'My Account Is In The Negatives': World No. 250 Aiava Discloses Depressing Reality Of ITF Tour

'My Account Is In The Negatives': World No. 250 Aiava Discloses Depressing Reality Of ITF Tour

by Nurein Ahmed

Destanee Aiavaa, a 23-year-old ITF-level player from Melbourne, Australia, recently painted a grim picture of life on the lower rungs of professional tennis.

Aiava, once a promising upstart of Australian tennis, has struggled with motivation and mental health issues in the past and made headlines last year after a shocking revelation that she almost took her own life.

Aiava is ranked outside the world's Top 200 on the WTA Tour, and currently plies her trade on the ITF Tour, chipping away at her ranking and painstakingly earning a buck at the lowest level of women's tennis. She's done that for pretty much her entire career, outside a handful of wild card appearances at her home tournaments during the Australian summer series.

The 23-year-old has played 49 matches so far this season and won 31 of them. But she took to Meta's Threads to pontificate about the financial difficulties she's been through. In a series of posts, Aiava explains her current account balance is overdrawn by $35, and made a surprise admission of non-payment from an event, two weeks after its completion.

Despite playing almost 20 tournaments this year, she has struggled to honor her mortgage payments, rendering her in a quagmire of financial indebtedness. Accommodation and flight expenses tend to eat her entire budget, making it nearly impossible to make ends meet.

"My account is in the negatives (-$35 to be exact) because the tournament I played two weeks ago failed to pay me and now I have to wait another week. Times like these make me want a stable job. Like imagine being on the other side of the world working and you’re making NO MONEY. Stop telling me I'm living the dream cos this is a literal NIGHTMARE."

While the top tiers of professional tennis are working towards achieving pay parity between men and women, it is worth acknowledging the mind-boggling income gap between the top and bottom of the sphere. Aiava's case is just one of many sad examples of aspiring tennis players being entangled in a financial dilemma and who end up giving up on their dream.


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