Billie Jean King Feels Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal Should Have Done More to Change Tennis, Praises Novak Djokovic

Published 11/11/2021, 8:05 AM EST
Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Rafael Nadal of Spain and Roger Federer of Switzerlan wait to go on stage during the ATP Heritage Celebration at The Waldorf=Astoria on in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)


The tennis legend Billie Jean King is a 12-time Grand Slam champion and one of the biggest icons of the sport, ever. In a recent interview, King applauded the unique personality of Novak Djokovic. She believes Djokovic is more outspoken than Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

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Novak Djokovic, along with Vasek Pospisil, founded the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA). The goal behind forming this association was to establish a self-governed structure for all the players.

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Novak Djokovic is different, says Billie Jean King

Billie Jean King is a pivotal reason why equal pay for tournaments exists on the WTA and ATP tour. Recently, in an interview with AS, she applauded the contributions of Novak Djokovic towards the sport. When asked about the big three’s impact, in terms of changes in tennis, King gave her opinion.

She said, “Djokovic is unique and different. He’s very smart and more forthright about change than the other two. I wish they (Federer and Nadal) weren’t so sure, that they talked more off the track, because it has to be done. Federer once demonstrated for the players association to stick together, and he was great, but there is still a lot of work ahead.”

Sep 2, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after recording match point against Tallon Griekspoor of Netherlands in a second round match on day four of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

King herself has been extremely vocal throughout her career in addressing social issues, she’s one of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). Here, she seemed to express some disappointment that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal didn’t use their influence to change some aspects of the game.

What is Professional Tennis Players Association?

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The Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) is an association of female and male tennis players. The World No.1 Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil founded it in 2019. The organization represents singles players in the top 500 of the ATP and WTA rankings and doubles players in the top 200.

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Paris Masters – Accor Arena, Paris, France – November 7, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic holds the trophy and celebrates winning his final match against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

The PTPA is bringing together and organizing tennis players worldwide to promote openness and justice in professional tennis decision-making. The PTPA’s goal is to provide a fair and long-term competitive environment for today’s players as well as future generations.

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What do you make of Billie Jean King’s comments?

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Atri Bhatt

396 articles

Atri Bhatt is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. He is pursuing his Master's degree in Sports Management from Deakin University, Australia. In addition to critically analysing the game, he also plays tennis professionally.

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