Dominic Thiem’s manager Herwig Straka backed the ATP’s decision to reduce prize money at tournaments because of the pandemic and that some players, like Vasek Pospisil, were ‘playing martyrs’.
A lot of the players have criticized the ATP’s decision to slash prize money significantly. A few, like Denis Shapovalov, also hinted that it was affecting player motivation.
Meanwhile, Posipisil, who co-founded the Professional Tennis Players’ Association along with World No 1 Novak Djokovic last August, had launched a tirade against ATP chief Andrea Gaudenzi during the Miami Masters.
Though both Pospisil and Djokovic insist that the PTPA does not have a conflict of interest with the men’s governing body ATP, a lot of present and former players see the rebel body as divisive.
“If you don’t reduce the prize money in times of Covid, there will be no more tournaments,” Straka was quoted as saying German publication Kleine Zeitung recently.
“It would be economic suicide. Most players understand this, but some like Pospisil are playing it martyrs. Some seek to destabilize the world.”
While the PTPA is a player only body, tournaments have a 50 per cent stake in the ATP. Straka is a member of the ATP Board of Directors and also the Tournament Director for the Vienna Open.
“There is an interest on the part of some players in destabilizing the association,” he added.
“But this is due to personal interests and animosities. It’s a shame, as the ATP is an organization in which the players have 50 percent of the right to make decisions. You won’t find it anywhere else.”
Thiem’s manager also said that the Austrian was in the process of regrouping for the season ahead. The 27-year-old hasn’t had the best start to the season – he lost in the Round of 16 at the Australian Open and has looked a shadow of his previous self in the two tournaments he played after that.
Thiem lost in the quarterfinals in Doha and the second round in Dubai.
“It was a combination of several factors,” Straka said.
“He reached important milestones in 2020 that he would never have dreamed of. And when you are at the summit, it goes downhill again. After Australia he got a slight mental dent – and then his body hurts more.
“But there is no reason to be pessimistic. He is now in the process of gathering himself and recharging his batteries and will attack again at the start of the claycourt season.”