“Not where we want it to be” Novak Djokovic on the PTPA
Novak Djokovic has had an incredible run in the 2021 season. He picked up three out of the four grand slams, increasing his tally to 20 and tying with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Additionally, he picked up titles at Belgrade and Paris. He attained the year-end no. 1 ranking for a record 7th year and is currently on his 346th week as the world no. 1. His next appearance will be in Turin, Italy where he will play at the 2021 Nitto ATP Finals.
Djokovic, who although has an excellent track record, is usually held in fewer regards than Federer and Nadal. This treatment is generally attributed to his outspoken and critical nature. However, Novak has continued to wield his words for what he believes is right. Recently, he spoke about PTPA (an organisation he co-founded) has fallen behind with regards to it’s long-term goals.
What is PTPA?
The Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) is an association of ATP and WTA tennis players founded by Vasek Pospisil and Novak Djokovic. The group represents singles players in the top 500 and doubles players in the top 200 of the ATP and WTA rankings. It was founded by players who had previously been members of the Association of Tennis Professionals Players Council. Members of the PTPA include Novak Djokovic, the outgoing president of the Council, and Vasek Pospisil.
The pair will serve as co-presidents of the PTPA for a two-year period. PTPA is governed by a board of trustees of nine members, to be elected annually. As the ATP is the representative of both players and tournaments, a greater degree of autonomy for players is sought by the members of the PTPA. According to proponents of the new association, the current structure makes having decisions in the best interests of the players difficult, given the conflicting and complex interests of tournaments, Grand Slam bodies and the ITF.
Their website says “In 2019, Vasek Pospisil and Novak Djokovic realized that the association that was founded in 1972 to protect the interests of professional tennis players, had grown into an anti-competitive organization that it once vowed to protect the players from. Vasek and Novak were inspired to launch a grassroots movement.
In 2020, at the US Open, their inspiration had grown into a movement, and that movement matured into an association committed to advocating for all players, at all levels, free from all conflicts of interest, so all players could focus on what they do best: train, compete and win — without worry. What began as a conversation in 2019, sparked a global movement to reform and grow the business of tennis. In 2021, The Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) was formally founded as a not-for-profit corporation in Canada that addresses player challenges and influences fair change within the business of professional tennis”.
What Novak Djokovic has to say about the slow progress of PTPA
In a recent interview, the Serb spoke about how the organization has fallen behind in achieving its long-term goals. He attributed these delays to the lack of wide official acknowledgement. “PTPA is not where we want to it be in terms of our long-term goals” said Djokovic.
Earlier this month, co-founder Vasek Pospisil had levelled some serious allegations against the ATP, accusing them of spreading misinformation about the PTPA . On a podcast called Behind The Racquet, Pospisil had said “to be honest, the things the ATP has said about us are all lies. This shows how afraid they are that players will start to have a say in a sport that is currently monopolized”.