‘That is disappointing’ – Novak Djokovic reveals ATP voted against him making shock return to players council

Kevin Palmer
Novak Djokovic in action

Novak Djokovic has spoken out against the ATP after he revealed the organisation voted against his return to the ATP council on Tuesday evening. 

Djokovic was convincingly beaten by Daniil Medvedev at the ATP Finals on Wednesday night in London and then in his post-match interview threw up as many talking points as his performance on the court.

The 17-time Grand Slam winner admitted he was struggling physically as he lost 6-3, 6-3 to his Russian rival before his post-match briefing saw the Serbian emphatically reject reports that he has requested to make a return to the ATP council.

The world No 1 quit the ATP Player Council in August to set up the Professional Tennis Players’ Association (PTPA), stating he needed to resign as head of the players’ council as a result.

Now he has admitted he is ready to return to the ATP role, as he insisted there was no reason why he could not serve on both bodies.

While Djokovic was keen to point out that he and his fellow PTPA colleague Vasek Pospisil have not asked to rejoin ATP council, he offered a frank and detailed explanation as he spoke to reporters via zoom.

“I have seen that you guys are reporting that Vasek and I have asked to go on to the council and that is not true,” stated Djokovic. “I have been nominated by players, that’s how it works.

“I have not proactively run for the council, but I have been nominated by a large group of players and I am honoured to represent players. That is why I accepted the nomination, as well as Vasek.

“We just feel there is a responsibility when you are nominated. It means you have trust and credibility from a lot of players, so we made ourselves available.

“But then the rule by ATP board was voted on last night, which basically doesn’t allow any active player to be part of the council and any other organisation. That is disappointing, to be honest.”

Djokovic went on to offer a strong defence of the PTPA, as he insisted his breakaway group was not a threat to the ATP as he issued a sly dig at the game’s governing body by suggesting they are not doing enough for players.

“None of the organisations right now and in the history of tennis have represented players rights,” added Djokovic. “We are part of the ATP, which is 50 per cent players and 50 per cent tournaments, with the majority of the time having a conflict of interest.

“Players who have signed a document to be part of the PTPA have expressed the discontent with the way the system works these days, especially for the lower-ranked players.

“This is why we founded the PTPA. We want to collaborate with the ATP, but this vote last night was a strong message from the ATP that they don’t want PTPA at all in the system.

“They don’t want any player involved in council and PTPA at the same time. It’s very clear.

“We have had some conversations with the ATP on how we can work together. We know what we deserve as players and we are fighting for better treatment.

“It is unfortunate that the ATP’s position is such as they have voted on. Now we have to consider our next move and we will see what happens.”

Djokovic’s comments were clearly laced with some annoyance, with his PTPA now likely to be more determined than ever to promote change in the game as they look to pursue their own agenda.

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