Novak Djokovic recently provided an update on the rebel player association - PTPA - that he and Vasek Pospisil have set up. Besides mentioning that they were looking to work things out with ATP chief Andrea Gaudenzi, Djokovic also revealed they were having conversations with several top WTA stars - including Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens.
Novak Djokovic made the comments when asked about PTPA's current status quo during his press conference at the ATP Finals on Friday.
“We are talking to a lot of players at different levels, like Serena and Sloane, but also lower ranked to see how we form a new structure taking into account how unstable everything is now in terms of the schedule,” Djokovic said.
Novak Djokovic has made it clear several times in the past that the PTPA wants to work in tandem with the main governing body of men’s tennis - the ATP. He reiterated that on Friday, while adding that there was no intention to have an 'aggressive approach'.
“We are also in talks with the ATP and what we will do with the WTA to see how the PTPA is integrated into the ecosystem,” Djokovic continued. “We do not want to have an aggressive approach as has been said.”
The Serb then revealed that ‘hundreds of players’ had complained about the existing system prevalent on both the ATP and the WTA tours. Djokovic wants all such grievances to be addressed, and he believes the PTPA is the best platform to do that.
"We want players of all levels to be heard and their problems taken into account, especially since hundreds of players complain about the current system,” Djokovic asserted.
According to Novak Djokovic, the PTPA has a long way to go before it can achieve its goals. But the Serb once again made it clear that the association was created to ensure the players' welfare rather than to create divisions, as opposed to what many in the tennis community - including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal - believe.
“There are objectives and the first thing is to position oneself,” Djokovic explained. “It is a long way. I understand that there is criticism, because people he wonders if this is the right move or if it is a way to divide tennis. But for us it is not like that, our value and our essence is to improve.”
I share the concerns of the ATP, WTA and the Grand Slams: Novak Djokovic
Some have accused Novak Djokovic of thinking solely from his own point of view, rather than that of the community as a whole. But the Serb denied any such suggestions, and instead stressed that he understands the concerns of the entire 'tennis ecosystem'.
“I share the concerns of the ATP, the WTA and the Grand Slams, of all of us who are involved in the tennis ecosystem,” Djokovic said.
Novak Djokovic also brought up the financial issues that have crept up in the sport due to the COVID-19 pandemic, because of which the lesser-ranked players have been deprived of a consistent income. The Serb feels it is imperative to help such players out.
“The worst thing is that next season is unpredictable,” Djokovic said. “It is not in our hands now what happens, but in the hands of the governments of the countries. There are constant negotiations, financial issues. For tennis it has been great to be able to compete with the best. But those who are below in the ranking, from 500 to below, are suffering a lot and need help to provide tournaments and be able to compete for a living. It is a very complex situation.