Doubles money, US Open and more: Let’s talk! – Match Points #5

In episode 5 of Match Points, Josh Cohen guides Marion Bartoli, Noah Rubin and Ben Rothenberg through a discussion on prize money in doubles, the wisdom of playing the US Open and Cincinnati in the same city and more.

June 15, 2020
The figures

Our panel today consists of former Wimbledon champion and world No 7 Marion Bartoli, ATP world No 225 Noah Rubin (founder of Behind the Racquet) and American journalist Ben Rothenberg. The guests joined Cohen to give their opinions on several hot topics, including doubles prize money and how the US Open should deal with keeping players safe.

On doubles prize money, Bartoli held strong to her opinion that the Tours should take a closer look at doubles compensation, her point being that doubles players earn too much at the big events and the money could be used more wisely elsewhere.

“Per player, [doubles champions] are making more money than someone reaching the quarter-final in singles,” Bartoli said, citing her own research. “That is a hard fact. That is the truth. Someone making the quarter-final in the Miami Masters 1000, any Masters 1000, is making less money than someone winning the doubles, per player.”

With rumours that the US Open is planning to consolidate Cincinnati and the Open into one large four-week event to be held in New York, Josh asks the panel if they think it is a good idea.

Rothenberg believes that consolidation will have to happen in order for tennis to be played in 2020. He says it is best to limit travel whenever possible.

“I do think that tennis as a Tour is incredibly poorly designed to be a sport active anywhere near a pandemic with changing locations every week, players all over the world,” he said. “And so one of the things you can do to stop that, firstly, is stop changing locations every week. And this could be a thing throughout the rest of the calendar, until things get back to normal. I think you can start consolidating geographically…”

Finally the discussion moves to the ATP Player Council, and whether or not Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal should be a part of it.

Roger Federer Hamburg 2007

Rubin says that Rafa and Roger don’t need to be involved. Because of their popularity, they already have a platform, he says.

“I don’t think Federer and Nadal truly understand what it means to be on a Player’s Council and really the dirty work that goes into it. So, again they have the platform to speak if they want to speak. They will be heard. We saw that with the (WTA/ATP) merger.”

Bartoli and Rothenberg see it differently.

“I think if there is a message that needs to be heard it’s going to be them who is going to be listened to and then I think this is very powerful,” Bartoli said of Federer and Nadal. 

“Politics is so much about messaging and about presentation and image and those top two guys, especially, have it tons of ways,” added Rothenberg.

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