LONDON: The four Grand Slam tournaments and the ITF have come together to pledge over $300,000 in financial support for wheelchair tennis.
The fund will provide grants to help wheelchair athletes and national association event hosts impacted by the suspension of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour and postponement of major wheelchair tournaments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To date, 88 ITF-sanctioned wheelchair events have been postponed or cancelled since the ATP, WTA and ITF tours were suspended on March 12, including the BNP Paribas World Team Cup, Roland Garros and Wimbledon. The UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour is currently suspended until July 31 in alignment with other professional circuits.
Wheelchair tennis players who earned less than $100,000 in prize money in 2019 ranked inside the Top 20 of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour rankings in the men’s and women’s open division, and the Top 15 in the quad division, will be eligible to apply for a grant.
This fund follows the announcement of the Player Relief Programme, a similar joint initiative of tennis’ seven major stakeholders, which will provide financial support to approximately 800 ATP/WTA singles and doubles players.
The ITF remains grateful to long-term sponsors of wheelchair tennis UNIQLO, NEC and BNP Paribas, whose support during these unprecedented times is hugely appreciated.