Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer found themselves on a collision course with Novak Djokovic on Saturday, calling for “unity rather than separation” after their longtime rival superstar was expected to lead a breakaway professional tennis association.
The New York Times claimed that world number 1 Djokovic will announce his resignation from the presidency of the ATP Players Council and will help establish the PTPA (Professional Tennis Players Association).
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The PTPA believes it is in a better position to defend the world’s top 500 players who have been hard hit by the coronavirus.
World number two Nadal, however, asked Djokovic to reconsider an outlier.
“The world lives in a difficult and complicated situation. Personally, I believe these are times when we need to be calm and all work together in the same direction. It is time for unity, not for separation, ”said the 19-time main winner.
“These are moments when great things can be achieved as long as the world of tennis is united.
“We all, players, tournaments and governing bodies, need to work together. We have a bigger problem, and separation and disagreement are definitely not the solution. “
Federer, a 20-time slam winner, quickly supported Nadal.
“I agree with @RafaelNadal,” tweeted Federer. “These are uncertain and challenging times, but I believe it is crucial for us as players and as a sport to stay united to pave the best way forward.”
Canadian number 92 Vasek Pospisil announced on Friday that he is leaving the Player Council.
“It has been shown that as a member of the players’ council within the current structure of ATP it is very difficult, if not impossible, to have any influence on an important decision on the circuit,” he wrote.
A long statement from members of the council, including Federer, Nadal, Kevin Anderson, Jurgen Melzer, Sam Querrey and Bruno Soares, said they are not in favor of the groundbreaking move from the PTPA and raised serious questions about the plan.
“We don’t believe that the players’ association and the ATP can go together. To reiterate, we don’t think the ATL can coexist with the new players’ association, ”the statement said.
“We are against this proposal as we don’t see how it actually benefits the players and our lives on tour and safety are in great doubt.”
The ATP rejected the plan and called for unity in the turbulent times of the world.
Djokovic is currently in New York, where he won the Cincinnati Masters after beating Milos Raonic 1: 6, 6: 3, 6: 4 in the final.
He’s the overwhelming favorite for a fourth US Open title when the Grand Slam tournament kicks off on Tuesday.
Defending champion Nadal is missing, however, after deciding not to travel to the US for health reasons, while five-time US Open winner Federer has already written off his season to recover from knee surgery.