Full ATP statement on PTPA as tennis body vows ‘to do everything in its powers to protect its interests’

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In a stern response to the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) announcing that it wants to “create transparency and fairness throughout decision-making in professional tennis”, the ATP has insisted that “players’ interests, and those of the Tour as a whole, must and will continue to be protected under its governance”.

Tension in men’s tennis has been simmering since August 2020 after world No 1 Novak Djokovic, Canadian Vasek Pospisil and American John Isner announced that they would break away from the ATP Player Council and form the PTPA.

They insisted that they hoped to co-exist with the Player Council, but added they were “not a union” and wanted to fight for players’ rights.

However, the ATP made it clear they were against the forming of the PTPA while the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray also revealed they would not join the new organisation.

Earlier this week the PTPA announced that they had named an advisory board and a communications firm, adding “the PTPA movement has united & mobilized tennis players from around the globe in order to create transparency & fairness throughout decision-making in professional tennis”.

And the ATP has issued a strongly-worded response in which they vow to protect their interests.

The full statement read: “Protecting and advancing the interests of players has been a core principle of the ATP since it was founded as a player association in 1972. In 1990, this was furthered through the formation of the ATP Tour, an equal partnership between players and tournaments. Through this, players obtained something unique in sports: an equal voice on every decision in the board room of the Tour.

“Today, ATP management, together with the Board and the ATP Player Council, whose representatives are democratically elected by all players, work week-in and week-out to advance the interests of players. This includes the recent development of an ambitious Strategic Plan that has the potential to deliver game-changing benefits to players through strengthened top tier events, 50-50 profit sharing, increased prize money and bonus pool, full transparency of audited tournament financials, raised tournament standards and long-term stability for the Tour.

“This constructive collaboration, which has seen the ATP Tour develop into one of the world’s leading sports & entertainment properties over the past 30 years, underscores our belief that the players’ interests, and those of the Tour as a whole, must and will continue to be protected under ATP governance.

“By contrast, the creation of a separate player entity provides a clear overlap, divides the players, and further fragments the sport. Fragmentation has been consistently identified as the single biggest threat to tennis’ growth potential by leading experts, from within and beyond sports, which is something the ATP is currently working to address through the Strategic Plan, as well as through the new T-7 working group, with enhanced collaboration with the WTA, Grand Slams and ITF.

“We also take this opportunity to highlight the numerous benefits associated with players being in good standing with ATP, including annual pension contributions, travel grants, insurance cover, bonus pool payments, player and medical services, and more. ATP will continue to do everything in its powers to protect the interest of its members, both players and tournaments, and the many livelihoods that the Tour supports.”

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