All You Need to Know About Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil’s Players Association

Published 11/28/2020, 9:59 AM EST
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his group stage match against Germany’s Alexander Zverev Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs


Just before US Open 2020, Novak Djokovic alongside Vasek Pospisil announced the creation of the Professional Tennis Players Association(PTPA). In what has since proven to be a polarising move, Djokovic and Pospisil are the central figures in the newly formed players’ body.

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Why did Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil form the PTPA?

Before the creation of PTPA, Novak Djokovic was the president of the ATP Player Council, and Vasek Pospisil was a member of the council as well. But both the players weren’t happy with the way things were working inside ATP. They have said that the ATP system is flawed and has nothing for the players.

PTPA was created to give the players a representation and authority amongst various other organizations in tennis. Djokovic has often said that ATP and tournaments have a monopoly on the decisions and thus players have a very less role in influencing these decisions which are crucial to the players.

Vasek Pospisil reacts during the Sofia Open final. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

Vasek Pospisil has laid out the prime intention of the PTPA.

“The whole purpose of the PTPA is strictly to organize and unite the players, and be represented in a proper way where we actually have the ability to impact major decisions that are made that affect our livelihoods.”

What do Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil say about the ATP Players Council?

Djokovic and Pospisil have been ultra-critical of the ATP Player Council. Djokovic said, “These are political games that take place behind the scenes and you barely see anything written about it.”  

Pospisil has narrated his experience of being in the player council he felt that it is a very broken system.

“So many players constantly complaining about how things are run—everything from the revenue share to representation to just you name it. So I joined the council and I realized that it was a very broken system.”

Novak Djokovic during a news conference. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

How many players have signed up for the association?

Now the PTPA is looking to support all the top 500 singles players as well as the top 200 doubles players. But as the breakout association has been polarising, many have the eagerness to join and many are against the idea as well.

The first to join the association alongside Djokovic and Pospisil were John Isner and Sam Querrey. They were also a part of the ATP Players Council.

And in its early weeks, PTPA got an early boost as Milos Raonic revealed his intentions of joining the association. Tired and displeased with the leadership at the ATP during the pandemic break, the Canadian wants help for the lower-ranked players. Furthermore, French Open 2020 semifinalist Diego Schwartzman has also joined the association.

Many other players like Alexander Zverev are leaning towards the players’ body but have not made a solid decision on it yet.

Why are Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are against PTPA?

Roger Federer shakes hands with Rafael Nadal. (Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal was among the first players to reject Djokovic’s PTPA. During the tough COVID-19 period, Rafa wanted all players and authorities to come together. The tennis world is facing a lot of problems and the idea of PTPA was not the solution according to Rafa and thus he didn’t join PTPA.

“These are moments where big things can be achieved as long as the world of tennis is united. We all, players, tournaments, and governing bodies have to work together. We have a bigger problem and separation and disunion is definitely not the solution.”

Furthermore, replying to the above tweet, Roger Federer also reiterated and called for unity among players, and thus even he hasn’t joined the PTPA.

Other critics of the PTPA include Andy Murray and US Open 2020 champ Dominic Thiem, who have clearly stated that ATP is working fine at the moment and they don’t need a PTPA.

Are WTA Players allowed in the association?

The WTA logo. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

In the initial picture that Djokovic and Pospisil posted during their announcement, there were no female players. It was a controversial decision and Djokovic has been asked a lot of questions.

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But during the Italian Open, Djokovic had clarified that PTPA is not a men’s-only association and thus WTA players will be welcomed.

“We have, as I said again, we are not just men’s players association. We want women to be involved. There are around 200 WTA players that signed.”

Further, Pospisil has also assured that WTA players will be admitted to the PTPA.

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Bhavishya Mittal

1081 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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