John Millman hits out at ‘warped’ pay gap, saying ‘it’s a bit laughable’ that only top 100 players make money

John Millman gestures

John Millman insists that tennis has to do better when it comes to narrowing the pay gap between the top players and those ranked outside the top 100.

With tennis on an enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic, many of the lower-ranked players are struggling to makes ends meet as they are dependent on prize money.

ATP Player Council President Novak Djokovic announced over the weekend that he spoke with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal about coming up with a plan on how “we can contribute to help lower-ranked guys who are obviously struggling the most”.

‘We have to show them they are not forgotten’ – Novak Djokovic reveals plans to help financially-hit players

The players hope to raise about $3-4.5m (£2.4m to £3.6m) to help those in need, but Millman highlighted the big pay gap as he believes some players would be better off depending on government schemes during the pandemic.

“I don’t think that’s far-fetched at all,” he told AAP when asked about players relying on governments.

“There would definitely be players making more money in this time now by not playing – and players who are not necessarily struggling in terms of their ability either.

“It’s not a secret – and I’ve made it pretty clear – that I think the (tennis) pay distribution has always been a bit warped.”

He continued: “For the standard of tennis that’s out there and for the amount of countries that play competitively and for how big the product of tennis is – because it is a big product, especially globally – the fact that 100 people in the world make money it’s a bit laughable, to be honest.”

While the biggest names in the world of tennis live comfortable and often glamorize lives, it is a different story for those outside the top 100.

“That’s something the public aren’t as privy to. They don’t quite get it that we are paying for everything,” Millman said.

“That’s with a coach, travel, hotels. It’s all off your back. You’re paying for all your expenses as a tennis player.

“Once you’re outside the top 100, start looking at the prize money and then start adding up what’s involved to live for that year on tour and what’s involved to invest in yourself as a product.

“You start to realise how little money you’re making.”

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