Coronavirus: Boris Becker calls for closed-door matches

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

Boris Becker: 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.   -  Getty Images

German legend Boris Becker urged the tennis authorities to seriously consider playing tournaments behind closed doors in order to save the careers of lower-ranked players. During an Instagram live session with Indian great Vijay Amritraj on Saturday, the six-time Grand Slam winner said that it was time for the multitude of governing bodies – ATP, WTA and ITF – to unite and come up with a relief plan.

“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.”

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Vijay Amritraj: Sponsorships are more important. So it is quite hard to put on a tournament without spectators.   -  R. Ragu

 

While Amritraj shared Becker’s worries, he wasn’t sure if closed-door matches will solve the problem. “While in the US and Europe there are a lot of events where a majority of the revenues come from television, in Asia and the Middle East it is 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. “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 you are going to do with those hundreds who need a living?”

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