Coronavirus pushes US Tennis Association to unveil $50M relief package

Pro tennis events are on hold due to the pandemic.

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The United States Tennis Association (USTA) said on Thursday it will oversee a commitment of more than $50 million in spending to help the sport weather what it described as the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the plan, the governing body for tennis in the United States said it will identify more than $20 million in savings by reducing salaries of its management and eliminating programmes in player development and operations.

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The USTA, along with its partners, will offer economic assistance packages, increased support to navigate government assistance for facilities and coaches, as well as webinars and phone support to help individuals impacted from COVID-19.

"We recognised helping tennis facilities, community tennis programs, and teaching professionals navigate the multitude of government grants and loans was of immediate importance," USTA Chief Executive Mike Dowse said in a statement.

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"The foundation of our sport begins with these stakeholders and we need to ensure they can weather the storm and remain viable as the storm recedes. This is all about 'relief, recovery and rebuild' for our industry."

The USTA, which runs the U.S. Open, says the extent of its future support will be determined by the financial performance of the Grand Slam, which is currently scheduled for Aug. 31-Sept. 13 in New York.

The USTA also said it still plans to stage the U.S. Open, which is the main source of revenue for the organisation, and that all decisions regarding the tournament will be guided by federal and local governmental agencies.

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Both the men's ATP Tour and the WTA, which runs the women's circuit, have suspended all tournaments until June 7 after countries started locking down borders to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

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(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Additional reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by Christian Radnedge)