The French Tennis Federation (FFT), organisers of the French Open, will reward nations whose junior players perform well at this year’s Grand Slam event on the Parisian clay. The tennis body will distribute one million Euros for their training and development programme. FFT will distribute points to players on the number of matches won and accordingly rank the countries for allocation of funds, president Bernard Guidicelly revealed.
“We are going to start with a new trophy named after Philippe-Chatrier awarding the nations to help their young player turn Pro. The Grand Slam nations have to be very careful about the economic model and help nations to involve and get the players in the international level,” Guidicelli told reporters. “It’s kind of ranking based. At the end of the tournament, we will rank the nations based on the performance of the juniors. We will distribute one million Euros, half for boys and half for girls,” he further explained.
With the tour heavily lopsided in favour of the top-100 players in the world with those moving further in the tournaments taking in the larger pool of the money, Guidcelli admitted that the imbalance needed to be bridged. “If you look at the qualifiers, I was analyzing two-third in men’s draw players are all between 20-27. It’s a reality, it is very difficult to be part of top-100 and that is why we have addressed the situation. Today, we have reduced the prize money gap from 1/94 to 1/60 to help young and lower ranked players helping them financially,” he stated.
He chose not to address the controversial topic of refusal of wildcard to Maria Sharapova. Further, on another controversial topic of Ilie Nastase, Guidicelli maintained that he won’t be welcome by the organisers. “No. He can be in the stadium if he is invited by a sponsor or by a fan. For us it was a kind of message to send to him that it is not acceptable to us what he said on the court to British contingent,” he clarified.
Romanian Nastase had made inappropriate and racist comments around Serena Williams’ yet-to-be-born child. He further hurled abuses at Great Britain’s Fed Cup captain Anne Keothavong and player Johanna Konta during the Fed Cup tie. ITF later banned the Fed Cup captain for his actions.