“Men’s Driven Initiative”: WTA Chief Reveals He Hasn’t Spoken to Novak Djokovic Led PTPA

Published 12/06/2020, 8:00 AM EST
Tennis – ATP Finals – The O2, London, Britain – Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during his group stage match against Germany’s Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Toby Melville


Apart from the turbulence caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Novak Djokovic created a huge controversy by forming his own players’ association. After resigning as the head of the ATP Council, Djokovic founded the Professional Tennis Players Association, along with member Vasek Pospisil.

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Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during his group stage match against Germany’s Alexander Zverev Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

The 17-time Grand Slam champion proposed a new players’ association to provide players with a self-governance structure that is independent of the ATP and to protect their interests. Djokovic clarified that he wanted the PTPA to co-exist with other governing bodies and is hoping to get the support of players on the ATP and WTA tour.

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WTA Chief on Novak Djokovic led PTPA

In a recent interview, chairman and CEO Steve Simon talked about the challenges faced by the WTA during the 2020 season. The host asked Simon about the position of the WTA regarding the PTPA and whether women players would get involved in the new players’ association.

Terming the PTPA as a men’s driven association, Simon revealed that the WTA has had no interaction with them. Although, he admitted that the Djokovic-led association has contacted many women players, but the WTA hasn’t interfered in those discussions.

“We haven’t had much interaction – we haven’t had any with the PTPA, that’s been a men’s-driven initiative. I know they’ve spoken to many of our players and we certainly haven’t gotten in the way of anybody speaking to anybody. That’s fine.” said Simon.

Tennis – ATP Finals – The O2, London, Britain – Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during his group stage match against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

Fully understanding the importance of communication, Simon believes that each player’s opinion should be acknowledged and respected. The chairman contended the players’ voices have led to many changes because of the WTA’s regular communication with them.

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“The key to anything I think right now is communication, the quality of it and a perception that everyone wants their voice to be heard and respected. And we have worked very hard on having regular communication with them. I think they’ve seen that their voice has resulted in changes in certain areas,” remarked Simon.

Roger Federer of Switzerland shakes hands with Rafael Nadal of Spain after defeating him in the Men’s Singles Semi Final at The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship at the All England Lawn and Tennis Club at Wimbledon on in London, England. (Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)

However, Simon asserted that if any of the players join the PTPA, the WTA will deal with the situation accordingly. Djokovic has spoken about welcoming the women’s players into the association and has reached out to Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens.

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But the World No.1 has received huge opposition from the other two heavyweights of the Big-3, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. The Roland Garros champion Nadal has talked about staying united in such precarious times, a proposition which has been supported by Federer.

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Kshitij Tayal

393 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

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