No. 1 in the world of men, Novak Djokovic, urged players last week to contribute to a fund set up by the main governing bodies of the sport to help players affected by a stop which started in March and will continue at least until mid-July.
The regime has been criticized by Australian John Millman, who said the pay gap in tennis should have been resolved long ago. Thiem went further, saying he thought others needed more urgent help and questioning the professionalism of some lower level players.
“No tennis player fights to survive, even those who are much lower ranked. None of them will starve, “Thiem told the Austrian newspaper Krone. “I don’t really see why I should give these players money,” he added. “I prefer to give money to people or organizations that really need it.”
“There are many, many players who do not put sport above all else and do not live professionally,” said the 26-year-old. “None of us, the best players, gave us anything, we all had to fight to climb. I have no guarantee in any job that I will do well and make a lot of money. “
The man sandwiched between Djokovic and Thiem in the ATP rankings, Rafael Nadal, said that he does not expect tennis to return to normal soon.
“From my point of view, I am very pessimistic that the circuit can resume normal activity,” said Nadal in an online Q&A organized by the Spanish tennis federation.
“In tennis, you have to travel every week, stay in hotels, go to different countries,” he added. “Even if we play without an audience, to organize an event, you need a lot of people involved. At the international level, I see a serious problem. “