John Millman hits back at Steve Johnson’s ‘untrue’ accusations against ATP

Steve Johnson in action

John Millman has defended the ATP Board against accusations from fellow professional player Steve Johnson, who believes officials are putting their own interests ahead of the sport.

World No 85 Johnson took to Twitter to criticise the ATP for “hurting the sport” after “Roland Garros once again unilaterally decides to change the date of their event, disrupting the calendar to accommodate themselves without respect for the consequences and impact it has on the rest of tennis”.

His tweet came on the back of the ATP, WTA and Grand Slam Boards backing French Open organisers’ decision to delay the clay-court major by one week due to the coronavirus restrictions in France, with the main draw now running from May 30 until June 13.

Johnson also expressed his frustration at the big reduction on prize money due to Covid-19 as some tournaments have dropped overall prize money by 60%, which the American condemned as he believes the Indian Wells Masters, which was cancelled for a second straight year due to Covid-19, was offering full prize money.

“‘We’ players are always told @ATPTOUR is such a great system cause we are “equal partners” Well, what type of system allows Masters 1000 events to pay 60% less when @bnpparibasopen is trying to host their event at 100%,” he wrote.

However, Australian Millman hit back by revealling that the Indian Wells Masters organisers were not “flexible” in terms of their dates, hence the tournament was cancelled.

He Tweeted: “Mate they didn’t get approval initially because they weren’t flexible with when they wanted to have the event. Options were given with available weeks, they didn’t want any of them, wanted one specific week.

“Multiple tournaments were going to be disrupted with their spot that they had locked in for years. To suggest that they aren’t getting approval because of board members wanting to benefit from prizemoney reductions (due to COVID) is simply untrue.”

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