The men’s tennis hierarchy is bracing for an earthquake after Novak Djokovic quit as president of the Player Council, with plans afoot to form a new organisation for players.
The New York Times reported on Saturday that the world No. 1 and fellow tennis political animal Vasek Pospisil of Canada both resigned from the board in the run-up to Monday’s start of the quarantined US Open in New York.
The shock move comes amid struggles to get tennis up and running in a somewhat reduced form as the COVID-19 crisis shows few signs of disappearing.
“After two years on the ATP Player Council, I am resigning from my position as the player representative for the 51-100 ranking positions,” Pospisil tweeted.
“It has become clear that, as a player council member within the current struspisilcture of the ATP, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to have any significant impact on any major decisions made by our tour.”
Reports indicate that a number of players are prepared to sign onto the breakaway group, though the weighty opinions of icons Roger federer and Rafael Nadal remain unknown.
The new group – to be called the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) – is awaiting player signatures on a document which was distributed during this week’s “Cincinnati” Masters being played inside the New York tournament health bubble.
The Times said the document does not seek to replace the ATP but will better represent/protect players.
Djokovic and Pospisil are remaining silent amid the growing firestorm. The Serb avoided media after his Friday night win into the “Cincinnati” finals.
He claimed he “was not feeling well on court today and it worsened after the match,” after beating Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(0)..
The ATP, founded in 1990 as a result of player dissatisfaction with the then-ruling bodies of the sport, had no comment.
The ATP represents the interest of both players and tournaments commercial agents, a dual role which Djokovic has long believed slights the athletes.