I was taking a look at the US Open website the other day to see the total prize money was for the 2011 US Open. In my search, I came across a juicy little note at the end of the prize money portion, it reads as follows; “All players also receive per diem payments to help with the cost of accommodations and other expenses.” I had to do a double take on that particular part because it seems so silly that the USTA/ITF offers such a generous handout to the tennis players.
Of course, as a contributor** of the totall US Open prize money, I was in between amused and dumbfounded by the willingness of the tennis authorities who voted to provide this daily per diem for the players. Does Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and the rest of the players’ field really need extra cash travel, eat, sleep, and who knows what else? I don’t think they do at all, because a lot of these players are already millionaires – Federer’s 2011 earnings as of today $2,502,919, Nadal’s $5,250,169, Djokovic’s $7,608,673, and all the way down to the #128 player in the world Donal Young $138,856. Not to mention all the other monies these players earn for their endorsements (Nike, Adidas, Lacoste, Filas, etc.). So, is the per diem too much?
Of course it is, for the top players that is. I support the position of the USTA/ITF to throw a little cash at the way of the qualifiers, the “journeymen” of the circuit, who don’t have the big endorsement and who pay for everything out of pocket. I certianly don’t think that Mardy Fish needs to have his hotel, flight, or food paid for, he can easily afford these necessities to perform to the highest of his tennis ability.
I tried getting in touch with the USTA about the exact amount the per diem is going to be this year, however; I did not get the information that I requested – only because the person I talked to said it had not been published yet. In 2010, the total per diem was roughly, $1,072,000, or $8,375 (or $598 a day) per player for the entire tournament. I’ll keep trying to get this information from the USTA, and I will let you know when I do.
Finally, do I think that the USTA is overindulging the tennis players? Well yes and no, I certainly believe there should be some sort of threshold for who gets this over-inflated daily cash flow. I can’t imagine some of the players actually accepting this handout, especially the players who are already well past the 7 figure earnings for 2011, because frankly, they don’t need it. I do hope that the USTA gives a little more to the players at the bottom of the draw and the qualifiers who are fighting for dear life just to get into the main draw. Or even maybe throw some of this per diem money to some of the home grown American players who can’t afford to get to all the tournaments.
I guess I keep forgetting that professional tennis is a business and becoming less of a sport. Money makes the world go round and makes the tennis balls spin in I suppose.
Do you think the USTA should provide Per Diem?
- Yes, the players need it. (57%, 8 Votes)
- No, the players already make too much money. (43%, 6 Votes)
Total Voters: 14
**My contributions include, USTA membership, USTA cash donations, USTA approved tennis equipment, USTA sanctioned tennis tournaments, USTA tennis balls, and any USTA tennis tournaments I attend as a spectator.