After getting off to a winning start against Diego Schwartzman at the ATP Finals, Novak Djokovic put in an uncharacteristically insipid performance against Daniil Medvedev to lose 3-6, 3-6. But his post-match press conference revolved around an entirely different subject.
Novak Djokovic has been making the headlines for his involvement with the PTPA, a players' union he formed following his resignation from the ATP Players' Council. But after news broke on Wednesday about him accepting a nomination back to the Council, the Serb gave a stinging riposte to those who have been criticizing him.
"These are political games behind the scenes, but they are rarely written about, it is important to write that Novak Djokovic is a hypocrite," he said. "But well, it's not the first time. I'm used to it, it strengthens my resistance, shield and motivates me even more to do what is right for sports and players."
Have been nominated by the players for the Council, have not applied: Novak Djokovic
Speaking to the Serbian media in the press conference following his loss to Medvedev, Novak Djokovic detailed his experience about the Council nomination and the decision to start the Professional Tennis Players' Association.
"Despite the fact that most of my team and people close to me do not understand why I spend so much energy on something that probably distracts me from what is probably more important, I somehow believe that it is for more good players," Djokovic said. " I feel responsibility and duty, as someone who has been at the top for many years; if the players have already chosen me, then it is a great honor for me to be available."
"All these years I have tried to be available and to proactively give my suggestions and ideas all in the service of improving the system for a larger number of players, especially the lower ranked ones," he added.
Novak Djokovic, however, also made it a point to explain that he feels many in the media wish to ignore his efforts.
"However, few people think about them," the 17-time Grand Slam champion said. "When we talk about politics in tennis, we mostly talk about the first 50-100, little attention is paid to those who are the largest group, from 100th to 5000th place - they have big problems and constantly criticize the system."
The Serb didn't need cross-questioning on this subject, as he continued to explain his side of the story to the media.
"Often the things I say are changed," said Novak Djokovic. "They said that it might be hypocritical for me to be the founder of PTPA and to return to the Players' Council at the same time."
The 33-year-old asserted that he didn't re-apply for the position on the Council, but that it was the players who had nominated his name. He also pointed out that he had never wanted to leave the Council in the first place; it was the other members who had forced his resignation back in August.
"I had no intention of returning to the Council," Djokovic went on. "I don't understand why the players from the Council demanded that Pospisil and I resign, and then and now I said that I don't see a conflict there at all. I tried to explain it to people, but there are certain currents in tennis that do not want it to happen and do not want to understand it because they have other interests, that's the way it is."
"Vasek (Pospisil) and I found out three or four days ago that we were nominated, a large group of players asked us to be in the Council again," he added. "We accepted it with pleasure, it is an honor for us, we do not receive any money or anything. The fact that we were nominated again after we were expelled from the Council in a way only shows how good a job we did and how much trust we enjoy from a large group of players."
Novak Djokovic further revealed that the ATP has implemented a rule that prevents players who are members of external organizations to stand for a position on the Players' Council.
"Until Tuesday night, I wanted to cooperate with ATP as one of the co-founders of PTPA, but a new rule was passed according to which someone cannot be a member of the Council and any other organization within the tennis system at the same time," Novak Djokovic said. "They sent a clear message about what they think about it, they prevented us from being in the Council - we did not apply as presented in the media, but they nominated us, I repeat. So ATP goes against what most players want."Published 19 Nov 2020, 18:03 IST