Vasek Pospisil has apologised for a foul-mouthed rant against ATP Tour chairman Andrea Gaudenzi during his first round match against Mackenzie McDonald at the Miami Open on Wednesday.
American qualifier McDonald advanced with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Pospisil, who swatted a ball out of court, smashed a racket and incurred a verbal abuse point penalty on set point of the opening set.
Asked during a changeover by umpire Arnaud Gabas what the problem was, 67th-ranked Pospisil unleashed a tirade focused on Gaudenzi.
— Lee S (@underarm_ace) March 24, 2021
“For an hour-and-a-half yesterday, chair of the ATP… screaming at me in a player meeting for trying to unite the players,” Pospisil said.
“For an hour and a half. The leader of the ATP. Get him out here. Why am I supporting this? If you want to default me, I’ll gladly sue this whole organization.”
Pospisil was one of the co-founders, along with World No 1 Novak Djokovic, of the Professional Tennis Players’ Association (PTPA).
Established in August last year, the PTPA is seen as a rebel player body and does not have the support of two of the biggest names in men’s tennis — Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Pospisil pulled himself together to win the second set, but McDonald, ranked 120th in the world, bounced back to seal the match and set up a second-round meeting with 18th-seeded American John Isner.
Isner is another player who has called for an economic overhaul in the sport, branding the ATP a “broken system” in February after it was revealed the pandemic-hit Miami Open – an elite Masters 1000 event for the ATP – had cut prize money for singles winners from $1.35 million in 2019 to just over $300,000 this year.
Pospisil said his meeting with the ATP had “unnerved” him.
“I want to sincerely apologise for my behaviour on the court in Miami earlier today,” Pospisil, who did not speak to the media after his match, said on Twitter. “I disrespected the game I love and for that I am truly sorry.
“By way of explanation, I felt deeply unnerved during a meeting between players and ATP executives last night, and I underestimated the toll those emotions took on me until I stepped onto the court today.