Novak Djokovic's decision to resign from the ATP Players' Council and form a separate player union has divided opinion among fellow ATP pros, fans and even former players.
Former World No. 8 Jurgen Melzer is the latest to give his view on the controversial issue. According to Melzer, Novak Djokovic's recent insinuation that the ATP has implemented a new rule barring PTPA members from joining the Players' Council is completely false.
The Austrian claimed there has been a law since as far back as 2006 which states that players part of a concurrent players' union are not allowed to join the Council.
"Novak Djokovic talks about the fact that certain regulations were put in place, overnight, so that no one from the PTPA was allowed to participate in the council," Melzer said. "This is absolute nonsense. These statutes have been in existence since 2006."
I am surprised that Novak Djokovic is surprised: Jurgen Melzer
Novak Djokovic joined hands with Vasek Pospisil in August this year to create the organization known as the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA). The stated objective of the PTPA is to protect the rights of the players, but the timing of Djokovic's move - given that it came right in the middle of the pandemic - was questioned by many.
While the Serb did receive support from a few players on the men's tour, he also drew considerable heat from some of the sport's big names. Even his two greatest rivals - Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer - voiced their opposition to the creation of the PTPA.
Despite all that, Novak Djokovic was recently nominated by the players to retake his position as a member of the ATP Players' Council. The 33-year-old took that opportunity to clarify his position of helplessness, claiming that a rule has now been put in place which disallows him from joining the Council.
Jurgen Melzer, however, believes that it is perfectly reasonable to bar PTPA members from joining the ATP Council.
"It seems quite logical to me that it is impossible to be in two associations which are 'concurrent'," Melzer said. "So I am surprised that Djokovic is surprised. And especially that he thinks that this rule has been developed against him overnight."Published 30 Nov 2020, 23:48 IST