ATP boss Andrea Gaudenzi has called for a united effort as tennis tries to regroup amid the COVID-19 crisis, adding that now is not the time to muddy the political waters with talk of a possible player breakaway.
The former Italian player spelled out his thoughts to Le Figaro during the Paris Masters, being played at the Bercy arena without fans due to a fresh virus lockdown in France.
No. 1 Novak Djokovic so far stands alone among the sport’s iconic figures in his campaign to challenge the ATP hierarchy through formation of the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA).
He has support from relative tennis minors including John Isner, co-founder Vasek Pospisil and Sam Querrey – but Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have said they are not interested.
Gaudenzi is trying to calm the waters as the ATP struggles with a pandemic which has cut the 2020 calendar to the bone.
The outlook for 2021 is also uncertain, with the exact fate or format of January’s Australian tennis summer a complete mystery depending on the mood of the government and quarantine restrictions.
“Obviously this has been a very difficult period for the players,” he told Le Figaro. “We were in limbo until the end of July on when the Tour would resume and where the US Open would be held.
“There was frustration among many. I have been a player myself and I understand their state of mind, but we listened to their complaints.
“We will all meet together at the end of November and December. We are of course open to discussions (with the PTPA), but the time has come for unity and not for conflicts.
“It wouldn’t work and everyone would lose. Tournaments need players and players need tournaments. We cannot achieve the necessary changes if there are divisions.
“We must fight together to defend the best interests of tennis above all. Today we need consistency.”