketed individually, effectively from scratch, each year then they would look more like the tennis tour in terms of revenue splits going to teams/players*. Every single tournament in tennis is basically fighting for its time in the spotlight with its own marketing team, budget and expense structure so there's huge wastage compared a league-type business model. That can't be avoided unless tennis became a league-type sport.

(* the travel aspect is also a biggie - league-type businesses have huge financial advantages over tennis here - shorter distances, much long lead times, bulk business efficiency etc)
 
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oldmanfan

Hall of Fame
Conversely. None of the top 100 NBA/NFL etc players could be in the top 100 in tennis either.

The whole 100th best tennis player vs the 100th best NBA or NFL player is generally a way to look at it imo. A more accurate way would be to compare the 100th tennis player from the average player on the 100th best NBA or NFL team, not athlete. (which doesn't exist technically so, in lieu of no global team ranking, we have to make a stab at which basketball or football team is the closest to being the 100th best - on average - in the world. Chances are, if you could work it out, hardly anyone would have heard of them and their matches would be very poor attended compared to the top 50. So too, take a look at the average athlete on that team and you'd see how few guys are making big bank).

The biggest different between tennis and other sports is not the chosen cut of revenue, it's that the entire business model is different. In a league situation like the classic "American" sports the whole league is marketed en masse and truly massive advantages exist because of that financially. If every single NBA match had to be marketed individually, effectively from scratch, each year then they would look more like the tennis tour in terms of revenue splits going to teams/players*. Every single tournament in tennis is basically fighting for its time in the spotlight with its own marketing team, budget and expense structure so there's huge wastage compared a league-type business model. That can't be avoided unless tennis became a league-type sport.

(* the travel aspect is also a biggie - league-type businesses have huge financial advantages over tennis here - shorter distances, much long lead times, bulk business efficiency etc)
I agree with all you've said.

To clarify: I meant that they get what they get per their respective sports. Neither top100 on either side can be similarly ranked had they switched sports, so they shouldn't think that they'd get similar returns. If they were, then they would just swap sports (not realistic, but in theory) and get those benefits themselves, and nobody would say anything.

I read these comparisons from the complaining tennis players and see it as them complaining about how a top100 plastic surgeon being paid differently than a top100 brain surgeon. Sure, they're all surgeons and are all in the medical field, but they do different surgeries (different sports in this case). Not to mention that it's a 'team vs. individual' sports with a completely different way of earning revenue, like you've said.

And as I've stated a couple of post back, there are many smaller tournaments that barely turn up a profit (if at all), but these complainers still loved to walk away with huge (relative) checks had they gone deep. If they get their way of getting closer to the 50% cut, then they should be subsidizing these smaller tournaments' losses, which we all know they won't. Tennis players are independent contractors and are paid by the gig (prize money upto the point they lost), and they're talking about salaries now (insurance of a certain minimum amount)? They're different concepts, so it's one or the other.

Look, I would want for all top1000 players to earn a decent living too, but that's not how tennis works. It's sad, but that's the sport, where the top stars carry the rest and earn the lions share on their way. And to earn these shares, they have to win a lot, and often.

Tennis is too global and too complicated and different. In team sports, the team owns the franchise. The team figures out their own income, and the players are just expenses of that franchise. Tennis players are different. In tennis, the player IS the franchise, and they are the one to figure out their income (by winning a lot and going deep in tournaments) before expenses. They're just different.
 

r2473

G.O.A.T.
tennis is all about the have and the have nots

the winners who get it all and the loser who nobody remembers

good luck balancing that equation and trying to be fair
Maybe. But without Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Serena, nobody makes a dime.

Golfers all bow down and worship Tiger. He made them all rich.

Nobody is paying 10 cents to watch Pospisil play, but he clears over 200K. Doesn’t seem so bad to me. If he was paid for how much revenue he brings in, he’d have to take a shift at McDonalds after his matches.
 

NuBas

Legend
I like Vasek's honestly, not worried to talk about Federer like that. Basically Federer is full of himself and he deserves it. I think I know what he's saying about Roger being Roger, we can go back to when they showed him back stage with Dimitrov watching the Sharapova match on screen waiting to go on out, Roger acted like a fool but that's his personality, a big goof.

I think Vasek will be good for the council or whatever, he can make changes needed.
 

Rabe87

Professional
Pospisil, Djokovic, Anderson and Isner want to hold the Slams accountable and increase the revenue for players ranked 50 and under, whereas Fed and Nadal are being pricks and want to keep it as it is. The ATP chief needs to go and Lord Novak wants him out so they can instill a better business product, Pospisil is exactly right, they're the products, they're the ones people pay to see, they should be getting more than 14%.
 

Rogfan

Professional
I agree with all you've said.

To clarify: I meant that they get what they get per their respective sports. Neither top100 on either side can be similarly ranked had they switched sports, so they shouldn't think that they'd get similar returns. If they were, then they would just swap sports (not realistic, but in theory) and get those benefits themselves, and nobody would say anything.

I read these comparisons from the complaining tennis players and see it as them complaining about how a top100 plastic surgeon being paid differently than a top100 brain surgeon. Sure, they're all surgeons and are all in the medical field, but they do different surgeries (different sports in this case). Not to mention that it's a 'team vs. individual' sports with a completely different way of earning revenue, like you've said.

And as I've stated a couple of post back, there are many smaller tournaments that barely turn up a profit (if at all), but these complainers still loved to walk away with huge (relative) checks had they gone deep. If they get their way of getting closer to the 50% cut, then they should be subsidizing these smaller tournaments' losses, which we all know they won't. Tennis players are independent contractors and are paid by the gig (prize money upto the point they lost), and they're talking about salaries now (insurance of a certain minimum amount)? They're different concepts, so it's one or the other.

Look, I would want for all top1000 players to earn a decent living too, but that's not how tennis works. It's sad, but that's the sport, where the top stars carry the rest and earn the lions share on their way. And to earn these shares, they have to win a lot, and often.

Tennis is too global and too complicated and different. In team sports, the team owns the franchise. The team figures out their own income, and the players are just expenses of that franchise. Tennis players are different. In tennis, the player IS the franchise, and they are the one to figure out their income (by winning a lot and going deep in tournaments) before expenses. They're just different.
You made some valid points but should we/authorities just let Tennis die slowly? I think it’s pretty sad that globally only a couple of hundred players can make a living out of playing a sport professionally. Sure such business model is not going to last too long. No wonder the next gen is so pathetic- parents probably stopped sending their kids to play tennis since 10 yrs ago. Yes it’s hard to compare across different fields/sport but should we just tell the players ‘bad luck’ you/your parents chose this sport for you and just suck it up? I love tennis and I pay my fair share going to tournaments, buying equipments etc and I’d hate to see it struggle after the Big3. The way it is now is already quite frustrating and alarming. ITF, ATP, WTA and whoever else should really sit down and take a hard look the current business model and see if they can come up with something better, for players, tournaments and fans alike.
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
I like Vasek's honestly, not worried to talk about Federer like that. Basically Federer is full of himself and he deserves it....
Federer, probably more than any other athlete on earth who is still competing, has earned the right to be a little bit sure of himself all the time. Virtually everything he does is a sure fire winner for those involved including his pet project, the Laver Cup, and achieving 4 children out of only 2 attempts. :-D
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
He had back surgery a couple of weeks ago and is hoping to be able to start training again in a couple of months. He's suffered from a bad back for years and tried all sorts of different therapies and procedures so hopefully this will finally work.
What kind of back injury is it ? is it just muscle spasm issue or herniated disc ? or something else ?
 

oldmanfan

Hall of Fame
You made some valid points but should we/authorities just let Tennis die slowly? I think it’s pretty sad that globally only a couple of hundred players can make a living out of playing a sport professionally. Sure such business model is not going to last too long. No wonder the next gen is so pathetic- parents probably stopped sending their kids to play tennis since 10 yrs ago. Yes it’s hard to compare across different fields/sport but should we just tell the players ‘bad luck’ you/your parents chose this sport for you and just suck it up? I love tennis and I pay my fair share going to tournaments, buying equipments etc and I’d hate to see it struggle after the Big3. The way it is now is already quite frustrating and alarming. ITF, ATP, WTA and whoever else should really sit down and take a hard look the current business model and see if they can come up with something better, for players, tournaments and fans alike.
It's a tough nut to crack, and the authorities are just being lazy and blinded by the $$ that the Big4 has brought in the last 10-15yrs. So they keep slowing down the sport to benefit them bc they bring in the big bucks.

Just some random thoughts I have after reading your post:
The first issue I see is all of the expenses related to top level ATP tennis, i.e. coaches, physios, better hotels, better foods, better nutrition, etc. It used to be that tennis didn't required so much expenses, and some of those weren't even in the equation. So I wondered what could've been 'a' cause. I suppose string technologies (and to a lesser extent, racquet techs) and the slowing down of the sport with slower courts/conditions are biggies. It is currently at the point where you need to be supreme athletes first and foremost, to be truly competitive. Tennis skills are no longer at the forefront. I mean, look at all the 'better' youngsters/juniors today. Almost all of them play the same cookie-cutter game. It's sad to see, but it's a winning style for today's conditions. Then you have someone like Tsitsipas come along, and everyone acts like they've seen a tennis savior. Yet, all-court players like him used to be fairly common. We don't see that often now bc you can win just as much (or more) by being a baseliner that requires less effort/creativity.

I suppose if the governing bodies really care about tennis-after-the-Big4, they really should look at limiting string/racquet techs AND give true variety to surfaces/conditions so more styles can thrive. Styles that don't require them to be supreme athletes that require a huge team with all those expenses. Who can deny that Laver/J.Mac were amazing players? Yet, if we bring them with their game styles to current day tennis, they'd be eaten alive. Also, current grass/clay/hc that are ALL slow where you can play the same game to win everywhere is not variety. It's all smoke and mirrors that are basically killing tennis skills. In this situation, tennis skills become more of a 'support' role instead of the lead role that it should be. I mean the game IS called tennis, ya know?

It's arguable that volley/net skills are harder to master than ground strokes, but good-to-great volley/net players are easily destroyed by baseliners in current day tennis bc of the proliferation of string/racquet techs. If they limit racquet size to 90sq.in. or 95sq.in., can someone like Nadal or Djokovic dominate everywhere like they have been? Maybe, maybe not. But they sure would need to have different strategies for different surfaces/conditions to do so. If they still could dominate, kudos to them. But the authorities shouldn't act like the lack of restrictions on techs/conditions didn't turn the sport to what it is currently. I'm not sure you know, but in ping-pong, they are very strict. So strict that there are certain paddle glues, yes glue, that are banned from competition. I read that golf banned certain equipment too when they were found to affect results too adversely. Tennis has some restrictions, but it is still too loose with equipment IMO.

The authorities need to restrict equipment AND re-introduce true court varieties where multiple styles can win often. I mean, at one time serve-n-volley players were the majority of slam winners. When was the last serve-n-volley player to have won a slam? Federer in 2003? They need to find a balance bc it's truly a joke right now.
 
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NuBas

Legend
Federer, probably more than any other athlete on earth who is still competing, has earned the right to be a little bit sure of himself all the time. Virtually everything he does is a sure fire winner for those involved including his pet project, the Laver Cup, and achieving 4 children out of only 2 attempts. :-D
I predict a Roger Federer Jr. (no twin this time)
 

icedevil0289

G.O.A.T.
Pospisil, Djokovic, Anderson and Isner want to hold the Slams accountable and increase the revenue for players ranked 50 and under, whereas Fed and Nadal are being pricks and want to keep it as it is. The ATP chief needs to go and Lord Novak wants him out so they can instill a better business product, Pospisil is exactly right, they're the products, they're the ones people pay to see, they should be getting more than 14%.
where did you read that they want to keep it as is? the last i read, which might have been a year ago, fed was saying something about thinking the players should rally together and demand more from slams, he did ofc say it would be a lengthy process but nothing would be done unless players spoke up.

don't remember nadal commenting about it either to be quite honest
 
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icedevil0289

G.O.A.T.
It's a tough nut to crack, and the authorities are just being lazy and blinded by the $$ that the Big4 has brought in the last 10-15yrs. So they keep slowing down the sport to benefit them bc they bring in the big bucks.

Just some random thoughts I have after reading your post:
The first issue I see is all of the expenses related to top level ATP tennis, i.e. coaches, physios, better hotels, better foods, better nutrition, etc. It used to be that tennis didn't required so much expenses, and some of those weren't even in the equation. So I wondered what could've been 'a' cause. I suppose string technologies (and to a lesser extent, racquet techs) and the slowing down of the sport with slower courts/conditions are biggies. It is currently at the point where you need to be supreme athletes first and foremost, to be truly competitive. Tennis skills are no longer at the forefront. I mean, look at all the 'better' youngsters/juniors today. Almost all of them play the same cookie-cutter game. It's sad to see, but it's a winning style for today's conditions. Then you have someone like Tsitsipas come along, and everyone acts like they've seen a tennis savior. Yet, all-court players like him used to be fairly common. We don't see that often now bc you can win just as much (or more) by being a baseliner that requires less effort/creativity.

I suppose if the governing bodies really care about tennis-after-the-Big4, they really should look at limiting string/racquet techs AND give true variety to surfaces/conditions so more styles can thrive. Styles that don't require them to be supreme athletes that require a huge team with all those expenses. Who can deny that Laver/J.Mac were amazing players? Yet, if we bring them with their game styles to current day tennis, they'd be eaten alive. Also, current grass/clay/hc that are ALL slow where you can play the same game to win everywhere is not variety. It's all smoke and mirrors that are basically killing tennis skills. In this situation, tennis skills become more of a 'support' role instead of the lead role that it should be. I mean the game IS called tennis, ya know?

It's arguable that volley/net skills are harder to master than ground strokes, but good-to-great volley/net players are easily destroyed by baseliners in current day tennis bc of the proliferation of string/racquet techs. If they limit racquet size to 90sq.in. or 95sq.in., can someone like Nadal or Djokovic dominate everywhere like they have been? Maybe, maybe not. But they sure would need to have different strategies for different surfaces/conditions to do so. If they still could dominate, kudos to them. But the authorities shouldn't act like the lack of restrictions on techs/conditions didn't turn the sport to what it is currently. I'm not sure you know, but in ping-pong, they are very strict. So strict that there are certain paddle glues, yes glue, that are banned from competition. I read that golf banned certain equipment too when they were found to affect results too adversely. Tennis has some restrictions, but it is still too loose with equipment IMO.

The authorities need to restrict equipment AND re-introduce true court varieties where multiple styles can win often. I mean, at one time serve-n-volley players were the majority of slam winners. When was the last serve-n-volley player to have won a slam? Federer in 2003? They need to find a balance bc it's truly a joke right now.
definitely interesting point. i've been talking the continuous push for a very certain brand of tennis that is very physical based is more or less killing the sport. if you listen to a lot of the younger players atleast as far as I've read, so many talk about just wanting to make sure they are physically fit, which ofcourse in any sport is important or one of the most important things no doubt, but it often seems very much skewed to teh physical aspect and less so about tennis abilities.

i still think in terms of prize money something has to give and the people running the tournaments are being greedy. it is unfortunate vicious cycle, that obviously the better you do and further you get, the more money you make, but there are so many factors that are making it harder and harder for players to break through so its like when will they get teh chance or when will those below 50 be able to rise.
 

vernonbc

Legend
where did you read that they want to keep it as is? the last i read, which might have been a year ago, fed was saying something about thinking the players should rally together and demand more from slams, he did ofc say it would be a lengthy process but nothing would be done unless players spoke up.

don't remember nadal commenting about it either to be quite honest
Nadal has said A LOT about it. He's been very vocal about making various changes to tennis and being very unhappy with the status quo, going back years including when he was on the players council himself. He's been fighting for more money for the lower ranked players for years as well as any number of other issues. Fed has always leaned more towards the management side of tennis issues rather than the players and as head of the council, HE was the one that was supposed to be speaking up.

Players like Rafa and Roddick and Murray and numerous others have been agitating for years but as long as they settle for an organization comprised of both tennis owners and tennis players to run things, the players will never get anything resolved. They need a players union that looks after their interests, not the tournament directors. Good for Vasek for being active and speaking out.
 

Rabe87

Professional
where did you read that they want to keep it as is? the last i read, which might have been a year ago, fed was saying something about thinking the players should rally together and demand more from slams, he did ofc say it would be a lengthy process but nothing would be done unless players spoke up.

don't remember nadal commenting about it either to be quite honest
Did you not read about the issues Fed, Nad were having with the Council as they wanted to keep the current CEO and Djok's voting bloc didn't? Google.
 

Rabe87

Professional
Pospisil has a point, yes people aren't necessarily playing to see *him* on the big stage but they're paying to see one of the top stars have a *competitive match* against someone like a Pospisil. That's the point of his argument, all tennis players are products and the ATP and the ITF need to step it up and pay a fair wage considering the revenue they generate is enormous, and if there ever was a player mutiny it'd probably be at Miami this year, I hope half of the top 100 boycotts it and then we'll see how much it generates at its whizzbang new stadium.
 

icedevil0289

G.O.A.T.
Did you not read about the issues Fed, Nad were having with the Council as they wanted to keep the current CEO and Djok's voting bloc didn't? Google.
Lmao I did Google and as far as I know fed never mentioned anything about whether he wanted to keep current CEO or not, just that he needed more info on what was going on I mean a lot of it is very vague but w/e
 

icedevil0289

G.O.A.T.
Nadal has said A LOT about it. He's been very vocal about making various changes to tennis and being very unhappy with the status quo, going back years including when he was on the players council himself. He's been fighting for more money for the lower ranked players for years as well as any number of other issues. Fed has always leaned more towards the management side of tennis issues rather than the players and as head of the council, HE was the one that was supposed to be speaking up.

Players like Rafa and Roddick and Murray and numerous others have been agitating for years but as long as they settle for an organization comprised of both tennis owners and tennis players to run things, the players will never get anything resolved. They need a players union that looks after their interests, not the tournament directors. Good for Vasek for being active and speaking out.
And yet if I'm not mistaken I remember reading about how Jamie murray thanked fed for being able to increase prize money at the slam level and had stated he was the one who was able go get more money for the first few rounds, challengers etc and has been vocal in the past about tournaments keeping more money than they should so there is a bit of revisionist history. Obviously more work needs to be done but this idea that he didnt do anything behind the scenes, nah. I feel like people really don't know what he did or didnt do as part of the council just because he wasnt outwardly vocal. Fed ofc has been careful about what he says regarding issues with atp and tournaments ofc but has spoken up about fighting for prize money and all that so yeah

Yeah I'm aware of some of the issues nadal has been fighting for including that 2 year ranking system, including changes to the schedule. This is ofc not to say he didnt fight for lower ranked players but I am aware of changes he has advocated through out his career and idk ic I wholly believe this narrative of fed sitting on top by himself not caring while everyone else does when players and have said the opposite.
I def am glad popisil is speaking up though
 
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Rabe87

Professional
A two-year ranking system jesus, it's too long as is, then we get hacks like Tennys Sandgren being ranked in the top 40 for a year thanks to 1 Slam, thankfully he's back down to the mid 70's now.
 

BHud

Hall of Fame
"I mean, for sure, there are some players that you’re just like, “Oh my gosh, it’s just not even worth being nice to you.”

We want NAMES, Vasek, NAMES! :happydevil:

"Yeah! Oh, my gosh—well, that’s the thing—if I’m gonna, you know, sway away from the political correctness for one second, it would be that—yeah, he’s definitely—he really thinks he’s really special."

How arrogant of Fed to go around thinking he's really special! :cool:
How arrogant...and he didn't even earn it! Probably will go down as just another journeyman?
 

smash hit

Professional
And yet if I'm not mistaken I remember reading about how Jamie murray thanked fed for being able to increase prize money at the slam level and had stated he was the one who was able go get more money for the first few rounds, challengers etc and has been vocal in the past about tournaments keeping more money than they should

Davydenko didn't thank Federer,

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP)—Roger Federer’s reticence to join other players in voicing complaints about issues affecting the men’s game came under fire again at the Australian Open on Monday.

Former No. 3-ranked Nikolay Davydenko said he didn’t understand why the 16-time Grand Slam champion wasn’t supporting the push to address player grievances, including the schedule and the distribution of prize money.

Davydenko’s remarks came a day after Rafael Nadal criticized his Swiss rival for sitting back while others speak out and “burn themselves.”

“I don’t know why Roger is not supporting the players,” Davydenko said. “Because he don’t want … any problems. He’s nice guy. He’s winning Grand Slams. He’s from Switzerland. He’s perfect.

“He don’t want to do anything, he just try to be an outsider from this one.”
http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2012/01/davydenko-like-nadal-discusses-federers-stance/33795/

I seem to remember it was Nadal as vice president of the players council, along with others who was lobbying for the prize money to be more evenly distributed. He even suggested that if that meant himself getting less, then so be it.
 
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