Why Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray are against Novak Djokovic’s proposal for tennis players union
Tennis star Novak Djokovic has proposed the idea of forming a players union to represent men’s professional tennis players. According to an Associated Press report, Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil would be the co-presidents of the Professional Tennis Players Association. Djokovic currently serves as the president of the ATP Player Council, which advises the ATP Board of Directors.
While Djokovic is one of the most notable names in the sport, his idea is not one backed by his fellow starts. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal spoke out shortly after the announcement and said that they object to such an idea.
“It is a time for even greater collaboration, not division,” Federer and Nadal said in a joint statement.
That response came after Pospisil tweeted a photo that showed a group of male tennis players wearing masks on a US Open court and captioned it “we are excited to announce the beginning of the the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA).”
Currently, tennis players aren’t represented by a union.
“We are not calling for boycotts. We are not forming parallel tours,” Djokovic said on Saturday. “Of course I would love to have Roger and Rafa on board. Of course I would love to have all the players on board. But I understand. I truly understand that some of them have different opinions and they don’t think the time is right.”
Federer and Nadal did send a note to their fellow players, explaining further why they’re both against Djokovic’s idea.
“The world is living a difficult and complicated situation. I personally believe these are times to be calm and work all of us together in the same direction. It is time for unity, not for separation,” Nadal tweeted. “These are moments where big things can be achieved as long as the world of tennis is united. We all, players, tournaments and governing bodies have to work together. We have a bigger problem and separation and disunion is definitely not the solution.”
Federer added: “These are uncertain and challenging times, but I believe it’s critical for us to stand united as players, and as a sport, to pave the best way forward.”
Andy Murray was asked about his thoughts on the potential players union ahead of the US Open and, like Federer and Nadal, said that he is not in favor of it. His reason was different, however. Murray highlighted that the WTA, which governs female tennis players, is not involved in Djokovic’s proposal.
“The fact that the women aren’t part… I feel like that would send a significantly, well, just a much more powerful, message personally if the WTA were on board with it, as well. That’s not currently the case,” Murray said.