Why Djokovic Was Denied Millions In Bonus Payment By The ATP

Why Djokovic Was Denied Millions In Bonus Payment By The ATP

by Nurein Ahmed

2023 was a record-setting year for Novak Djokovic after he surpassed his great rivals in the Grand Slam count while simultaneously reaping big in prize money.

The Serbian World No. 1 topped the podium in seven of 12 tournaments he played on the ATP Tour last season, which is the most for any player. His dominance extended beyond trophies and accolades. Djokovic topped the ATP's prize money list by a huge margin.

He won a staggering $15,942,044, at least an additional $5 million in prize money from second-placed Carlos Alcaraz. But because of the ATP's newly-formed scheme, OneVision, aimed at giving bonus payouts to best-performing players at the nine Masters 1000s and ATP Finals, that gap narrowed down to just thousands of dollars.

The ATP committed a bonus purse of precisely $20 million distributed based on results to the Top 30 players with the most points clubbed together from the nine Masters tournaments and the year-end championships. Alcaraz comfortably finished on top, raking a colossal sum in the region of $4.4 million.

Djokovic was in the top five of that club, having won two Masters tournaments (becoming the first man to attain 40 Masters titles) and a record-breaking 7th ATP Finals crown. However, the ATP's bonus plan has strict eligibility criteria that Djokovic didn't meet.

A look at Djokovic's schedule last season shows that the ATP adhered to every line in its rulebook. First, to be paid the full bonus, players must play the mandatory Masters and ATP Finals should they qualify.

Secondly, the ATP reserved the right to reduce bonus payments based on the number of tournaments missed by a qualifying player. For instance, if a player missed one Masters tournament, the bonus would be reduced by 25%.

Missing two would result in a reduction by half while giving three Masters tournaments a miss would equal a 75% reduction in bonus. In Djokovic's case, he missed five of the nine Masters tournaments, which the ATP was entitled to wipe off 100% of the bonus payout as stipulated in its rulebook.

Nevertheless, Djokovic still topped the prize money list even after factoring in the bonuses for the rest of the qualifying players. The bonus payments to the players will be made by the end of January 2024.


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