Novak Djokovic outlined the proposal in a letter to all ATP players ©Getty Images

The "big three" in men's tennis have proposed the creation of a $4 million (£3.2 million/€3.7 million) relief fund to help those ranked between 250 and 700 in the world during the coronavirus pandemic.

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have suggested players in the top 100 of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) world rankings, and the top 20 in doubles, contribute to the fund.

Djokovic, the world number one and President of the ATP Player Council, outlined the proposal in a letter to all players on the ATP circuit.

It would see players give to the fund using a sliding scale, with the top five in the world - Djokovic, Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Federer and Daniil Medvedev - donating $30,000 (£24,000/€28,000).

Those ranked between five and 10 would contribute $20,000 (£16,000/€18,000), while players who occupy positions between 10 and 20 would give $15,000 (£12,000/€14,000).

Players who fall into the 20 to 50 rankings bracket would donate $10,000 (£8,000/€9,000) and $5,000 (£4,000/€4,600) would be contributed by those who are ranked between 50th and 100th.

Djokovic said this would generate around $1.05 million (£839,000/€966,000), which would come in addition to a similar amount donated by the ATP and $500,000 (£400,000/€460,000) from each of the four Grand Slams.

Roger Federer, pictured, and Rafael Nadal helped Novak Djokovic devise the proposal ©Getty Images
Roger Federer, pictured, and Rafael Nadal helped Novak Djokovic devise the proposal ©Getty Images

The Serbian, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, has also proposed that 50 per cent of prize money at the season-ending ATP Finals in London be diverted to the fund.

The move comes in response to financial concerns for tennis players who are not well supported by their federations and do not have independent sponsorship sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We feel that we all need to get together and help these guys out," Djokovic wrote in the letter. 

"Many of them are thinking to leave pro tennis because they just can’t survive financially.

"ATP has around 700 members and we should try to take care of all of them. 

"We need to send the message to the tennis community and sports world that we care for each other and especially the future of tennis."

According to latest figures, the COVID-19 virus has infected more than 2.3 million people and killed at least 161,000 worldwide.

The ATP and the Women's Tennis Association have suspended their Tours until at least July, while Wimbledon was cancelled earlier this month in response to the pandemic.