Hi guys, sorry but need to explore every avenue I can to get as many signatures as possible.
The petition asks the ITF to consider the introduction of a Women's $15k challenger from 2010 - either replacing the 10k or running alongside as with the male circuit. It should be noted that in an era where Grand Slams offer equal pay how can the ITF justify offering bigger money events to men of the same standard for 10 years (the mens $15k was introduced in 1998). Many $15k's offer hospitality, so to keep the two circuits in line, I think this should be introduced for the women.
I have also raised the point that cost-cutting can be dangerous. Often the offical hotels are very expensive for girls at this level, and many take other accomdation. When you consider that girls as young as 14 are travelling alone, in countries where they don't speak the language, saving the pennies could be disasterous. Especially so when events won't do transfers to the tournament from hotels/hostels/b&b's that arent the 'official' one. I've therefore asked the ITF to encourage more private housing at events with local families and volunteers. Its popular in North and Central America, and also a few of the OZ events do it, buts its quite rare in Europe.
I actually think my last point is the most important. Its time for the ITF to start educating players in debt management and budgeting. With most players not reaching the $5k in prize money, but requiring around $30k to fund a full season, its scary to think of the sorts of debts and credit card bills some players are running up, just hoping one day they will make it big and it'll all be ok. If players want advice, or in a very dangerous situation where they can't pay money back, the ITF should have educational literature and even someone they can turn to for impartial and friendly advice to help them through.
If you support what I've put, please sign at:
I've had attention already from the BBC messageboards and the petition was featured in the latest Jon Wertheim mailbag
The $10,000 events held in 1984 are today worth the equivalent of $20,600 because of inflation, so I really passionately want this to be done.
Perhaps we can really make a difference, and do something to help make the chasing the dream that little bit more viable.