The ATP reacted quickly on Wednesday after the breakaway player association spearheaded by Novak Djokovic announced a PR effort and appointed an advisory board.
While the content of the PTPA announcement was light on detail and substance, that didn’t stop ATP bosses from quickly unleashing their contrasting their point of view, labelling the as-yet-unformed player organisation an initiative which will “fragment” the already Balkanised sport.
“The creation of a separate player entity provides a clear overlap, divides the players, and further fragments the sport,” an ATP statement read.
“Fragmentation has been consistently identified as the single biggest threat to tennis’ growth potential by leading experts, from within and beyond sports, which is something the ATP is currently working to address …with the WTA, Grand Slams and ITF.”
The ATP added that it has been addressing plans to help players through the current crisis times and beyond, with initiatives including: recent development of an ambitious Strategic Plan that has the potential to deliver game-changing benefits to players through strengthened top tier events, 50-50 profit sharing, increased prize money and bonus pool, full transparency of audited tournament financials, raised tournament standards and long-term stability for the Tour.”
One of the Djokovic group’s main complaints concerns the tennis rich getting richer while the status quo players have struggled to get by on less prize money and events during the current COVID pandemic cutbacks.
“We also take this opportunity to highlight the numerous benefits associated with players being in good standing with ATP, including annual pension contributions, travel grants, insurance cover, bonus pool payments, player and medical services, and more,” the sanctioning body said.
“ATP will continue to do everything in its powers to protect the interest of its members, both players and tournaments, and the many livelihoods that the Tour supports.”