Aussie great labels Novak Djokovic-led PTPA ‘tone deaf’ and says lack of women their ‘biggest downfall’
Australian tennis legend Todd Woodbridge has slammed the timing of the Novak Djokovic-led breakaway player association for “throwing this sort of bomb out there” when everybody is struggling.
Men’s tennis was thrown into turmoil on Saturday when world No 1 Djokovic along with Canadian Vasek Pospisil and American John Isner announced that they would break away from the ATP Player Council and form the new Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA).
However, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray immediately announced that they would not support the new players association as they felt “it is time for unity, not for separation”.
Doubles great Woodbridge also believed the timing of the move was wrong.
“Crazy times, there’s no doubt about that,” he told Channel 9’s Sports Sunday.
“Let me just start by saying this is tone deaf by the group that have decided to break away. The ATP is the players’ representation, they’ve got their seat at the table; they want more, they want more control of that.
“It’s just poor judgment at this time. Everybody’s losing jobs, millions are out of work, tournaments are struggling to stay up and afloat, and the tour’s been trying for the last six months to get back.
“This is the first week back and they throw this sort of bomb out there? I’m pretty disappointed with the way that they’ve gone with that timing.”
Murray went further and said the new PTPA’s decision not to include any women was a poor move and Woodbridge echoed his sentiments.
“But there’s the biggest downfall of all and that’s … where are the women? If you’re going to do this, tennis is the one sport that’s united in the world, with equal prize money, our majors are played together,” he said.
“We are better and stronger as one and we’re not standing up to that. This group has totally missed the mark on an opportunity to bring everybody together and I think that’s going to be their downfall.”
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