Djokovic-Led Player Union Latest: First Group Sign Up, Others Seek Clarity And One Council Member Switches Sides - UBITENNIS
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Djokovic-Led Player Union Latest: First Group Sign Up, Others Seek Clarity And One Council Member Switches Sides

Murray, Medvedev and Tsitsipas reacts to the significant development in men’s tennis. Meanwhile, one source has confirmed another member of the ATP Players Council resigned on Saturday despite having their signature feature on a letter opposing the new Association.

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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?

  1. Novak Djokovic
  2. Vasek Pospisil
  3. Casper Ruud
  4. Diego Schwartzman
  5. Matteo Berrettini
  6. Oliver Marach
  7. Rryan Harrison
  8. Christian Harrison
  9. Ivo Karlovic
  10. Nikola Mektic
  11. Andrej Martin
  12. Franko Skugor
  13. Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi
  14. Mate Pavic
  15. Ivan Dodig
  16. Hugo Dellien
  17. Guido Pella
  18. Rohan Boppana
  19. Aljaz Bedene
  20. Filip Krajinovic
  21. Damir Dzumhur
  22. Taylor Fritz
  23. Hubert Hurkacz
  24. Christian Garín
  25. Sumit Nagal
  26. Jozef Kovalik
  27. Leonardo Mayer
  28. Taro Daniel
  29. Marton Fucsovics
  30. Corentin Moutet
  31. 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.

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Carlos Alcaraz In Doubt For Madrid Open Title Defence

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Carlos Alcaraz admits that he is not certain if he will be ready in time to play at next week’s Madrid Masters.

The 20-year-old is yet to play a clay tournament in Europe due to a forearm injury which ruled him out of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He hurt his right arm whilst training shortly before the Monte Carlo event began. 

It is the latest in a series of injury issues that has affected Alcaraz throughout his young career. Since the start of 2023, he has also been derailed by issues with his abdominal, hamstring, post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in his spine. 

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday.
“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“I can’t say I’ll be 100% in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match … It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Alcaraz has won the past two editions of the Madrid Open, which is classed as a Masters 1000 event. In 2022 he defeated Alexander Zverev in the final and then 12 months later he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the title match.

The setback comes after what has been a steady start to the year for Alcaraz who has reached the quarter-finals or better in four out of five tournaments played. He successfully defended his title in Indian Wells and then reached the semi-finals in Miami. 

Should he not play in Madrid, it is likely that the Spaniard will lose his No.2 spot to Jannik Sinner who is just over 100 points behind him in the standings. He will still have the chance to play a clay-court event before the French Open with Rome taking place early next month. 

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Olympic Qualification Is Not the Only Goal For French Veteran Gael Monfils

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Gael Monfils (image via https://twitter.com/atptour)

Gael Monfils admits he doesn’t have too many years left on the Tour but this doesn’t mean his targets are any less ambitious. 

The 37-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the past 12 months following battles with injury. At his lowest, he was ranked 394th last May but is now in 40th position. As a result, he is closing on securing a place in the Olympic Games which is being held in his home country of France for the first time since 1924. The tennis event will be staged at Roland Garros. 

“When I was 400, I was thinking the Olympics would be great, but it’s going to be tough,” Monfils told reporters on Tuesday. 
“There are younger players playing well. If I don’t qualify, I don’t mind. It will just mean I’m very close to the ranking I want to be. That ranking will allow me to find another goal.”

Monfils is already a three-time Olympian but has never won a medal at the event. He reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice in 2008 and 2016. 

Another goal of Frenchmen is the Wimbledon championships which concludes just three weeks before the Olympics begin. The proximity of these tournaments will be a challenge to all players who will be going from playing on clay to grass and then back to clay again. 

“I really want to go and play Wimbledon. I don’t have so many Wimbledons to play in the future. The Olympics is one goal, not the only goal.” Monfils states.
“My dream is of course to be part of the Olympics. I played three times at the Olympics. I’d like to be there again. But I also really want to do well in Wimbledon this year. To reach my goal, it has to be including Wimbledon.” He added. 

Monfils is currently playing at the Monte Carlo Masters where he beat Aleksandar Vukic in his opening match. In the next round, he will take on Daniil Medvedev in what will be their first meeting since 2022. He leads their head-to-head 2-1. 

Medvedev has openly spoken about his roller-coaster relationship with playing on the clay. He admits it is not his favourite surface but how much of a factor could this be in his upcoming clash with Monfils?

“Of course, it’s not his favourite one, but he’s still Daniil Medvedev, and whatever the surface, it’s always very complicated to play him,” Monfils concludes. 

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Matteo Berrettini wins in Marrakech displaying quality tennis

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Matteo Berrettini - Marrakech 2024 (photo X @ATPTour_ES)

Matteo Berrettini defeats Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets, 75 62, and proves that his comeback is well grounded  

If life is often considered a continuous narrative, it may be no coincidence that today Matteo Berrettini’s comeback journey intersescted Carballes Baena, a player he had faced twice in straight tournaments, Florence and Naples in October 2022, shortly before plunging into his annus horribilis, an injury-plagued 2023.

Just like resuming the story from where it was left.

Carballes Baena, the defending champion, got off to a sharper start, holding serve with ease and earning a first break point in the second game. Berrettini averted the threat by hammering down three serves but lost his service two games later.

Doubts on the Italian’s recovery from his energy-draining semifinal may have been starting to come afloat. However Berrettini broke back immediately, unsettling the Spaniard’s consistency with changes of pace and alternating lifted and sliced backhands.

The next six games neatly followed serve. Figures witness how close the match was. After 45 minutes the scoreboard read 5 games all, and stats reported 27 points apiece.

The eleventh game was to be crucial. Carballes Baena netted two forehands, while trying to hit through the Italian’s skidding spins and conceded a break point. Berrettini followed up two massive forehands with a delicate, unreachable drop shot and secured the break.

Carballes Baena was far from discouraged, and fired two forehand winners dashing to 0 40  with the Italian serving for the set.

Berrettini was lucky to save the first break point with a forehand that pinched the top of the net, and trickled over. Then he hit two winning first serves to draw even. Then again two first serves paired with their loyal forehand winner: Berrettini’s copyright gamepattern sealed a 59 minute first set.

The match seemed about to swing round at the very start of the second set when Carballes Baena had three break points and was winning all the longer rallies. Once more Berrettini got out of trouble thanks to his serve. Carballes Baena’s disappointment turned into frustration after he failed to put away two quite comfortable smashes and lost his service immediately after.  

Unforced errors were seeping into the Spaniard’s game and when Berrettini won a 16-shot rally with a stunning crosscourt forehand on the stretch and went on to grab a two-break lead, the match appeared to have taken its final twist.

Berrettini did not falter when serving for the match at 5 2, despite an unforced error on the first point. Three first serves chauffeured him to two match points.

Carballes Baena only succeeded in bravely saving the first, well steering the rally. But the 2021 Wimbledon finalist produced a massive serve out wide and joyfully lifted his arms to the sky, for a most emotional victory. It means so much to a player whose talent and career have been incessantly diminished by injuries.

It’s been a tough last couple of years” Matteo Berrettini said, holding the trophy. “Thanks to my team I was able to overcome all the tough moments my body didn’t allow me to play. I thank you and all the people that made my comeback possible: all my friends and my family, the people that were with me all the time when I was sad, injured and I didn’t think I could make it.”

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