Lower-ranked professionals were living off scraps even before the pandemic but now their plight may finally be recognised
At the exact moment the International Tennis Federation announced the immediate cancellation of all events in March, Panna Udvardy was deep in battle, breaking serve at a lowly ITF World Tennis Tour event in Olímpia, Brazil. While the sport’s commentariat descended into a collective state of shock, Udvardy was pumping her fist and peering towards her coach. She quickly realised he was not staring back.
“I looked at my coach and he was talking to the supervisor. I was like: ‘Come on, why are you talking to him? Watch the match!’ And then I won, I played like three hours, I came off court. My coach told me that at 3-1 the supervisor had talked to him and cancelled the tournament.”
A lot of players are waking up and saying, ‘Hey, I’m gonna stop. I’m already minus and I don’t think I can make it’