Going All the Way for the Players’ Sake, Novak Djokovic Reveals a Brutal Reality That Makes His Association a Necessity

Published 10/16/2023, 5:45 AM EDT

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There’s a famous saying- if you’re going to rebel, do it with purpose. The world number one in tennis, Novak Djokovic certainly has a passionate purpose driving him. The Serb, while currently aiming for his 25th major Grand Slam title, also has a fire in his belly for his ongoing fight for the future of the sport and players. With his latest interview lifting the glamorous veil of professional tennis, his PTPA finds more relevance in the changed landscape of the sport.

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Tennis has predominantly been an individual game. But when it comes to addressing issues like equitable compensation, retirement benefits, pensions, and equal opportunity, it’s very important to bring the players under the same umbrella. Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil are exactly doing that. But how?

Novak Djokovic backed PTPA vows to foster a collective spirit among the players

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Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil launched the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) on August 29, 2020. It is an organization which is by the players, for the players. The purpose of it is to bring more transparency into the system and support players irrespective of their rankings by giving them a platform to voice their opinions. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Nole raises his hand to make the future of players and the sport safe and secure. Here’s what he said on the importance of the existence of PTPA.

“The fact that I mean that both in ATP & WTA governance you have 50% of you know ATP and WTA belongs to player and 50% to tournaments. Most of the cases you’ll always going to have a conflict of interest. If you actually go to the very structure and the system that is in place. I was part of the council and President of the council for 6-7 years. So, I understand you know how things work. Players get the short end of the stick, 90 plus percent of the time,” said Novak Djokovic.

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He further added, “So why? Just because the system is structured and founded in such a way which doesn’t allow you know players to have a decision-making role. We do have our players’ board representatives that are you know, three and three from the tournament side. Then we have the CEO or the President, that breaks the even vote. But in many cases, when you want to make a significant difference you have to have a supermajority. Most of the time that’s not going to happen because two sides have just different interests. So that’s why you know, PTA needs to exist and needs to be there for the players. Because it’s just representing and having 100% of the players’ interest at its core.”

 

To do something that has never been done before will always be challenging and true leaders rise up to that challenge. Novak Djokovic is a born leader and has always been vocal about the rights of players no matter what. How’s his journey with the PTPA been so far?

It hasn’t been an easy journey for Djokovic and PTPA

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Djokovic wanted to improve the quality of life of those players who rank lower than what it required to earn some good money. Tennis is an expensive sport and to sustain oneself in the sport and earn a living is tough for those not competing in Grand Slams. The PTPA represents singles players in the top 500 and doubles in the top 200 across ATP and WTA rankings. However, it has been mentioned earlier that it has no intention to replace the ATP but to provide players with the proper representation on the bigger stage. Yet it has faced a backlash over the timing of its introduction amid the global pandemic.

via Reuters

Players like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray openly went against this idea and refrained from supporting the PTPA. But not all is cloudy for Djoker and Co. as he has also received widespread support from current and former players across the globe. The initial 2 years were a bit difficult for the association. But now, with the introduction of CEO Ahmad Nassar and three former players (Kim Clijsters, Sania Mirza, and Marco Baghdatis) into the rebel organization, things are looking quite bright.

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All the tennis fans across the world only wish to see a free and fair sport irrespective of which side you’re in. Can Djokovic-backed PTPA shape the future of the sport? Share your opinions in the comment box.

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Written by:

Sayantan Roy

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Sayantan Roy is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. He has been following tennis for almost 17 years. His sheer love and enthusiasm for the racket sport has been a major influence in him wanting to build a career in sports journalism.
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Edited by:

Mitali Dey

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