Dustin Brown knows all about the peaks and valleys in the journey to the Top 100.
The 35-year-old Brown, who lived in his camper and strung racquets for spare cash while traveling the Challenger circuit for three years, says lower-ranked players will welcome a relief program to provide financial aid during this coronavirus crisis.
The world No. 239 says financial aid can be a lifeline to keep careers afloat.
“My opinion is it’s a great opportunity that guys that have lower ranking obviously make less money that they can get help,” Brown said after winning both of his matches in in the Tennis Point Exhibition Series in the Rhineland-Palatinate state in Germany. “For me, just thought that if players do pay or if they don’t pay I think everyone they need to decide that for themselves…
“It’s everyone’s choice what they do with their money and who they give it to. I just think that there are a lot of people out there who have potential. And I don’t think that always the best guys and the most talented guys are the ones that make it through.
Australian Open finalist Dominic Thiem publicly opposed a Novak Djokovic-led plan to distribute between $3 and $4.5 million to lower-ranked players.
Thiem says the struggle to rise from tennis’ lower ranks is part of the process all pros face and he doesn’t support the plan, initiated by Djokovic and supported by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, to give money to lower-ranked players trying to survive the sport’s shutdown during this coronavirus crisis.
“I know the Futures Tour and played there for two years. There are a lot of people who don’t give everything to sport,” Thiem told Krone.at sports editor Michael Fall in an interview. “I don’t see why I should give money to such people. I would prefer to donate to people or institutions that really need it.”
Startin In 2004 I Lived In A Camper, Surviving From Week To Week With The Money I Made… Losing First Round In A 10k Was 117,50$ – Tax… Because Of This I Was Also Stringing Rackets For Other Players For 5€ A Pop… If This Would Happend Then, It Would Have Cost Me My Career!! https://t.co/xVPzXTSqIw
— Dustin Brown (@DreddyTennis) April 26, 2020
Three-time Grand Slam finalist Thiem says there are no guarantees in individual sports like tennis.
“None of us top people got it as a gift. We had to fight our way up,” Thiem told Krone.at. “I’m not guaranteed in any profession to make a lot of money at some point.
“No tennis players are fighting for survival, not even the ones down below. Nobody has to starve.”
Brown’s tennis adventure has taken him from today’s exhibition played without fans to his epic Wimbledon upset of Rafael Nadal and virtually everywhere in between. Brown says players will welcome the help.
“I think there is a lot of things that have to fall into place [to make it],” Brown said. “I could still not have made it, still live in a camper. Luckily I did make it. So I think any help those guys can get, they’ll be happy for.”
Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve