ATP feud: Player Board reps ‘surprised’ by coverage, would welcome Roger Federer and co back

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic doubles

The ATP Player Board representatives have defended the decision to oust Chris Kermode as ATP chief, saying in a statement “this was not a decision made or driven by one of two individuals’ personal beliefs or agendas”.

The ATP Board last week decided not to renew Kermode’s contract as executive chairman and president when his current deal expires at the end of the year.

It later emerged that the three players’ representatives on the board – former player Justin Gimelstob, TV executive David Egdes and British lawyer Alex Inglot – all voted against Kermode.

The decision did not go down well with the likes Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka with the latter stating that “there are people on the ATP Board who shouldn’t be there“.

Novak Djokovic, President of the Player Council, has come in for a lot of criticism in recent days and the three representatives have decided to issue a press release to explain their stance.

The statement read: “Following recent comments, coverage and speculation, the three Player Board representatives have decided to clarify a few matters related to the roles of the Player Board representatives, the Player Council and the Council’s president in the President / Chairman vote taken last week.

“While it is somewhat surprising to see the amount of coverage dedicated to this internal governance decision, it has been disappointing to see the decisions and suspicions that have been stoked in that coverage.

“All members of the Player Council, including the 10 current players, as well as the three Player Board representatives, have spent months discussing and debating the merits and concerns with renewing Chris’ contract.

“We should not minimise the commitment and sacrifice of this Player Council to give back to their Tour and the sport they care deeply about – the time and effort that have dedicated to preparing for meetings, talking with the wider player group, debating late into the night just days before big tournaments commence, and discussing all matters consistently via emails and WhatsApp chats. This decision was also made while communicating with players, tournament members, ATP staff and management, senior stakeholders in the game, CEOs and chairmen of other sports, as well as our fellow board members.”

Federer admitted during the BNP Paribas Open that he “may have to get more involved” in politics again in the future “for the sake of the tour”.

The Player Board says they would welcome the “greatest icons” with open arms.

The statement continued: “It is worth adding at this point that have heard in recent days that some of our greatest icons are interested in re-entering the political conversations and helping us and the council guide the next phase of this sport’s growth. This is fantastic news and all of us welcome them and their unique perspectives. The player side and the whole ATP Tour benefit greatly from the commitment of players and the recent engagement of so many top players, which has helped the function and profile of the Player Council.

“In the end however, the Player Council, in consultation with the Player Board representatives, decided that the Play Board representatives were vest placed to make the decision on behalf of the player membership.

“The there Player Board representatives voted not to renew Chris’ contract and so, in accordance with the ATP bylaws, the renewal did not pass. To be clear, this was not a decision made or driven by one of two individuals’ personal beliefs or agendas.”

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