Serena’s coach says ‘revolting’ that players can’t make a living

NEW YORK - Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou has called on tennis governing bodies to come together and devise a way of helping lower level professionals struggling financially due to the coronavirus shutdown. The tennis season was halted in early March due to the pandemic, leaving players in the lower tiers who solely depend on tournament winnings without the opportunity to earn a living. In a letter posted on Twitter and addressed to the tennis community, Mouratoglou said the current situation showed how “dysfunctional” the sport was. “Unlike basketball or football players, tennis players aren’t covered by fixed annual salaries. They’re independent contractors,” he said. “They’re paying for their travels. They’re paying fixed salaries to their coaching staffs, while their own salaries depend on the number of matches they win.” While tennis rewards top players handsomely those in the lower echelons often struggle to make ends meet. Mouratoglou, who started working with Williams in 2012 and has guided her to 10 of her 23 Grand Slam singles titles, said the top players deserved everything they earned. “However, I find it revolting that the 100th-best player of one of the most popular sports in the world – followed by an estimated one billion fans – is barely able to make a living out of it,” the Frenchman said.

South Africa to put fitness clauses into player contracts

CAPE TOWN - Cricket South Africa (CSA) will introduce fitness clauses into player contracts in the future in a bid to set minimum standards for selection, national team coach Mark Boucher said on Wednesday. It follows a special fitness camp for four players held in January that cast their international futures in doubt, as well as fears that a strict 21-day lockdown in South Africa could leave a number of other players below the required standard. All-rounders Sisanda Magala and Jon-Jon Smuts, spinner Tabraiz Shamsi and fast bowler Lungi Ngidi were all placed in what was termed a special ‘high-performance fitness and conditioning camp’. With South Africa in lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has led to a clampdown on exercising outside the house, Boucher admits players will have to take responsibility for maintaining their fitness levels. “Guys need to keep up their fitness because we will be inserting new fitness clauses in contracts,” Boucher confirmed via an audio statement released by CSA. “In the recent past we have seen that players who are not fit enough don’t get selected. They are professionals and they need to do what they have to do.”