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'Meetings produce nothing' - Gasquet on why Novak Djokovic missing ATP Zoom call wasn't a big deal

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic
Rudra Biswas
Modified 15 Jul 2020

Novak Djokovic had recently hinted he might skip the US Open, as he didn't agree with the restrictions suggested by USTA. As per the tentative rules set out for the New York Major, the players would be allowed to bring along only one person in their entourage.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion had also suggested that the 14-day quarantine period and limited access to the courts could impede the top players' match preparations. And after Novak Djokovic voiced these concerns, many other players came to agree with his sentiment - which eventually led to a virtual meeting of ATP players, tournament directors and coaches via Zoom.

More than 500 players had reportedly attended the meeting, but Novak Djokovic was conspicuous by his absence. That led to accusations of shirking responsibility from some of his fellow players, most vocal of whom was Noah Rubin.

But yesterday, in an interview with L'Equipe, French player Richard Gasquet explained the dynamic of ATP meetings while pointing out why Djokovic missing one of them wasn't a big deal.

Novak Djokovic and the rest of the Player Council are powerless: Richard Gasquet

Novak Djokovic (L) and Richard Gasquet
Novak Djokovic (L) and Richard Gasquet

The ATP Player Council consisting of Novak Djokovic, Kevin Anderson, Vasek Pospisil and Gilles Simon among others, was expected to announce its position on the US Open after the Zoom call.

The virtual meeting had intended to bring all singles and doubles players together to safeguard their interests, especially since the sport is facing extraordinary circumstances amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

But there have been no developments regarding this over the last few weeks, and according to Gasquet that is because the players have virtually no power.

"In ATP, they are catastrophic. They do not say anything to the ATP players, the meetings produce nothing," Gasquet said.

The Frenchman admitted that he himself doesn't bother to show up for the meetings, because the authorities always end up making unilateral decisions anyway.

"I do not attend the meetings. In any case, it is the authorities who decide whether tennis will be played," the Frenchman added.

In a scathing account of the lack of clarity among tennis officials, Gasquet revealed that neither the USTA (organizing body of US Open) nor the FFT (organizing body of Roland Garros) have much of a say in whether the last two Grand Slams of the year will be held.

"In New York, the governor will decide. And for Roland Garros, the government in France will decide. Neither Bernard Giudicelli, President of the FFT, nor the President of the USTA are the decision makers. The Federations are puppets," Gasquet said.
Published 15 Jul 2020, 22:21 IST
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