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Isner and his “broken system”: “It’s ridiculous” – Match Points excerpt

In the latest edition of Match Points, our panel discuss whether John Isner’s recent criticism of the ATP is justified

March 31, 2021
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American John Isner recently took to social media to air his feelings about what he feels is a “broken system” at the ATP, saying the men’s governing body should be more transparent about exactly why tournaments were cutting prize money and that the structure of the ATP and the conflicts of interest within the sport make change almost impossible.

In the latest episode of Match Points, our panel discuss Isner’s comments.

“Tone deaf”

Journalist Simon Cambers says Isner’s comments about prize money ring hollow in a time of pandemic and that by mixing up two different things is distorting the message he was trying to convey.

“I think Isner’s mixing two things up and it comes across as tone deaf,” he says. “I think you’ve got to separate the two things. He’s perfectly entitled to talk about prize money in general, but to say the ATP’s a broken system and express it as if it was because you’re not getting 40 percent at the Miami Open, I think is ridiculous.”

Bartoli: “Not the right time”

Isner later clarified that it was the structure of the Tour that was the most problematic thing, rather than the Miami prize money, but former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli says Isner chose the wrong time to raise the issue, when so many tournaments are struggling financially due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Long-term, when things get back to normal, do the players need to have a view of what exactly is the spread between what the tournament is earning and what the players are earning, this I completely agree,” she says. “Just not right now. They’re not in the position right now to argue on prize money. They should be just happy to have a chance to play and earn some money for that job.”

Rothenberg: “Tournaments could go bankrupt”

Journalist Ben Rothenberg says Isner needs to remember how badly tournaments have been hit by the Coronavirus pandemic, with the resultant loss of crowds and revenue.

“These events are hurting and it’s not impossible that some of them will go bankrupt, even on the level potentially of Miami, with the stresses on them right now,” he says. “Overall, it’s a miracle any tournaments are happening and kind of dubious that any tournaments are happening during a pandemic.”

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