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Novak Djokovic-led PTPA is potentially splitting the players, says new ATP Player Council President 

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic
Rudra Biswas
Modified 11 Sep 2020, 14:21 IST

On Sunday, tournament favorite Novak Djokovic was defaulted from the 2020 US Open after he accidentally hit a lineswoman with a ball he had whacked in frustration. The case caused a storm on social media as expected, and the Serb was bashed vehemently for his behavior.

But this is not the only controversy in recent times featuring the 17-time Major winner. At the end of last month, Novak Djokovic had resigned from the ATP Player Council to head a new players' union called the Professional Tennis Players Association.

The project has been on Djokovic's mind since 2018. Back then he had made a passionate plea to his fellow players to fight for more lucrative rewards at tournaments, and now he has put his vision into practice.

This new body, which has since been joined by more than 60 ATP players, was opposed by Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, who are still the members of the Player Council.

There has been a roster change in the council since Novak Djokovic departed. Kevin Anderson has replaced the Serb as the President of the ATP Player Council, and he spoke to a few days ago about Djokovic's new association and other ATP political matters.

Kevin Anderson on reasons behind Novak Djokovic's departure from the ATP Player Council

Novak Djokovic resigned as the President of the ATP Players Council
Novak Djokovic resigned as the President of the ATP Players Council

When Novak Djokovic decided to break away from the main tour, Anderson joined forces with Nadal and Federer in penning a letter to the PTPA posing several questions regarding the bylaws of the association.

"For quite a while, there's been talk of players trying to form some sort of either association or union. And that's a very tricky road to go down, especially when you look at the way that the ATP is structured. You know, basically the ATP has a share between the players and the tournaments," Anderson said while commenting on the tall order in front of Novak Djokovic's bid for unionization.

Anderson also revealed what might have been the possible motivations behind Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil (the co-creator of PTPA) creating their new association.

"It's not just prize money, there's scheduling, there's commitments. And I think sort of what's transpired is, a few players thought that maybe a better option to get what they feel players deserve is to sort of break away from the current structure of the ATP," Anderson said.
"And that's why you've seen this new players' association being formed, led by obviously Novak Djokovic and Pospisil," Anderson continued.

"Having unity and players working together is of utmost importance" - Anderson

Kevin Anderson worked with Novak Djokovic in the Player Council for the last 4 years
Kevin Anderson worked with Novak Djokovic in the Player Council for the last 4 years

The Player Council members didn't feel the same way about the situation as Novak Djokovic did. Anderson on his part believes that the new ATP structure needed some time; as the old adage goes, Rome wasn't built in a day.

The new ATP Player Council President is also of the opinion that Novak Djokovic's vision is short-sighted, and that the Serb hasn't acknowledged and recognized the improvements in the structure of the sport since 2012.

While the two-time Major finalist lamented Novak Djokovic and Pospisil having left the council after having worked tirelessly for better financial rewards, he believes the timing of the move on Djokovic's part was not right. The South African also opined that the Novak Djokovic-led association did not have clearly defined roles and bylaws.

"Where I feel like it's potentially splitting the players, and I think in a time like this, especially with the COVID crisis, having unity and players working together is of utmost importance. And just having this association that sort of doesn't necessarily have defined roles of how can fit into the ATP structure makes me a little bit concerned. And that's one of the reasons I was not for it right now." Anderson claimed.

Published 11 Sep 2020, 13:45 IST
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