Tennis Business : International Tennis Federation implements pay cuts, furlough 50% staff

The International Tennis Federation is putting about half of its staff on furlough and cutting other employees’ salaries because of the coronavirus pandemic. The move includes a 30 percent pay drop in 2020 for ITF President David Haggerty and reductions of 10 or 20 percent for others. Haggerty wrote in an email to the AP on Thursday that the ITF’s finance committee and board “looked at all areas where we felt we could make savings in the short term to be prepared for the return to tennis.”

Haggerty also said that the group’s reserve funds are available to help individual countries’ tennis federations be prepared for tournaments and grassroots efforts once it’s deemed safe to return to competition. The ITF oversees the Fed Cup and Davis Cup, along with hundreds of lower-tier tournaments around the world. The Fed Cup finals this month have been postponed; the Davis Cup finals are scheduled for late November. All tournaments are on hold until at least mid-July.

Haggerty wrote to the AP: “In these unprecedented times, it is hard to predict when we will return to tennis.”

Professional tennis is on hold amid the ongoing public health crisis, with the ATP and WTA suspending their tours until at least July 13.

Last week, the All England Lawn Tennis Club announced the cancellation of this summer’s Wimbledon championships due to the health crisis. It is the first time since World War II that the tennis grand slam has been called off.

The French Open, meanwhile, has been provisionally postponed from May until September.

Andrea Gaudenzi, the new chairman of the ATP tennis tour, has said the Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the need for a more collective model in tennis, suggesting that tennis media rights are too “fragmented” and bemoaning the tendency for tournaments to act unilaterally.