Around a fortnight ago, Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil shook the very foundations of tennis when they resigned from the ATP Player Council and announced the formation of the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA). The rebel player association was met with widespread opposition, and many questioned their motives and timing - including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
In a recent interview with Tennis Majors, Vasek Pospisil spoke about the difficulty of forming the union without the support of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, and how they plan to bridge the gap in the future.
Despite being optimistic about either one of Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal eventually joining the PTPA, Pospisil also maintained that the sport would always be bigger than the two legends.
Difficult without Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on board: Vasek Pospisil
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are undoubtedly two of the most powerful figures in the world of tennis. The duo are known to influence a lot of things both on and off the court, and are often believed to be the masterminds behind the decisions taken by the ATP.
If Federer and Nadal had joined the PTPA, it would have not only impacted ATP adversely but also elevated the rebel association to new heights. Vasek Pospisil, therefore, rues the absence of both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, but feels that their decision has a lot to do with their misinterpretation of the PTPA.
“It’s difficult," Pospisil said. "It doesn’t help, for sure. One, the statements, I wish they had spoken to us (first) – maybe they didn’t want to – I feel there’s a misinterpretation of what it is we’re trying to do and I feel like that is the main counter-argument against it. So suddenly if you take that away (the misinterpretation), suddenly there’s no counter-argument that makes sense, from a players’ side.”
I would love to be able to speak to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal: Vasek Pospisil
Despite being at the receiving end of a resounding ‘no’ from both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, Vasek Pospisil remains upbeat about one of the duo shifting allegiance to the PTPA in due time. The Canadian especially singled out Rafael Nadal, and hinted that the Spaniard could be best suited to make the switch as he has been quite vocal about players' rights in the past.
“I would love to be able to speak to them if they would like to. I’d love to try to speak to them.” Pospisil added. “I think historically, Nadal is a super player and has been pretty vocal, so I’m optimistic that at least one of those two will join.”
In a more forthright take on the matter, Pospisil questioned the power wielded by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. He believes that the Swiss and the Spaniard are ultimately no more than just a couple of players, who would have no standing on their own in front of 500 other players.
The Canadian did admit the extent of their influence though. He conceded that some might support the legendary duo, but stressed that that doesn't make them bigger than the sport.
“But they’re also not the (whole) sport, they’re two players. And this is where they get almost too much credit for how big they are,” Pospisil continued. “Because what are two players (going) to do if 500 are unified and two aren’t? Obviously, because they have so much power they can persuade some players that are not as strong-minded, they can influence certain players because of their star power. But honestly, the sport is much bigger than just a couple of names.”