The four Grand Slam tournaments and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) have joined forces to support wheelchair tennis by pledging over USD 300,000 (EUR 268,500) in financial support.
The fund will provide grants to help Para 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.
So far, 88 ITF-sanctioned wheelchair tennis events have been postponed or cancelled since the ATP, WTA and ITF tours were suspended on 12 March. That includes the BNP Paribas World Team Cup, Roland Garros and Wimbledon. The UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour is currently suspended until 31 July in alignment with other professional circuits.
Wheelchair tennis players who earned less than USD 100,000 (EUR 89,500) 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.
The 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.