During what has been an extraordinary weekend in men’s tennis few are talking about the upcoming US Open that will get underway on Monday.
Instead the focus is on the newly formed Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) co-founded by Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil which has divided the men’s Tour. Described best as a union, supporters say its aim is to speak up for players and campaign for them to be given more power when it comes to decision-making. On Friday Djokovic issued a lengthy letter to his peers, which UbiTennis has obtained, urging them to join him.
Less than a day after Djokovic’s plea members of the ATP Players Council, which includes Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, issued a statement opposing the move, as well as the Grand Slam board. Djokovic was the president of the Council but has now reportedly resigned. Their argument is that there are a lot of unanswered questions concerning the PTPA which has been formed with the help of legal firm Norton Rose Fulbright and its chairman Walied Soliman.
“The Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) did not emerge to be combative, to disrupt, or to cause any issues within or outside the tennis tour. Simply to unify the players, have our voices heard and have an impact on decisions being made that effect our lives and livelihoods,” Pospisil wrote on Twitter.
In what is a rapidly developing situation, the first series of players signed up to be members of the Association on Saturday night. Which includes top 20 stars Matteo Berrettini and Diego Schwzrtzman, as well as Canada’s top guns Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Whilst it is a promising start, others have voiced their caution. Three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray has said he would not be signing up at present but ‘is not against’ the idea of a players union. The Brit is also one of the very few players to question as to why women have been omitted from the PTPA.
“I won’t be signing it today. I’m not totally against a player union, player association, but right now there’s a couple of things,” Murray told reporters via zoom on Saturday.
“One is I feel like the current management that are in place should be given some time to implement their vision. Whether that works out or not would potentially influence me in the future as to which way I would go.
“Also the fact that the women aren’t part of it, I feel like that would send a significantly – well, just a much more powerful message personally if the WTA were onboard with it, as well. That’s not currently the case.”
Daniil Medvedev has confirmed that he will seek more clarity from both Djokovic and Pospisil before making his decision. The candidly-speaking Russian says he is not sure if he is happy with the current ATP structure due to his inexperience on the Tour and never being a member of the ATP Council.
“I decided myself to think more about it after the US Open. I’ll definitely ask for more information from Vasek and Novak to decide for myself. That’s all I can say right now because I cannot say more,” he said.
“As I say, I have no decision made up for myself. I don’t know which way I’m leaning, but I need more info, that’s for sure.”
As for Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas, he appears to be blind to the whole situation at present after saying to Reporters that he ‘doesn’t even know what they’re talking about’ and he has ‘nothing to do with it (the PTPA).‘
In another development that hasn’t been publicly confirmed yet, it appears that Sam Querrey has changed his position on the ongoing situation. The American was one of the co-signatures on a letter issued by the ATP Council opposing the PTPA and urging others not to join. Although one top European national tennis official has confirmed that Querrey has now quit the Council and joined the association. It is not clear as to what led to this sudden change.
Who has joined the players association?
- Novak Djokovic
- Vasek Pospisil
- Casper Ruud
- Diego Schwartzman
- Matteo Berrettini
- Oliver Marach
- Rryan Harrison
- Christian Harrison
- Ivo Karlovic
- Nikola Mektic
- Andrej Martin
- Franko Skugor
- Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi
- Mate Pavic
- Ivan Dodig
- Hugo Dellien
- Guido Pella
- Rohan Boppana
- Aljaz Bedene
- Filip Krajinovic
- Damir Dzumhur
- Taylor Fritz
- Hubert Hurkacz
- Christian Garín
- Sumit Nagal
- Jozef Kovalik
- Leonardo Mayer
- Taro Daniel
- Marton Fucsovics
- Corentin Moutet
- Tommy Paul
Note: list of names obtained via journalist Jose Morgado and based on a photo uploaded on Saturday evening of players signing up. Querrey not included as there is no public confirmation yet.
Alexander Zverev Deserves More Respect According To Boris Becker
According to Boris Becker, Alexander Zverev deserves more respect from tennis journalists.
Boris Becker has claimed that Alexander Zverev deserves more respect despite Zverev failing to live up to his potential at Grand Slams.
Zverev has only reached one Grand Slam final in his career despite being a regular inside the world’s top ten as well as performing at regular ATP events.
This season Zverev played a limited schedule after recovering from an ankle injury but still managed to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals.
However most critics have been loud when judging Zverev’s career as it was looking likely that he would be a regular Grand Slam champion.
The German has failed to live up to expectations but former Grand Slam champion Boris Becker believes Zverev deserves more respect.
Speaking to Eurosport Becker also said that Zverev’s father being the coach is a more than successful approach when it comes to the former US Open finalist’s career, “In my opinion, he doesn’t get enough respect from the tennis experts internationally,” Becker explained.
“They’re all talking about the young three or four, but don’t give Zverev, Medvedev or Rublev enough respect. He’s playing with his fist in his pocket a little bit, wants everyone show that he is not a thing of the past, but that his best time is yet to come.
“Surely his father knows best what is good for his son, but if you look into the box at the competition, you can also see changes.”
Becker has followed Zverev for most of his career so knows that the best is yet to come from the German.
Alexander Zverev will look to prove himself next season when he starts his 2024 season when he represents Germany at the United Cup.
Juan Carlos Ferrero Analyses Key Areas For Carlos Alcaraz’s Development
Juan Carlos Ferrero has outlined the next steps in Carlos Alcaraz’s development.
Carlos Alcaraz’s coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero has analysed the key areas for the Spaniard’s development heading into the 2024 season.
The former world number one’s season has come to an end after a successful year which saw him win the Wimbledon title as well as winning two Masters 1000 titles.
Alcaraz capped off an incredible season by reaching the semi-finals at the Nitto ATP Finals, where he lost to Novak Djokovic.
However there is a long way for the Spaniard to go if he wants to consistently go toe-to-toe with Novak Djokovic.
Speaking to Marca Alcaraz’s coach Juan Carlos Ferrero spoke about the Spaniard’s development and said that Alcaraz is too emotional, “Be more regular in games, not open doors. Sometimes there are mistakes and it is something that we have to improve a lot,” Ferrero commented.
“Although it is true that he opens doors, he always competes well and at the highest level. He knows it, the other day he already said that Novak doesn’t give you one. He has to improve his decision making and he will achieve that with experience. Carlos is very emotional and that sometimes helps him and other times not so much.”
It’s clear Alcaraz’s high-quality is there but to consistently do it against Djokovic is another task altogether as the Spaniard looks to go from strength-to strength next season.
One area that is clearly a priority for Alcaraz is physical conditioning especially considering what happened against Djokovic at Roland Garros earlier in the season.
Ferrero said that will be a clear focus heading into 2024 but couldn’t guarantee that Alcaraz will play a tournament before the Australian Open, “Because of the year and the fatigue he has been in, what he needs is rest and disconnecting for 8-10 days with his friends,” Ferrero stated.
“From there, the thinking must go back to working really hard, strong and well to start very strongly in Australia. One can never be sure of that. Sometimes you play a tournament and it doesn’t go well, you left home too early. There are many ways of thinking.
“This year we haven’t played Australia and he finishes number two. That means there is no urgency to play a tournament early. Carlos is a player who enters competition quickly, you don’t usually see him without rhythm.
“Although it is true that he becomes more dangerous from the round of 16, from the quarter-finals. I am confident that the two exhibition matches and the training sessions will help us play a good tournament.”
Alcaraz will be looking to play the Australian Open which starts on the 15th of January after the Spaniard missed last year’s tournament due to a leg injury.
Australian Open Chief Confident Nadal Will Play But Kyrgios’ Participation Uncertain
The tournament director of the Australian Open says he is ‘certain’ that Rafael Nadal will play at the Grand Slam even though the Spaniard has yet to outline his comeback plans.
Craig Tiley told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday he hopes to receive some clarity over Nadal’s intentions in the next couple of weeks but is confident he will play. However, the tennis official had previously claimed in October that the former world No.1 had already committed to play in the event before his team denied that statement.
Nadal, who has won 22 Grand Slam titles, hasn’t played a Tour match since his second round defeat at the Australian Open in January due to a hip injury. He was originally expecting to take an eight-week break but the recovery didn’t go to plan and he ended up having surgery. In May he confirmed that he will take an extended break from the sport to heal his body and admitted that retirement next year is a possibility.
“Rafa has been training, I follow him closely, probably every day because he’s a massive drawcard for us,” the Reuters News Agency quoted Tiley as saying.
“He wants to play, he’s obviously planning on playing. It all depends on how he pulls up.
“Hopefully in the next week or the next two weeks, we get some specific confirmation of that. I’m certain Rafa will be here because he’s not going to want to miss the opportunity to repeat what he did a couple of years ago.”
Earlier this month Nadal confirmed that he intends to return to the Tour but admits that he will continue to experience a degree of pain. Although he has yet to give any information about which tournament he will begin his comeback at. The 2024 season begins during the first week of January.
“I’m well, training, and happy. I’m at a good stage of my life,” atptour.com quoted Nadal as telling reporters in Barcelona.
“Until now I didn’t know if I would play tennis again someday, and now I genuinely believe I will. I’m still not ready to say when, but I’m able to train increasingly longer, and the progress is good.’
Will Kyrgios play?
Another player Tiley is eager to welcome back is home player and former Wimbledon Finalist Nick Kyrgios who has only played one Tour-level match this season due to injury. He underwent knee surgery in January and then tore a ligament in his wrist during the summer. As a result, the Australian currently doesn’t have an ATP ranking due to his inactivity.
“We have spoken to Nick, and he obviously wants to do the best he possibly can to give him the best chance to play in January,” Tiley said of Kyrgios.
“Whether he’s playing, whether he’s doing something else, Nick will be here in January and to get him to play will be great. But we’ve got to take it as it comes and he’s got to make sure he takes care of his health …”
Kyrgios recently worked as an analyst for the Tennis Channel during this year’s ATP Finals in Turin and gave a brief update on his ongoing recovery during a segment.
“After last year, I had such a great year, and I’m so hungry to get back out there,” the 2022 Wimbledon finalist commented.
“So I’m doing everything I can to get back out there. Obviously, you know how injuries are every day, just doing the rehab, doing the gym work.”
The Australian Open will begin on Sunday 14th January. Novak Djokovic and Aryna Sabalenka are the defending champions.
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