After Criticism from Federer And Nadal, Off-Court Politics Overshadows Indian Wells - UBITENNIS
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After Criticism from Federer And Nadal, Off-Court Politics Overshadows Indian Wells

At the Masters 1000 event a war of words have broken out between some key figures.

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At a tournament that is nicknamed the ‘fifth grand slam’ of tennis, it is ironic that Novak Djokovic’s biggest battle has been off the court.

 

The world No.1 holds the position of president of the Players Council. A body set up to speak on behalf of those on the tour and give their recommendations to the board of directors. However, in recent days the group has come under heavy attack following the removal of ATP CEO Chris Kermode. A decision that has been backed by some members of the council. Although Djokovic is staying coy on what he thinks.

“I don’t want to express myself as for or against, I’m part of the council, I’m president of the council and I have responsibility, and confidentiality, that I have to be responsible to,” said Djokovic.
“By sharing that information I expose myself, and I become liable to breach of confidentiality within that structure. So I’m not willing to risk that, because I respect the governing structure.”

To add to the fiasco, the Serbian has come under fire from two of his biggest rivals. Both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have said they received a lack of communication from the body. Something Nadal said he was ‘disappointed’ with earlier this week. A sentiment echoed by Federer on Sunday during his press conference with the Swiss – German press.

“Unfortunately he [Djokovic] had no time,” said Federer. “That’s hard to understand for me … I want to know what the motive was, [and] what Kermode does not seem to have done well. I would have tended to be more for him.”

At an impasse, the war of words continues and so does the media scrutiny. The main reason for this is the lack of clarity there is. In recent months there has been talk of a new vision for the future of the sport by the council, but it has been mainly behind the scenes. Little has been said about what the selection process to replace Kermode will be. Furthermore, the secrecy of the council’s vote has raised questions about if the structure of the ATP Tour should be more transparent.

Brazilian doubles specialise Bruno Soares serves on the council. During an interview with Global Esporte, the 37-year-old said the decision to keep their vote on Kermode’s future secret was because there was a divide among the members. In other terms, the decision was a gentlemen’s agreement and not mandatory.

“I do not think the dialogue has failed. I at least talked to the vast majority of the people I represent. I think each of the Council has played its part.” Said Soares.
“Obviously it is difficult to talk to everyone, but what happens is that the subjects are always exposed, everyone is aware. If anyone has any doubts, it is up to the person to look for his representative in the Council, to ask, to ask questions and to suggest things.
“So we can not always find everyone. Me and Jamie (Murray) represent from 1st to 100th in doubles. Imagine running after 100 (tennis players) … we communicate a lot by email, but a lot of things are up to people who have an interest in looking for us.”

The Djokovic-lead council has no direct involvement in the decision to remove Kermode. Under the current structure, they debate topics and pass their feedback to the three Players’ representatives, who make the decisions. Those individuals are Tennis Channel executive David Egdes, Sportradar’s director of communications Alex Inglot and former player Justin Gimelstob.

“I think Chris (Kermode) did a great job. He was a great president in those five years that he had, now another year to complete the sixth, were two mandates.” Soares explained.
“This week, we had a meeting with the Players Council staff with the Tournament Board staff. Dialogue is increasing and this is how we will achieve our goals. In the end, everyone wants it to get better. We want the tournaments to improve, the tournaments want us to participate. It’s a business. Everyone wants to earn more, make more money. I think working together is the way to do it.”

It is only hoped that the new leader of the ATP will reunite the tour once more. Whoever that will be. Although Federer has laid out his opinion on the qualities the candidate must have.

“We need – I guess in my opinion – someone who knows the game.” He said.
“Otherwise we will lose a year to that person meeting all the people.
“We’ve had it in the past, it takes a lot of time. Yeah, a lot of work ahead of us to say the least.”

With so much drama going on, it is sometimes easy to forget about the matches that are taking place at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

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French Open Crowd Crossed The Line, Says Frustrated Alex de Minaur

The Australian explains why he wasn’t entirely happy with the atmosphere in the French capital.

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Alex de Minaur didn’t hide his irritation with fans at Roland Garros following his shock exit from the tournament on Tuesday.

 

The 19th seed fell to home player Hugo Gaston in a five-set epic that lasted more than four hours. De Minaur had a 3-0 lead in the decisive set but ended up losing 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 7-6(10-4) to the world No.74. He has now lost in the first round of the French Open in four out of six appearances.

During the match De Minaur had to contend with a boisterous crowd who were cheering on Gaston. He faced some booing and jeering from those in the stands which the world No.20 was not happy about.

“I think there is a difference between a great atmosphere and supporting your fellow countrymen, which is completely fine and it’s great. I’m sure for him was an amazing atmosphere, he enjoyed every second of it.” De Minaur said afterwards.
“But there is a line that, when I’m getting told things by people in the crowd, making eye contact with me after I hit a double fault, I think there is a certain line that needs to be kind of looked at.”
“Good on him (Gaston) for playing a great match in front of his home crowd and being able to feed off that, and you know, having a moment that I’m sure he won’t forget.”

De Minaur refused to go into what exactly was being said to him from certain members of the crowd but insisted that he was not being intimidated by what was occurring on the court. Towards the end of the match a series of unforced errors, including double faults, costed him dearly.

“I’m pretty sure I dealt with it pretty well, all things considering,” he said. “I was in the moment. I was in the heat of the moment battling out there. It felt like kind of an away Davis Cup match, and I thrive on that. It was a lot sometimes and sometimes you do your best to focus on playing a tennis match. There are outside factors that you do your best to control.“

Heading into Paris, De Minaur had shown encouraging results on the clay with semi-final runs to tournaments in Barcelona and Lyon. He also reached the third round in Rome and took a set off Andrey Rublev when they clashed in Monte Carlo.

Given those recent results on the Tour, it is clear that the latest defeat is one that will sit with him for a while.

Ideally, I will sleep tonight and I will forget all about it, but I have a feeling that won’t be the case,” de Minaur admits.
“It’s disappointing, as everything is, it is what it is. It’s a sport that we are playing. You have your good days, your bad days. You win absolute battles; you lose absolute battles.”

As for Garon, he will face Argentine qualifier Pedro Cachin in the second round. This year’s draw is a golden opportunity for the Frenchman with him guaranteed to not play a seeded player until at least the last 16 if he makes it that far.

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Novak Djokovic Opens Up About Wimbledon Points Removal

The world No.1 states that he will always support the views of his peers.

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Novak Djokovic (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

By Kingsley Elliot Kaye

In his press conference following his win over Yoshihito Nishioka at the French Open, Novak Djokovic expressed his views about the ATP decision to remove points from Wimbledon.

 

Negatively affected by such a decision – he will drop 2000 points – the world No.1 praised the ATP’s stance and called for players’ unity.

“I think collectively I’m glad that players got together with ATP, the governing body of the men’s tennis, and showed to the Grand Slam that when there is a mistake happening, and there was from the Wimbledon side, then we have to show that there are going to be some consequences. So I support the players, unification always. I have always done that. I will always do that.” He said.

Djokovic criticized the lack of communication between the parties involved, in particular with regard to a document of recommendation by the English Government which contained diverse options. Had it been discussed by the All England Club with ATP and players, a compromise may have been reached.

“I think it was a wrong decision. I don’t support that at all. But, you know, during these times, it’s a super sensitive subject, and anything that you decide, it’s unfortunately going to create a lot of conflict, a lot of separation instead of unification.” He continued.

Djokovic also mentioned other suggestions coming from WTA and ATP, that possibly men’s and women’s players from Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia could play together at some exhibition event during the slam or something like this and prize money could go to the victims in Ukraine. There were different ideas, but there was never really a strong communication coming from Wimbledon.

He stressed that removing the points from Wimbledon, therefore not allowing players to earn or to defend points, is a decision that affects everyone, a lose-lose situation for everyone, as he called it.

Nonetheless, the charm and prestige of Wimbledon shall rest unaltered and its meaningfulness extends far beyond: “A Grand Slam is still a Grand Slam. Wimbledon for me was always my dream tournament when I was a child. You know, I don’t look at it through the lens of points or prize money. For me, it’s something else.”

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Injury-Hit Borna Coric Reacts To First Grand Slam Win In 16 Months

The Croat admits he was unsure how his shoulder would hold up in his opening match at Roland Garros.

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Borna Coric - US Open 2020 (via Twitter, @usopen)

Borna Coric said he is relieved that his body managed to hold up during his opening win at the French Open on Sunday.

 

The former world No.12 spent almost three hours on the court before defeating Spain’s Carlos Taberner 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1, in what was his first Grand Slam match of any kind since the 2021 Australian Open. Paris is only the seventh tournament Coric has played in since returning to the Tour following a year-long absence due to shoulder surgery. The 25-year-old is yet to win back-to-back matches this season.

It does feel great. I didn’t know what to expect in terms of my shoulder because I’ve never been in the fourth set, fifth set (of a match) for one-and-a-half years,” said Coric.
“So it was also kind of worrying for me, I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know how I’m going to feel and how my whole body is going to behave in those later sets. Obviously I’ve been practicing it, but it’s really never the same.”

Impressively the Croat produced a total of 54 winners against 39 unforced errors in his latest match in the French capital. Furthermore, he won 76% of his first service points and 53% of his second.

“The last few weeks haven’t been very easy, I lost many tight matches. I mean, I was also quite happy with my tennis, but I was just losing,” he reflected.

Coric was once tipped to be the future of men’s tennis after rising quickly up the ranks at a young age. In 2014 he was the youngest player to end the season in the top 100 and a year last he was the youngest to do so in the top 50. He has recorded a total of nine wins over top five players, including Roger Federer, as well as winning two Tour titles.

In the second round at Roland Garros Coric will take on the formidable Grigor Dimitrov who has been ranked as high as third in the world. He will enter the clash as the underdog given his ongoing comeback from injury. At present Coric’s principal focus is on his body but that will change in the coming weeks.

Until Wimbledon my health needs to come first and after Wimbledon I can kind of try to switch in my mind so I can start playing more and more tournaments. I can train more and I can focus more on the tennis rather than on my shoulder,” he explains.

Coric has reached the third round of the French Open on four previous occasions.

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