The Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA), a player-only organization founded by Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil, made headlines on Tuesday by appointing an Executive Director and Advisory Board.
The PTPA aims to promote, protect and represent the interests of tennis players, and is currently in the middle of streamlining its operations. But their new announcements haven't gone down too well with the ATP, who issued a statement of their own late on Wednesday.
Without mentioning the PTPA, the ATP suggested that the creation of the Novak Djokovic-led body was a threat to tennis as it "fragmented" the sport.
"The creation of a separate player entity provides a clear overlap, divides the players, and further fragments the sport," the statement read. "Fragmentation has been consistently identified as the single biggest threat to tennis’ growth potential by leading experts, from within and beyond sports, which is something the ATP is currently working to address through the Strategic Plan, as well as through the new T-7 working group, with enhanced collaboration with the WTA, Grand Slams and ITF."
The PTPA represents over 75% of the top 500 singles players and top 150 doubles players on the men's side, according to Novak Djokovic. But the ATP chose to focus instead on the history of the main circuit in their statement, asserting how the tour had been formed on the back of a breakaway players' union itself.
"Protecting and advancing the interests of players has been a core principle of the ATP since it was founded as a player association in 1972," the statement read. "In 1990, this was furthered through the formation of the ATP Tour, an equal partnership between players and tournaments. Through this, players obtained something unique in sports: an equal voice on every decision in the board room of the Tour."
"Will continue to do everything in our powers to protect the interest of our members" - ATP in response to Novak Djokovic-led PTPA
The ATP added that the pros and the tournament representatives had equal representation in modern tennis, before explaining the role of the Strategic Plan they recently rolled out.
According to the ATP, there will be 50-50 profit sharing between players and tournaments in the near future, along with enhanced prize money pools.
"Today, ATP management, together with the Board and the ATP Player Council, whose representatives are democratically elected by all players, work week-in and week-out to advance the interests of players," the statement read. "This includes the recent development of an ambitious Strategic Plan that has the potential to deliver game-changing benefits to players through strengthened top tier events, 50-50 profit sharing, increased prize money and bonus pool, full transparency of audited tournament financials, raised tournament standards and long-term stability for the Tour."
The ATP went on to lay out some of the benefits of being in the governing body's good books, which include pension, travel grants and insurance. They also vowed to do everything they could to safeguard the interests and livelihoods of players.
"We also take this opportunity to highlight the numerous benefits associated with players being in good standing with ATP, including annual pension contributions, travel grants, insurance cover, bonus pool payments, player and medical services, and more," the statement continued. "ATP will continue to do everything in its powers to protect the interest of its members, both players and tournaments, and the many livelihoods that the Tour supports."