Shortly before the start of Wimbledon, tension is rising again in professional tennis as the players’ association founded by Novak Djokovic, the world’s number one, is at odds with the Association of Tennis Professionals after advocating for delaying the imminent vote on the ATP proposal. Strategic plan.
Ten months after Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil, ranked 66, led a group of players to form the Professional Tennis Players Association, the association has revealed a more formal structure. It has announced a new website, a new advisory council and a communications team. The PTPA has also received support from the National Hockey League Players Association and the Major League Soccer Players Association.
The Canada-based PTPA will be led by Chief Executive Officer Adam Larry, who previously worked with the NHLPA. The advisory council includes prominent investor Bill Ackman, founding CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, and Rebecca MacDonald, founder and CEO of Just Energy Group Inc.
Djokovic and Pospisil have frequently criticized conflicts of interest within the ATP and its overall governance structure. They have also advocated for lower-ranking players to receive more money from the tennis ecosystem. However, during this week’s launch, the PTPA has focused on delaying an imminent vote on ATP’s strategic plan spearheaded by ATP CEO Andrea Gaudenzi.
Since his appointment as CEO in 2020, Gaudenzi has championed ATP’s current plan to increase revenue by adding digital rights under the same company, ATP Media. The ATP says its proposed plan, which would take effect in 2023, would benefit players through a larger cash prize, a 50-50 share of winnings and full transparency of audited tournament finances.
The PTPA, which defines itself as “created by the players for the players,” has criticized the plan for being vague and called for more transparency for the players. On its website, the association has posted a series of questions, stating the need for more clarity on the 30-year plan.
“Thirty years is a long time and it will have a profound and lasting effect on the players of today and generations to come,” Djokovic said in a statement. “We simply need transparency and answers to important questions.”
His move has been severely criticized by the ATP, which accused the PTPA of dividing players and further fragmenting the sport. “Creating a separate player entity provides a clear overlap, divides the players and further fragments the sport,” said the ATP.
“Fragmentation has been consistently identified as the greatest threat to tennis growth potential by leading experts inside and outside the sport, something the ATP is working to address through the Strategic Plan, as well as through the new group of T-7 job, with enhanced collaboration with WTA, grand slams and ITF. “
“We also take this opportunity to highlight the many benefits associated with keeping players up-to-date with ATP, including annual pension contributions, travel grants, insurance coverage, bonus payments, services. doctors and players, and more. The ATP will continue to do everything in its power to protect the interests of its members, both players and tournaments, and the many livelihoods that the Tour supports. “
Since Djokovic, Pospisil and dozens of male players gathered on an outside court in Flushing Meadows before the US Open in August, the tension between the PTPA and the ATP has been constant. The ATP has frequently tried to portray the group as divisive and detrimental to the tour. Djokovic and Pospisil resigned from the players council in August and later criticized an ATP rule that prohibited Djokovic from running for the council due to his role in the PTPA.
At the Miami Open in March, Pospisil publicly criticized Gaudenzi during an on-court outburst a day after the pair spoke at a meeting between players and ATP officials.
The proposed association was criticized in August due to the perceived vagueness of its objectives and the absence of female players during its initial meetings. The PTPA now says that the association is currently open to the top 350 ranked singles and 150 doubles players, both men and women.
Reaction to the PTPA among players has been divided. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal previously exchanged comments on Twitter calling for unity, however, Djokovic said in early June that support for the PTPA was up to 75% among the top 500 male players.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism