Written by By Staff Writer
A new players’ association created by Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal to help improve tennis governance has managed to put some distance between itself and its controversial predecessor
Djokovic and Nadal have joined forces with the ATP Player Council, the professional tennis tour’s governing body, and the ATP Tour Commission, a body which oversees the sports organization’s operation.
According to a statement the new five-man body, who will report directly to the ATP’s board of directors, will “strongly advocate on behalf of the player community on relevant tennis matters and will ensure the ATP PSC and ATP Tour are guided by the best interests of all players.”
The announcement comes nearly six months after the launch of “Change the Rules,” a group set up to represent the interests of players at events such as the Australian Open.
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as part of “Change the Rules.” Credit: Antoine de Ras/AAP/REX/Shutterstock
Change the Rules consisted of a core group including Djokovic, Nadal, Jack Sock, Aljaz Bedene and Gael Monfils.
Monfils, who was named into the group last year, recently criticized the creation of Change the Rules, questioning its effectiveness.
Other former players, such as Richard Gasquet and Marcel Granollers, have opposed the idea of creating a second body.
“I think Change the Rules got out of hand, it was not well thought out,” Granollers told the Australian Associated Press.
Djokovic and Nadal’s inclusion in the new players’ association has put the new group on stronger footing, according to Tennis Australia executive general manager Stephen Trumble.
“It’s an organization that’s now officially recognised by the ATP as its members,” Trumble told CNN.
But other players are unhappy with the players’ association’s newly named president, former US Open champion Sam Querrey.
World No. 6 Querrey appeared to bite the hand that fed him last month, when he backed the new players’ association despite appearing to lend his support to a rival group.
The US Open, one of the four grand slams, is run by the governing body of that sport, the United States Tennis Association (USTA).
World No. 3 Nadal had said earlier in April that the two players’ associations needed to become closer together.
“We have to sit down with them (the players’) association and sit with them in some kind of special forum to discuss with them what the problems are, what the things are, talk to them and try to solve them.”
There are tensions on several fronts, with several players urging the creation of a player-owned tour, or Open, to compete with the eight-tournament WTA.
Meanwhile, Rod Laver, who is ranked 42nd on the tennis players list, recently urged the ATP to form a similar body to change their business model.