Former World No. 4 Tim Henman believes the idea behind the Novak Djokovic-led Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) is sound, but that the timing of its creation could have been better.
In August this year, Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil led a group of around 60 male players to create the PTPA. The intention behind the move was to better represent the players across all levels of the tour, and to address their issues in a more transparent fashion.
The creation of the PTPA was heavily criticized by the governing bodies of tennis, who believe the ATP Players Council already serves the same purpose. Some others also questioned why female players were not included at the time of the launch.
But Tim Henman, who currently serves on the All England Lawn Tennis Club's board, believes the structure of the ATP is complicated enough to warrant the formation of a parallel player body. In a recent interview with Tennis.com, Henman spoke in detail about the challenges faced by the current players.
"Look, if you want me to comment on the PTPA - it's not such a crazy idea when you understand the structure," Henman said. "The ATP is a difficult structure, it is 50% players, 50% tournaments. And so if you are the chairperson of that organization, it's very difficult to please everyone. And so the idea that the players would have sole representation, it's not a crazy idea."
The Brit added, however, that breaking away from the Council while the entire world was grappling with a deadly pandemic wasn't the most sensible thing to do.
"I think the bit that I struggled with personally, in my opinion, is the timing," Henman went on. "In the middle of a pandemic, to have to face these global challenges for everyone in all different walks of life, it's the time to be working together. And so for me, that was the biggest issue."
Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil have withdrawn from the ATP Players Council elections
On Monday, Novak Djokovic announced that he is withdrawing his name from the list of nominees to be elected to the ATP Players Council. The 33-year-old also claimed that the ATP's new rules prevent players who are part of parallel organizations from standing for elections to the Council.
In his statement, Novak Djokovic expressed hope that the conflict of interest rule would be applied at all levels within the ATP structure. The Serb added that the PTPA is still in the formative stages but that it intends to continue promoting the cause of the players - especially the lower-ranked ones.
Pospisil also announced his decision to withdraw from the Player Council elections citing similar reasons.Published 23 Dec 2020, 16:33 IST