One of the main reasons for Andy Murray‘s apprehension towards Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil’s new players’ association was the non-involvement of female players to the plans. It seems like Murray has his wish. Novak Djokovic confirmed on Friday that he has spoken to top WTA stars Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens regarding the inclusion of female stars in the association.
However, Djokovic said that these talks of the new association and those with the WTA side are not new. “I’ve spoken to Serena about three days ago. Also to Sloane. Vasek has spoken to Sloane,” Djokovic said after his third-round win at the US Open 2020.
“Vasek and Sloane last year, before the Open, before the US Open, have managed to collect about 70% of the top 100 of participants at the US Open in singles, both men and women to collect their signatures and approval,” Djokovic added.
The world’s number one male player further explained that their legal representatives had approached the USTA and other Grand Slam events last year, with the backing of the signatures they received. This was to negotiate with them on several issues, including prize money.
However, the talks did not come through. “There was not response from all of them. The response we got from some of them was not approving, was negative. They did not accept to sit on the table and discuss with players about that. They referred to ATP and WTA,” Djokovic continued.
Djokovic further informed that the unsuccessful negotiations prompted them to create a legitimate organization this year and have more credibility. He said they hope it can in the future “be able to have and fight for the seat on the table in the decision making. The biggest decisions in our sport.”
The Serbian superstar admitted there are ongoing conversations between him and the likes of Williams and Stephens. “I’m going to reach out to more female tennis players,” Djokovic expressed.
He then threw more light on the future plans of the new association. “It’s going to take time. We also don’t have majority of the players in top 500 singles or top 200 doubles at the moment. We are gradually increasing,” Djokovic explained.
Djokovic expressed that the plan is for the new association to co-exist with the ATP system. There are many players on the men’s side who have opposed the new association and want to see how things go with the ATP structure.