Twenty-nine players from 22 countries have received 2020 International Player Grand Slam® Grants financed by the Grand Slam Development Fund (GSDF). The programme, now in its fourth year, provides total annual funding of $650,000 to selected players from around the world as a contribution towards their competition-related costs, with the aim of helping them to develop as professional tennis players and compete in Grand Slam tournaments.
The GSDF Committee considers specific age, ranking and regional representation criteria when making decisions on which players should receive grants, with all recipients deemed to show exceptional potential.
Since the introduction of the programme in 2017, multiple players who received grants have progressed into the Top 100 of the ATP or WTA rankings and are competing at the Grand Slams on a regular basis. Previous recipients of International Player Grand Slam Grants include Ons Jabeur (2020 Australian Open quarter-finalist and world No. 34), Elena Rybakina (world No. 18), Cristian Garin (world No. 21) and Hubert Hurkacz (world No. 31).
The following 13 men and 10 women received $25,000 grants in 2020: Mariam Bolkvadze (GEO), Francisco Cerundolo (ARG), Juan Manuel Cerundolo (ARG), Maja Chwalinska (POL), Filip Cristian Jianu (ROU), Kaja Juvan (SLO), Anhelina Kalinina (UKR), Lee Duckhee (KOR), Liang En-Shuo (TPE), Nicolas Mejia (COL), Eleonora Molinaro (LUX), Sumit Nagal (IND), Sebastian Ofner (AUT), Yshai Oliel (ISR), Maria Camila Osorio Serrano (COL), Jurij Rodionov (AUT), Elena Gabriela Ruse (ROU), Thiago Seyboth Wild (BRA), Khumoyun Sultanov (UZB), Tseng Chun-Hsin (TPE), Wang Xinyu (CHN), Wang Xiyu (CHN) and Wu Tung-Lin (TPE).
In addition, the following three men and three women received $12,500 grants as the highest ranked players in their respective regions, to ensure that at least one player from each region receives a grant: Maiar Sherif Ahmed Abdulaziz (EGY), Roberto Cid Subervi (DOM), Paige Hourigan (NZL), Skander Mansouri (TUN), Colin Sinclair (NMI) and Renata Zarazua (MEX).
This year’s recipients include seven players who received grants in 2019 and who continue to meet the GSDF Committee’s criteria. New recipients who continue to meet the criteria will be eligible for an additional grant in 2021.
Four of this year’s recipients have already competed in the main draw at the Grand Slams this year, with Kaja Juvan competing in the main draw at both the Australian Open and the US Open, while Anhelina Kalinina, Sumit Nagal and Thiago Seyboth Wild all competed in the main draw at the US Open.
Fifteen players who have received International Player Grand Slam Grants since 2017 are set to contest the main draw at Roland-Garros next week, while a further 18 are competing in qualifying in Paris this week.
Bill Babcock, Director of the Grand Slam® Board, said on behalf of the Grand Slam tournaments: “The Grand Slam tournaments are very pleased to have the opportunity to invest in the development of these talented young players, particularly after the unprecedented hiatus in professional tennis this year. Many of today’s top professionals received support from the GSDF early in their careers and the International Player Grand Slam grants will help players become stars of the future.”
ITF President David Haggerty said: “We once again thank the Grand Slam tournaments for their support, especially in these challenging and uncertain times. Investing in development is more important than ever, in order to ensure that players from all over the world are able to compete at the top of the sport. This is crucial for the continued growth of tennis around the world. For many players, support from the GSDF is crucial in enabling them to go on to enjoy long and successful careers.”
The GSDF was originally established in 1986 to encourage and increase competitive opportunities in developing tennis regions. With annual contributions from the four Grand Slam tournaments, the Fund has become an effective means to develop competitive tennis worldwide. The Fund has contributed more than $50 million to tennis development since its inception.
The Fund is designed to encourage the establishment of both junior and professional circuits, and to assist players directly, through touring teams or travel grants, to gain international competitive experience. This has helped increase the number of nations represented in Grand Slam tournaments and other international competitions.
Grand Slam champions Gustavo Kuerten, Li Na, Jelena Ostapenko, Victoria Azarenka and Simona Halep are among the leading names to have been supported by the Fund.