Two years ago at the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic created the first of many political stirs in tennis when he called for an increase in prize money to ensure players received a fairer share of the revenue raised by tournaments.
Now, Novak Djokovic has stirred the pot once again by resigning as president of the ATP Player Council and proposing the formation of a breakaway independent union.
The new body, which will be called the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA), aims to promote, protect and represent the interests of its players. It will have Djokovic and Canada's Vasek Pospisil, who has also resigned from the ATP Player Council, as co-presidents.
ATP issues stern warning to Novak Djokovic's PTPA
The PTPA has sent a letter to the players council detailing its plans and objectives for the new union, one of which proposed a dues structure where fees are paid to men's singles and doubles players based on their ranking. The breakdown of the structure is shown below:
However, the move has come under fire from the ATP, who wrote a letter to the players requesting them to give the matter serious consideration.
"The impact of a new Association will be serious and as players, the responsibility of the outcome will fall on you,” it said.
It remains to be seen if the players back Djokovic's idea for unionization and what the repercussions could be if they don't.
Should Novak Djokovic re-assess his priorities?
The timing of Novak Djokovic's decision to form a breakaway organisation has been called into question by many.
The sport is only just emerging from the COVID-19 shutdown with the Western & Southern Open in New York. The event serves as a tune-up to next week's U.S. Open, where Novak Djokovic is once again the odds-on favorite. The Serb's propensity to dabble in political matters when he has his sights set on an 18th Grand Slam crown is a little confusing.
This is not the first time players have taken matters into their own hands though. Back in the 1980s, the players association withdrew from the Men's International Professional Tennis Council (MITPC), the governing body of professional men's tennis since 1974, and formed their own world tour that would later come to be known as the ATP Tour.