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Top players donate, lower tier counts cost of coronavirus shutdown

Novak Djokovic

While top players donate to coronavirus relief efforts and post cooking and workout videos online, lower level professionals are counting the cost of the tennis shutdown with some fearing they will be unable to put food on the table if it lasts much longer.

Novak Djokovic last week pledged one million euros ($1.11 million) to help buy medical equipment in his native Serbia, while Rafael Nadal has called on fellow Spanish athletes to help raise 11 million euros to fight the pandemic.

Roger Federer – the other member of the Big Three of men’s tennis – contributed one million Swiss Francs ($1.05 million) to help vulnerable families in his native Switzerland.

By contrast, Georgia’s Sofia Shapatava, the world’s 375th ranked women’s singles player, has started a petition seeking assistance from the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for lower-level professionals.

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“Not many will be able to support their everyday life and then come back to playing after three months without competition,” the 31-year-old said in her online petition, which has more than 1 350 signatures.

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