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"I sympathize with the players" - ATP chief confirms willingness to work with Novak Djokovic-led PTPA

Novak Djovokic and Vasek Pospisil, the co-founders of the Professional Tennis Players Association
Novak Djovokic and Vasek Pospisil, the co-founders of the Professional Tennis Players Association
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 25 Sep 2020, 17:09 IST
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The launch of the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) just days before the US Open was a major talking point over the first few days of the event. The move was led by World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil, and around 150 men and 200 women's players are said to have joined the association.

But the breakaway group set off a major division in the tennis world. Other members of the ATP Player Council, including Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Kevin Anderson, opposed the move by Novak Djokovic and Co. Moreover, the governing bodies of tennis continue to back the ATP as the best body to represent the players' interests.

Since that time, Novak Djokovic has confirmed that he has spoken at length with ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi. The Serb said he shares a good equation with Gaudenzi on the issue, and that he wants to work together with the ATP with regard to player interests.

The Italian has now reinforced Novak Djokovic's statements, and claimed that he is keen to work in tandem with the PTPA if that helps further everyone's interests.

They definitely have the objective to improve life for the players on the tour: Andrea Gaudenzi on Novak Djokovic's PTPA

Andrea Gaudenzi acknowledged that the intentions of the PTPA are to help the players on the tour, and that the ATP was open to addressing their concerns.

"They definitely have the objective to improve life for the players on the tour, and we have nothing against that," Andrea Gaudenzi said in a conference call according to ESPN. "Actually, we want to help, and we are listening. It's at a very early stage, so it is difficult at the moment to have a clear understanding of the scope and whether there is an overlap [with the ATP] or not. We definitely had a conversation and continue to have it. We cannot ignore that some of the players feel certain areas need to be improved."
 Andrea Gaudenzi, seen here during his playing days
 Andrea Gaudenzi, seen here during his playing days
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The 47-year-old Gaudenzi went on to say that being a former player (he was ranked among the Top 20 in 1995), he completely understands where Novak Djokovic and the rest of the players are coming from. He did also imply, however, that the players need to be more aware of the challenges behind the scenes.

"First and foremost, I have to say I sympathize a lot with the players, and it helps me a lot having been a player," Gaudenzi said. "I've been in those shoes. I know how it feels. You are an individual, travelling on your own, not part of a team. You see the world from your perspective, with a lack of appreciation of what is behind a tennis tournament. While playing, you work hard, go on court and think it's just me, me, me. So I completely sympathize."
Novak Djokovic is among the favourites for the men
Novak Djokovic is among the favourites for the men's title this year at Roland Garros

For the next couple of weeks though, the attention is likely to fall back on the action inside the tennis courts. The French Open starts on Sunday, where Novak Djokovic is the top seed and one of the favourites for the men's singles title.

Published 25 Sep 2020, 17:09 IST
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