World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has been making the headlines over the past few days, for a variety of reasons. In addition to winning the Cincinnati Masters, Djokovic also resigned as the ATP Player Council President on Saturday to form a new player representative outfit that has come to be known as the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA).
While the fight for a bigger piece of the revenue raised by the tournaments is the association's main agenda, Novak Djokovic's new project has come under criticism for not including any women's player in their cause. Vasek Pospisil, co-creator of the PTPA along with Djokovic, has assured everyone that a conversation with women's players was ongoing, but the players' association has still faced backlash for being totally male-centric.
Against that background, Serena Williams gave her thoughts on the whole Novak Djokovic-PTPA in her US Open post-match press conference on Tuesday. The 23-time Slam champion asserted that she didn't doubt Djokovic's intentions, and that she was eager to know more about the association.
"I'm obviously Team Novak Djokovic" - Serena Williams
The PTPA was joined by the likes of John Isner, Diego Schwartzman, Matteo Berrettini, Taylor Fritz, Hubert Hurkacz, Cristian Garín, Rajeev Ram, Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, Sumit Nagal and Rohan Bopanna, among others. At the same time, it was opposed by some of the most important figures in tennis: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
However, Novak Djokovic would be happy to know that he has the support of the biggest women's champion on tour, Serena Williams.
"I would be really interested to learn more about what everything is about because I feel like I can't really have an opinion unless I understand more deeply. I'm obviously always Team Djokovic," Williams said.
Serena Williams has herself been involved with the WTA Players Council, and is a firm believer in players having a voice at the top hierarchy. Having been at the top of the women's tour for more than two decades, the American knows the ins and outs of the women's governing body.
While Novak Djokovic and the other players behind the PTPA have not included the women in their fight for better player representation, several WTA players have reiterated that the women were already being fairly represented.
Serena Williams, however, was surprisingly cagey about that. When asked whether there was a need for a 'reorganization' on the WTA tour in terms of structure, the 38-year-old said:
"I've been on the WTA Tour for 30 years and I know a lot of stuff that's happening there. I would like to -- yeah, I can't really comment on that."
Novak Djokovic has formed the PTPA because he feels the ATP board has not done enough to fairly represent the players' interests, particularly when it comes to prize money. The Serb's strong stance on the issue has taken aback many in the tennis community, but not Serena Williams.
The men and women might not be united in the pay increase debate just yet, but Williams believes Djokovic might be on to something as she concluded,
"I do feel he has some very strong opinions that are often true. Yeah, I would just have to wait."Published 02 Sep 2020, 12:54 IST