An initiative backed by Novak Djokovic failed to gain momentum after two of the biggest names of men’s tennis failed to get behind it, according to Vasek Pospisil.
The world No.93 said up to 80 players in the top 100 on the ATP Tour were in favor of a motion to form an independent union to support their rights. A topic that has been debated in the sport for many months with nothing coming to fruition as of yet. One of the main driving forces behind the calls is that player’s want a greater share of revenue generated from the four grand slam tournaments. Despite rises in prize money, the share still works out at roughly 10%.
Pospisil has been one of the biggest supporters of unionisation. Writing an article for The Globe and Mail last year, he argues that such a move would ‘restore fairness and transparency.’ In a recent interview with TSN, the Canadian said 12 out of the world’s top 20 backed the motion. Although two top names of the sport failed to get behind the proposal.
“Tennis is extremely International. So unionizing players is not that easy because you have all these conflicting labor laws from different countries. It’s a very tricky, difficult scenario. But when I got injured last year I tried to have a crack at it. We are definitely closer than ever. We are definitely more unified than ever before,” Pospisil said in an interview with TSN.
“Novak was sort of it from the get-go. At one point we were 80 of the top 100 male players signed onto the engagement letter, Novak being one of them. I had like 12 of the top 20, but when we went with Roger and Rafa they were not in favor.”
“Actually, they just wanted to go themselves and talk to the Grand Slams, which is something that went against the gist of what we were trying to do. It’s a shame, to be honest,” he added.
Both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal rejoined the ATP player’s council last August in a bid to reunite the men’s tour following various disagreements. Including the decision to move Chris Kermode last year which divided opinion. The council is headed by Djokovic with Pospisil also being a long-time member.
“I’ve had some great chats with Roger. I like him a lot, he is a great guy,” said Pospisil. “He was totally in support of the concept and agrees with a lot of the issues but ultimately didn’t get behind the actual movement which slowed it down a little bit for sure.’
“At the end of the day it’s the mass of players that is more powerful than a couple. You can’t just have two guys playing an exhibition every event. That’s not going to carry tennis very far.”
Despite his criticism, Pospisil has insisted that the Big Three ‘work really well’ on the council together. Although he admits that each of them have ‘very big personalities.’ He also hailed Djokovic for his leadership and commitment to the sport. The Serbian has been the president since 2016.
The Players’ council issue advisory decisions to the ATP board of directors and members are elected by their peers.
‘Kyrgios hasn’t got the information’
Elsewhere in his interview with TSN, Pospisil has also taken aim at Nick Kyrgios after the Australian recently voiced his opposition to the idea of the ATP and WTA Tour’s being merged. Support for a merger has surged in recent weeks following a tweet from Federer that backed the initiative. Andrea Gaudenzi, who is the chairman of the ATP, had already been in talks with the WTA about working closely together in the future.
“Did anyone ask the majority of the ATP what they think about merging with the WTA and how it is good for us?” Kyrgios wrote on Twitter.
“We shouldn’t merge.” He later added.
Questioned about Kyrgios’ view, Pospisil said the Australian was in no position to comment because he didn’t know the full facts of what was going on. Talks are ongoing behind closed doors and it is unclear as to if or when any collaboration may occur.
“You know what, it’s because a lot of players express, or people in general, will express an opinion without having any information, just because they feel like they want to say something,” he said.
“That might be the case with Nick.
“To be honest, he’s in no position to express an opinion when he just hears about this for the first time and has done zero due diligence.
“There are some guys like that and I’ll have no problem telling him that to his face.”
Earlier this week WTA boss Steve Simon told The New York Times that a merger would ‘make all the sense in the world.’ Although he rules out the concept of an acquisition taking place. Should such a move take place, it will likely take a considerable amount of time due to the complexity of the process.
At present there are seven governing bodies of tennis. Besides the men’s and women’s tours, there are also the ITF and a board for each of the four grand slams.
Pospisil’s full interview with TSN can be watched below
Alexander Zverev Secures Place In ATP Finals With Indian Wells Win
Zverev will be seeking to win the season-ending extravaganza for the second time in his career.
Germany’s Alexander Zverev has become the fourth player to officially qualify for the ATP Finals after reaching the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
The world No.4 defeated America’s Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in his second round match on Sunday which pushed him over the points threshold to secure his spot in the end-of-season event. It is the fifth year in a row he has qualified for the ATP Finals which he won back in 2018. He is one of only three German players to ever win the title after Boris Becker and Michael Stich.
This year’s tournament will take place in Turin, Italy for the first time in history after being held at The O2 Arena in London for more than a decade. Only the eight highest ranked players are eligible to play in the round-robin tournament which has on offer up to 1500 rankings points for an undefeated champion.
“My first time in Turin. I’ve been to London four times before. London is obviously very special to me because I won there, as well. I think the stadium is incredible, one of the most special events that we had,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
“But I also love playing in Italy. I had great success in Italy. I won my first Masters in Rome. I’m looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Italian fans. It’s going to be a great week.”
The 24-year-old approaches the final quarter of this season with four titles already won this year. He has won two Masters 1000 trophies, an ATP 500 event in Mexico and a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Zverev, who has recorded seven wins over top 10 players, also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and US Open.
Zverev joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the players who have qualified for the ATP Finals so far. It is the third straight season the quartet has qualified for the event.
This year’s ATP Finals will get underway on November 14th. Medvedev is the defending champion.
Denis Shapovalov Advances After Pospisil Retires In Indian Wells
The battle of the two Canadians didn’t go as planned…
Vasek Pospisil faced off against his fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and it was the world number 13 who got the win after the Vernon native pulled out due to an injury whilst trailing 0-3.
It was a rough start for Pospisil who seemed to struggle with his serve in the opening game of the match and double-faulted twice in a row to give the early break and Shapovalov had no issues consolidating the break.
Shapovalov continued to apply pressure on the Pospisil serve and after saving two breakpoints the world number 68 pulled up after a serve and stopped play, calling for the trainer. He ended up taking a medical timeout off the court and a couple of minutes later returned to court. Pospisil was broken once again and the following game after a couple of returns decided to call it quits.
” It was pretty awful…and if I’m being honest I am shaking a bit…It really sucks I hope it’s nothing serious…He’s a great guy he’s a real warrior he’s fought back from some injuries surgeries to such a great level.” Shapovalov said of his compatriot.
Shapovalov will face 19th seed Aslan Karatsev in the next round after the Russian thrashed Salvatore Caruso 6-2, 6-0.
In the other results of the day sixth seeed Casper Ruud dominated Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-2, Roberto Bautista Agut beat the Argentine Guido Pella 7-5, 6-3 and Sebastien Korda won an all American battle with Frances Tiafoe 6-0, 6-4.
Finally, Diego Schwartzman needed three sets to beat another American in Maxime Cressy winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.
Stefanos Tsitsipas Sidesteps Question Over Vaccination Status
The Greek also jokes that he will be having less bathroom breaks in Indian Wells due to one particular reason.
Stefanos Tsitsipas has declined to confirm if he has received a COVID-19 vaccination despite previously saying he planned to do so later this year.
The world No.3 was questioned about the vaccination during his pre-tournament press conference at Indian Wells on Wednesday. Earlier this year Tsitsipas came under fire after saying he doesn’t see a reason why somebody his age needs to be vaccinated and expressed concerns over the potential side effects. He also added that young people catching COVID-19 is a good thing as it helps build up their immunity. Prompting criticism from various people, including a spokesperson for the Greek government.
However, in recent weeks Tsitsipas has changed his stance on the issue and recently told Antenna TV that he will have his first dose by the end of this year. When asked by a reporter in Indian Wells if he has had it yet, the French Open finalist declined to answer.
“I’m sorry but I’m not able to provide any of my medical records,” he said.
Player vaccination rates in tennis are becoming a growing issue amid reports that the Australian Open may only allow fully vaccinated players to participate due to a health mandate which has been implemented by the local government. There is yet to be a formal announcement by Tennis Australia regarding their entry requirements. However, The Age newspaper reports that there is a ‘strong likelihood’ that only vaccinated players will be allowed entry by Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.
Tsitsipas’ immediate focus is on this week’s BNP Paribas Open where he is the second seed behind Daniil Medvedev. Speaking about the conditions, the 23-year-old joked it was ‘very dry’ and therefore he will be having less bathroom breaks during matches. Referring to the recent criticism he has received from some of his peers over the timing of breaks he takes.
“It’s very dry here,” Tsitsipas said.
“That is good for me because I sweat less, which makes for less bathroom breaks, which makes for less complaints. So a very good sign so far,” he added with a smile.
The hope for Tsitsipas is that he will be able to build on his recent experience at the Laver Cup where he helped Europe secure their fourth consecutive title. The event provides players with the opportunity to work alongside each other in a team format. Something Tsitsipas relished but he is ready to get back to singles duty.
“I think team competitions are necessary for our sport and we don’t get to be united a lot,” he said. “We always kind of focus on ourselves and our things and environment and that is what you usually see on Tour. Players doing their own thing. Not much socialising.
“At the Laver Cup, we all get to have dinners together and all get to hang out with each other. Of course, though, we all have our competitiveness and if we get stuck around we might share too much with one another, that is the mentality behind it.”
Tsitsipas is yet to win a main draw match in Indian Wells. He will start his 2021 bid against either qualifier Roberto Marcora or Spain’s Pedro Martinez.
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