Novak Djokovic of Serbia. AFP
World number one Novak Djokovic is trying to form a new body to represent players and has resigned from his position as the president of the players council of the Association of Tennis Professionals, the New York Times said on Saturday.
Canadian Vasek Pospisil, a member of the Djokovic-led council, said he had also resigned.
“After two years on the ATP Player Council, I am resigning from my position as the player representative for the 51-100 ranking positions,” Pospisil wrote on Twitter.
“It has become clear that, as a player council member within the current structure of the ATP, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to have any significant impact on any major decisions made by our tour.”
The players are now assembled in New York’s bio-secure bubble ahead of the U.S. Open Grand Slam from Monday.
The new body will be called the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) and a document detailing plans and objectives has been distributed to players, seeking their signatures.
“The goal of the PTPA is not to replace the ATP, but to provide players with a self-governance structure that is independent from the ATP and directly responsive to player-members’ needs and concerns,” the newspaper quoted the document as saying.
Djokovic overcame a sore neck to defeat Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 4-6 6-4 7-6(0) and set up a showpiece match against Canadian Milos Raonic in the Western & Southern Open.
The Serbian did not attend the post-match news conference and organisers said he “was not feeling well on court today and it worsened after the match”.
Representatives of Djokovic and Pospisil did not respond to requests for comment.
The ATP currently governs the men’s professional Tour and its board, chaired by former Italian professional player Andrea Gaudenzi, is composed of representatives of both players and tournaments. The body did not respond to request for comment.
Raonic said a “majority” of players was expected to sign in favour of the new association.
“Players have had plenty of time to think and reflect and take a look at certain parts which they may not be happy with and discuss,” he said after his win on Friday.
“I don’t know. A lot of us were kept in the dark by our leadership for six months. We were disappointed with many things.”
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)