Djokovic resigns as ATP Player Council president, to form new body

Novak Djokovic is forming a rebel body called the Professional Tennis Players Association

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With the US Open, and his quest for the 18th major, starting in two days, Novak Djokovic has been caught up in another off-court matter. On Saturday, the World No 1 resigned as president of the ATP Players Council and is looking to form a rebel player body.

Canadian Vasek Pospisil has also resigned from his position in the ATP Player Council and is expected to join the new association.

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“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 wrote on Twitter.

“It has become clear that, as a player council member within the current structure of the ATP, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to have any significant impact on any major decisions made by our tour.”

World No 1 Djokovic was at the forefront of forming the ATP Player Fund for lower-ranked players during the lockdown forced by Coronavirus. The players have been at loggerheads with the ATP, the Association of Tennis Professionals that looks after men’s tennis.

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There was some controversy over the ATP executives refusing to take a pay cut during the five-month hiatus. Also, when tennis resumed in New York, with the relocated Cincinnati Masters, last Saturday, none of the ATP top bosses were in attendance.

According to the New York Times, the Djokovic-led body will be called the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) and a document detailing plans and objectives has been distributed to players, seeking their signatures.

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“The goal of the PTPA is not to replace the ATP, but to provide players with a self-governance structure that is independent from the ATP and directly responsive to player-members’ needs and concerns,” the newspaper quoted the document as saying.

Neither Djokovic, Pospisil, nor anyone from the ATP has commented on the new development yet. But Milos Raonic, who will face Djokovic in the Cincinnati final on Saturday, said that a “majority” of players were expected to sign in favour of the new association.

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On Saturday, the Serb overcame a sore neck to edge past Roberto Bautista Agut 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(0) in the semi-final of the Cincinnati Masters. However, Djokovic did not attend the post-match press-conference. According to the organisers, he “was not feeling well on court today and it worsened after the match.”