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"Do that when you stop playing tennis" - Navratilova on why Novak Djokovic's PTPA is not helpful right now

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic
Modified 02 Nov 2020, 17:13 IST

Martina Navratilova recently revisited the topic of the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA), the breakaway group led by World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Canada's Vasek Pospisil.

Navratilova believes that working on the association could distract the Serb from his goal of adding further to his legacy. She also claimed that launching a player's association just as the tour resumed amid the COVID-19 pandemic was not the right move.

In August this year, just two days before the start of the US Open, Novak Djokovic and Pospisil - along with 60 odd ATP players - announced the creation of the PTPA. The move was widely criticized by the governing bodies of tennis as well as by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and other members of the ATP Player Council who did not sign up for the association.

Although Novak Djokovic won the Western & Southern Open and the Italian Open after the tour resumed, he failed to add to his Grand Slam tally. Djokovic suffered a fourth round exit via a default at the US Open, and lost to Rafael Nadal in the final of the French Open.

In an interview with The Irish Times, Navratilova stated that Djokovic should conserve his energies towards his on-court achievements now and perhaps take up the cause of the player association after he has retired.

“He (Novak Djokovic) thinks he’s doing the right thing,” Navratilova said. “I don’t agree with it but it’s his choice. It certainly didn’t seem to help his tennis."
"Purely from a logical point of view, when you are a champion tennis player, when you commit to the sport, your energy goes into that," she added. "Maybe to get away, you watch TV, maybe you do some woodworking, maybe you get into stitching shawls. That helps you relax and it gives you energy. But starting this association? This is not helpful on any level. Do that when you stop playing tennis."

Launching the PTPA during COVID times not the right move by Novak Djokovic: Martina Navratilova

Novak Djokovic at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna, Austria.
Novak Djokovic at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna, Austria.

Navratilova also believes that the timing of the launch by Novak Djokovic, Vasek Pospisil and the others was not ideal. According to the 18-time Slam champion, the tennis world needs to remain united in the middle of a global crisis rather than create more divisions.

"During Covid, you’re trying to divide us further when we should be trying to bring the game together and trying to figure out how to play tournaments without people getting sick and dying from Covid? Let’s stay with that problem rather than creating one we don’t need,” Navratilova said.
Published 02 Nov 2020, 17:13 IST
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