In recent days there has been much debate surrounding Dominic Thiem’s sentiments regarding the tennis player relief fund which is aimed at supporting lower ranked tennis players during the Covid-19 pandemic. The world number three has received criticism from the media and athletes alike, including the usually vocal Nick Kyrgios.
The fund which is to be handled by the ATP, is being set up to help players while tennis tournaments have been suspended. World number one Novak Djokovic said that the fund is an attempt to save the future of tennis and to show up and coming players that one can still make a living even during trying time in world sport. The idea of the fund was discussed by the big three, namely Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic who agreed that something needed to be done to help the struggling athletes of their sport. Three times grand slam winner, Stan Warwrinka agreed that the fund was an important initiative that would help safe-guard the future of tennis. After winning the online Mutua Madrid Open, 2013 Wimbeldon champion, Andy Murray posted on social media stating that he would be donating half of his $45 000 prize money to the NHS and the other half to the player relief fund.
Despite this support shown by the tennis community, Thiem went on record saying that he would not follow suit. In an interview with Austrian newspaper, Krone, the Australian Open runner-up expressed that lower ranked tennis players are not “going to starve” and that he would “rather give money to people or organizations that really need it”. Thiem later stated that his opinion may have come across a bit harsh but that he stood by what he had said. He went on to say that not all lower ranked players follow the lifestyle of a professional tennis player and that he would much rather choose who he wants to support. So far, there have been no reports regarding who or which organizations Thiem intends to aid instead. The Austrian star has however shown his support for the Wings for Life World Run non-profit organization on his Instagram account and continues to support the protection of aquatic animals and the oceans.
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