Djokovic’s PTPA, Federer’s ATP-WTA Merger and More: Big Talking Points of 2020 in Tennis

Published 12/31/2020, 1:27 AM EST
LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 21: Rafael Nadal of Spain shows his emotions after his straight sets defeat by Novak Djokovic of Serbia during the men’s singles semi final match on day seven of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at O2 Arena on November 21, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The short but hectic 2020 tennis season saw many thrilling moments on court and some frenzied debates off it. 


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One of the biggest talking points around the game this year, the Professional Tennis Players’ Association is a breakaway front floated by 17-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic after his exit from the ATP Player Council this year.

While some hailed the move, many, including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, did not favor the idea of separate bodies aiming for a single purpose, which is to give voice to players’ issues and cater to their interests.


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CINCINNATI, OH – AUGUST 17: A detailed view of an ATP TOUR logo on a tennis net during the semifinal round of the Western & Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 17, 2019 in Mason, Ohio. (Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

ATP-WTA merger

The idea of a merger between the governing bodies of men’s and women’s tennis was put forward by Roger Federer.

The Swiss star was of the opinion that the move would enable both the ATP and the WTA to tide over their financial losses wrought by the pandemic and drive the game forward. The idea was welcomed by WTA chief Steve Simon and was a big talking point for journalists and the game’s followers.

Electronic line calling

The electronic line calling was implemented this year in the quest for more accuracy and less controversy. Taking away the element of human error from line judges, the decision is left to Hawk-Eye cameras and computers. 

While successfully trialed and implemented at ATP and WTA events, the system was also introduced at the French Open this year.

Best-of-three sets for men at Grand Slams

Proposed by Novak Djokovic, the idea of reducing men’s matches at the Grand Slam to three-setters from five drew a mixed response from the game’s fraternity.

While some stars seemed sold on the idea, Rafael Nadal spoke for the Slams staying true to tradition. There were also others who chose to reserve their opinion on it.

VIENNA, AUSTRIA: Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts during his quarter finals match against Lorenzo Sonego of Italy on day seven of the Erste Bank Open tennis tournament at Wiener Stadthalle in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Thomas Kronsteiner/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic’s disqualification

There was a lot of noise around Novak Djokovic’s fourth-round disqualification at the US Open this year. The Serb was asked to forfeit the match against Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta and exit the event after accidentally striking a female line judge with a tennis ball.

Even as the Serb issued an apology, the fairness around the move was hotly debated in expert circles as well as in social media.

Frozen tennis rankings


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The ATP and WTA decided to freeze rankings of players till March 2021 so that they don’t drop events on account of likely event cancellations and lose out on a chance to play Grand Slams next year.

The move drew myriad reactions and comments from experts and tennis fans across the globe.


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Priyabrata Chowdhury

863 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.