PTPA: Not divisive, wants best for players


The Professional Tennis Players’ Association claimed it “caused division” in an open letter sent to ATP and WTA players on Wednesday that was signed by the eight players who make up the organization’s executive committee, including the co-founders. Novak Djokovik And Vasek Pospisil,

“Some have questioned the need for the PTPA, claiming that the tour is already working to address concerns related to player welfare, economic opportunities and the structure of the game,” read the letter, a copy of which was carried by ESPN. was received, said. Part. “These efforts are necessary and laudable. However, it is important to acknowledge that it has taken decades for the tennis ecosystem to address these issues without a players’ union, and unfortunately, players and fans are not as well equipped as their counterparts in other sports.” Left behind than.” ,

In a recent interview, Bernabe Zapata Miralles42 and a member of the ATP Players Council, claimed that the PTPA “generates division” and said he believed it was “not positive.” However, PTPA executive director Ahmed Nassar told ESPN that the letter sent to players on Wednesday was not motivated by anything in particular.

“We thought it was important at this time for the board to clarify that the PTPA is not another entity in an already fractured tennis environment,” Nassar said Wednesday. “With four Grand Slams, two tours and the ITF, we want to remind players that we are something different. We overlay all of those entities because at the heart of tennis are the players. In tennis, players never have a entity that also tries to speak on their behalf. … And so what we’re trying to do is provide players with another opportunity to make their voices heard.”

Pospisil, the 2014 Wimbledon doubles champion who co-founded the organization with Djokovic in 2020, told ESPN in a separate interview on Wednesday that he has personally “over the years tried to educate them about the group.” Have spoken with 300 to 400 players”. mission, as well as enlist their support and listen to their concerns.

The PTPA is not a union – tennis players are independent contractors and not employees of the ATP and WTA – but Pospisil, Djokovic and Nassar have repeatedly stated that its goal is to represent and protect the interests of players in a way that is fair to them. Unions work for professional leagues such as the NBA or NFL, which involves an effort to secure a higher percentage of revenue for players in tournaments and group licensing deals. The PTPA announced its first such deal with a trading card line through Fanatics in March.

Much of their focus this season has been on outreach and growing interest and support, with the PTPA holding meetings at the Australian Open and Indian Wells so far this year. Pospisil said that while unsure on specific numbers, attendance at each tournament has increased since they began holding them in 2022. As the organization currently has no formal membership, nor mandatory dues, it is unclear how many players consider themselves members. (Those involved in the group licensing deal signed a separate agreement with a for-profit affiliate of the organization.)

Pospisil, who has been out of competition since February due to injury, said he experienced no sense of division among teammates.

“As a player you can’t really argue against a body that represents players, and that’s why we have so much support,” Pospisil said. “When we set out on this journey and started moving [with it]There was tremendous unity of mind that players’ unions are vital to the game. So now here we are, and I think the idea is clear to them, but there’s still this narrative being pushed that doesn’t make sense to me.

“There are fragments of the tennis ecosystem, certain groups or individuals, that are benefiting from a divided player pool and ineffective player representation. So, you know, there is a benefit to some people in the tennis industry with that narrative.”

Both Pospisil and Nassar discussed the misconceptions that have plagued the organization, particularly the idea that it is planning a separate rival tour, like LIV Golf did in 2022. Pospisil said that hearing about the idea “drives me nuts.”

Nassar confirmed that the PTPA has met with the ATP and WTA player councils in hopes of fostering cooperation and communication. He hopes they can work together in the future as he believes many of their goals align.

For Pospisil, the main goal of the organization is to improve the game for its players.

“The life of a tennis player is very difficult, it is a big struggle,” he said. “It’s like climbing a mountain to be successful. And then, and then once you get to that point, it doesn’t last long and there’s going to be someone in your way during, or after, your career.” There is no support system. There are very few players who can make a living from this sport despite earning billions of dollars. We are here to try to change that.”

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