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Tennis’ Real Problem? The Grand Slams, says Wawrinka

The Swiss gave his honest opinion on the state of the sport in an interview with L’equipe. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday November 21, 2023

Airing out his opinions on the state of tennis in an exclusive interview with L’équipe, three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka gave scathing commentary and aired out his frustration with the manner in which sport is currently governed. The main divisive entity? The Grand Slams…

Wawrinka believes that the four Grand Slams are sabotaging tennis by not uniting in the name of increasing the quality of life for all players on tour.

“They do not redistribute enough to tennis compared to the income they generate,” said the 38-year-old Swiss. “And they have way too much power, because they make [so much] money.”

Stanislas Wawrinka milite pour que les tournois majeurs redistribuent plus d’argent au monde du tennis tout en souhaitant que les joueurs soient plus intégrés dans les processus de décisions. Avant d’en arriver à une situation de blocage >

— L’ÉQUIPE (@lequipe) November 21, 2023

Make no mistake about, says Wawrinka, the Slams are the most important events in the sport. But they need to take a more holistic view of the landscape and stop being so selfish, he says.

Wawrinka acknowledges that the Slams have increased pay to qualifiers and early-round losers significantly over the years, but still asserts that the four majors do not allow players revenue sharing and therefore pay allotted to players has not increased as much as the profits that the majors earn on an annual basis.

“[The Slams are] where the history of tennis is written,” Wawrinka said. “These are the richest Federations which do not redistribute much. Even between them, there is no communication… The income from Grand Slams today is very important and the percentage returned to players is ridiculous. It has hardly increased at all.”

When asked if a union, such as Novak Djokovic’s PTPA, could make a difference he said:

“What did they do?” he said of the PTPA. “Not much at the moment. I’m asking you, I don’t know. For the moment they have not launched anything concrete. So it’s not a subject. We don’t need a players’ union, we need players on the decision-making tables.”

Wawrinka also cited the Australian Open’s unilateral decision to switch from a 14-day to 15-day main draw without player consent, as well as the changes made to Davis Cup.

He also said that when it comes to player safety issues and the frustration expressed by many players, regarding the uniformity of balls used by the ATP Tour, he said the lack of communication and greed are at play.

“The problem with tennis is that there are too many governances, too many different entities (ITF, Grand Slam tournaments, ATP, WTA) which only look out for their own interests,” he said. “Today, the real problem in tennis is the Grand Slams.”

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