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Novak Djokovic launches breakaway player association dividing players opinion

Current tennis world number one, Novak Djokovic, has launched a breakaway men’s player association dividing players opinion within professional tennis. The Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) was launched in New York at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre on August 29, where the US Open is currently being held.

Novak Djokovic and Canadian Vasek Pospisil are behind the new association who have approached men’s singles players ranked inside the top 500 and top 200 for doubles. The two hope the PTPA can exist alongside the ATP Player Council, the advisory board Djokovic resigned from as President, but have sparked debate and divide among fellow top tennis stars.

Roger Federer, Andy Murray, and Rafael Nadal all have publicly spoken against Novak’s player association, who have received support by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), International Tennis Federation (ITF) and all four major grand slams.

Talking on the day of the launch, Djokovic said, “Legally we are 100 per cent safe and we are allowed to form the player association. This is not a union. This is a player association, so we are not calling for boycotts. We are not forming parallel tours.

“Our goal is to try to secure support from the players and try to get an indication of support. We don’t have a minimum number of players that will sign or maximum number of players that will sign.

“We are hoping we can get the majority of those players. We are aware that it most likely will not be the case today, but we are giving it time.”

Earlier this year, 20-time grand slam winner, Roger Federer, said it was time “to stand united as players and as a sport,” calling for the men’s and women’s governing bodies to come together to help all players. Murray has questioned the lack of female representation within the new association with Pospisil saying the PTPA “recognise the importance of women’s tennis and their involvement”. Although, when asked about the lack of including women, world number 18, Milos Raonic, who’s joined the association, said he doesn’t know why.

The breakaway seems all quite disorganised and ego-driven according to ex-professional Sarah Borwell. The timing can be described as inconsiderate as many tournaments have suffered financially with events being postponed and the tour working tirelessly to get re-started. Events have only recently begun with the Western & Southern Open being held last week in Cincinnati.

The fact of the matter is, Novak would like the players to gain back control over decisions that concerns them. Most of the notable top tennis players have decided not to travel to New York for this year’s US Open over fears of coronavirus where Novak Djokovic is in action. He takes on current British number two, Kyle Edmund in the next round.

Author: James Parker