PTPA will ‘divide the players and fragment the sport,’ says ATP statement

The ATP have released a statement vowing to do ‘everything in their power’ to oppose the new PTPA (Professional Tennis Players Association) lead by Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil.

Djokovic and Pospisil announced in September 2020 that they were stepping down from the ATP Players council to set up the new organisation in order to get more transparency in the sport and fairness for the players.

At the time, it seemed to divide the men’s players, but the organisation has recently picked up steam with the announcement of a major funding partner, the appointment of a CEO and Djokovic himself confirmed that 75% of the top 500 men’s players have signed up.

Now the ATP have released a strong statement in opposition to the PTPA, claiming the fragmentation that the new organisation with create will impact the growth of the sport as a whole.

“Protecting and advancing the interests of players has been a core principle of the ATP since it was founded as a player association in 1972,” The ATP said in a statement.

“In 1990, this was furthered through the formation of the ATP Tour, an equal partnership between players and tournaments.

“Through this, players obtained something unique in sports: an equal voice on every decision in the board room of the Tour.

“Today, ATP management, together with the Board and the ATP Player Council, whose representatives are democratically elected by all players, work week-in and week-out to advance the interests of players.

“This includes the recent development of an ambitious Strategic Plan that has the potential to deliver game-changing benefits to players through strengthened top tier events, 50-50 profit sharing, increased prize money and bonus pool, full transparency of audited tournament financials, raised tournament standards and long-term stability for the Tour.

“This constructive collaboration, which has seen the ATP Tour develop into one of the world’s leading sports and entertainment properties over the past 30 years, underscores our belief that the players’ interests, and those of the Tour as a whole, must and will continue to be protected under ATP governance.

Novak Djokovic practice London

“By contrast, the creation of a separate player entity provides a clear overlap, divides the players, and further fragments the sport.

“Fragmentation has been consistently identified as the single biggest threat to tennis’ growth potential by leading experts, from within and beyond sports, which is something the ATP is currently working to address through the Strategic Plan, as well as through the new T-7 working group, with enhanced collaboration with the WTA, Grand Slams and ITF.

“We also take this opportunity to highlight the numerous benefits associated with players being in good standing with ATP, including annual pension contributions, travel grants, insurance cover, bonus pool payments, player and medical services, and more.

“ATP will continue to do everything in its powers to protect the interest of its members, both players and tournaments, and the many livelihoods that the Tour supports.”

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