Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to help lower-ranked players during coronavirus

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Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are working with the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) to help lower-ranked players during the coronavirus pandemic.

The ‘Big Three’ are setting out to raise $3 million in funds to help players ranked between 200 and 700 in the world.

Serbian player Djokovic revealed the plan in an Instagram Live session with fellow professional Stan Wawrinka.

He said that lower-ranked players who are struggling the most would benefit, as the competitions which players usually earn money through, have been cancelled.

All ATP tournaments have been provisionally suspended until June 7, but this could be extended by the organisation if the pandemic continues.

Lower-ranked players usually earn their money through smaller tournaments and early round appearances at the major competitions. They typically earn thousands in prize money, considerably less than the £2.35 million Djokovic received for winning the gentleman’s singles title at Wimbeldon 2019.

Djokovic revealed that the scheme would include a method for determining the players who require the most financial help. He went on to state that the ATP, alongside the Grand Slam tournaments, could get involved with the scheme.

Speaking during the Live session, he said: "I have had a long conversation with Federer and Nadal about how we can contribute and how we can help lower-ranked guys who obviously are struggling the most."

Wimbledon, scheduled to be played between June 29 and July 12, has been cancelled for the first time since World War Two.

The French Open has been postponed until September, causing backlash from players as it clashes with the Laver Cup and will begin just a week after the US Open is scheduled to finish. Nadal has even said he may boycott the French Open if it is not rearranged.

US Open organisers will decide in June whether the event will take place, which is currently scheduled to start at the end of August. Nearly three quarters of a million people attended last year’s US Open, and chief executive of the US Tennis Association Mike Dowse has confirmed that the event being played without fans is ‘highly unlikely’.

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