The coronavirus crisis has shut down pro tennis and crippled the tennis industry.
The USTA announced another shot of relief today.
The Tennis Association announced phased two of their aid package will feature financial aid to teaching pros and tennis facilities.
“We recognized helping tennis facilities, community tennis programs, and teaching professionals navigate the multitude of government grants and loans was of immediate importance,” said Mike Dowse, CEO and Executive Director of the USTA. “The foundation of our sport begins with these stakeholders and we need to ensure they can weather the storm and remain viable as the storm recedes.
“This is all about ‘relief, recovery and rebuild’ for our industry.”
For this second phase of support, the USTA announced it will offer economic aid packages, increased support to navigate government assistance for facilities and coaches, access to industry leaders, daily educational webinars and in-the-moment phone support to help individuals emotionally impacted from COVID-19.
The extent of this future support will be “determined by the financial performance of the 2020 US Open and the impact that the current pandemic has on the event,” the USTA said in a statement.
The US Open is scheduled for August 31st-September 13th, however with New York City the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis the Open’s status is undetermined.
The USTA will make a decision on whether to stage the Open in late June.
“The USTA’s plans to stage the tournament remain ongoing, and all decisions regarding the US Open will be guided by federal and local governmental agencies and the health and safety of the players, fans, partners, and the broader tennis community,” the USTA said in a statement.
USTA staffers have taken pay cuts and funds allocated for player development, marketing and operations have been slashed helping raise $20 million for phase two of its program, Dowse told the media in a conference call today.
“On top of that we made a top priority of committing $35 million to our 17 sections, 17 sections that make the best decisions because they’re the closest to the local providers,” Dowse told the media. “We didn’t want to have all that money centralized, we wanted to decentralize it as quickly as we could.
“In totality we’ve put $50 million to this initiative. We’re in Phase II now. As we move into Phase III, we’ll be focusing on growing the game again and also working with our peers at the ATP, WTA, Grand Slam boards, ITF. We’re working closely with them to put a package together for lower-ranked tennis professionals on both the ATP and WTA Tour, as we know they have suffered significant financial hardship during this period as well.”
For more on the USTA’s iniative and specific information about key steps to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.tennisindustryunited.com.
Photo credit: USTA Facebook