Novak Djokovic, Ons Jabeur and Paula Badosa on controversial PTPA’s executive committee

Ons Jabeur walking

The Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) has announced its first-ever executive committee and Novak Djokovic, Ons Jabeur and Paula Badosa are among eight players who form part of the group.

Just over two years ago Djokovic, John Isner, Vasek Pospisil and Sam Querrey dropped a bombshell when they announced they would step down from the ATP Player Council to set up the PTPA.

The move did not go down well with the ATP’s top brass as well as the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, who were all quite vocal in their criticism of the PTPA.

At the time Djokovic insisted that “This is not a union. This is player association. So we are not calling for boycotts. We are not forming parallel tours”.

Fast forward to 2023 and the association finally has an executive committee with co-founders Djokovic, Isner and Pospisil joined by Hubert Hurkacz from Poland as well as women’s world No 2 Jabeur, Spaniard Badosa, American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Zheng Saisai from China.

Pospisil is pleased with the calibre of players who are part of the committee.

“There’s every indicator out there now that this will be a huge moment for our sport,” the Canadian told Reuters.

“Every player that we have on there is so respected, very well liked, intelligent… They’ll be huge assets and we’re very lucky that they’ve joined.”

He added: “Ultimately, I could see why they would want to keep the status quo. (But) I think it’s only fair and right that players have their association just as, you know, most other sports do.”

Executive Director Ahmad Nassar explained that it is important to inform players just what the PTPA is all about.

“It’s an advocacy group on behalf of tennis players. Okay, cool story. But then what? What does that mean?” he told Reuters. “I think we have to answer that.”

Nassar also downplayed suggestions that the PTPA could follow in the LIV Tour’s footsteps and set up a rival league. The Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Tour broke away from the PGA and European PGA with many top players moving across as they offered more money.

But the key for the PTPA is to make sure that players are making a decent living through tennis.

“We’d engage with anybody who was interested in making sure the players were compensated more fairly, and more players are able to make a living playing the sport they love,” Nassar said.

The PTPA is also expected to announce its guiding principles over the next week or so.