Former Grand Slam champion Yevgeniy Kafelnikov has urged the tennis players of today to not strike over disputes regarding the prize money, exactly 11 years after his own whining about the prize money awarded at the Australian Open was termed as the ‘whining of a greedy millionaire’.
The 37 year old, who became the first Russian in the history of professional tennis to become the world number one way back in 1999 after winning the Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park added that the only losers in case of a potential strike by the tennis players would be the fans who pay their hard earned money to watch some good tennis being played and that the players had no right to deprive them of it.
Yevgeniy Kafelnikov created quite a storm in the international tennis circuit during the 2001 Australian Open when he was quoted as saying that it was ridiculous that the amount of money the tennis players under the ATP were earning was much less when compared to the other athletes in sports. By that time, his earnings from prize money alone was around $ 18 million and his comments were slammed by Andre Agassi who added that the Russian was better off buying some perspective with his prize money.
Kafelnikov did trace back the events of 2001 and added that the comments that Agassi made about him at that time did make him think about the ones who actually were suffering from potential strikes and he also added that the fans were not entitled to such punishments.
Yevgeniy Kafelnikov also mentioned that it was extremely shocking for him to hear that the players had held closed door meetings and were planning to boycott the event just a week before it began and it was completely unjustified on their part.