EXCLUSIVE: Full Details Of Novak Djokovic’s Letter To Players As Stand Off With Federer And Nadal Emerges - Page 2 of 3 - UBITENNIS
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EXCLUSIVE: Full Details Of Novak Djokovic’s Letter To Players As Stand Off With Federer And Nadal Emerges

UbiTennis can reveal full details about what the world No.1 wrote to fellow players in a bid get them to join the newly created Professional Tennis Players Association.

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Djokovic’s letter in full

Dear Players and Colleagues, As you all know, I have been blessed in my tennis career. I have no interest other than the sustainability and future of tennis. Working with our colleague Vasek Pospisil and dozens of you over the past year, we tried hard to advance player interests both within the ATP structure and directly with the grand slams. To put it simply, even as the number one ranked player in the world, we have been rebuffed. We have had the door slammed on us. We have not been respected.

 

I have been part of “tennis politics” through player council for the last 10-15 years. I have seen 4-5 different presidents and many Board Reps , ATP management etc.. Please know that Players Association project is not a new project. It’s a “idea” that has been going around the tour for 30 years. Many players in different generations tried to set up Union/Association of Players that would allow Players to have better and stronger representation in the tennis ecosystem. So far no one managed to concretely set up this association. There are many reasons and factors why it didn’t happen until now but probably biggest reason is because players were not united. ATP structure that is flawed for players. I don’t think ATP structure and system is helping players. It has been proven many times in the past that this system is going against players. I am not blaming anyone individually. Various presidents and managements tried to do different things over the years. And of course some good things were done for our tour, without the doubt. But I think that most of you who have been on the tour for a while would agree that players are not regarded and treated as they should be in this system. Many times we are not even asked what we think and feel about certain situations. For example, last night ATP CEO decided in 5min that they will cancel competition play for today. No one has reached out to me or any other player who is still competing in the tournament. I find that very disrespectful and wrong. Of course, this is only one example. There are many. I have been part of the Council because this platform was ( is still ) the only platform through which we can fight for players rights.

But for those who know how structure works, you will know players council is NOT making any decisions. Our Board Representatives are the ones that make decisions and they are chosen by us but it has happened quite a few times in the last 10 years on some big decisions that they go against majority of players interest . And as you know, other 3 members of the Board are Tournaments. 95% of the times we have conflict of interest between players and tournaments. Because of ATP bylaws, for many decisions it is necessary to have “super majority” of votes on the Board, but often that doesn’t happen because players and tournaments don’t have common goals. So then, nothing happens because you don’t have super majority. And in certain voting circumstances where you don’t need super majority, President is usually the one that needs to break the even vote and make a call himself which side he supports. You can imagine how much politics is involved there.. I have seen it all. It’s not an easy position to be in as a President in a system that just doesn’t work!

That’s why we are fighting so much with Slams over Prize Money, Tv Rights, calendar arguments with 1000 Masters events, etc.

unfortunately, many of the top people of governing bodies on our sport are laughing at players because players are not united. We are not taken seriously.

these are all reasons why time is NOW to create Player Association.

This is absolutely NOT a message or sign of conflict towards ATP/ITF/Grand Slams. This is just us taking that big step and formalizing our Union/Association.. This is what lots of people who are not players in our sport don’t want to happen. They don’t want players united. They don’t want players to have their own structure and association.

But we need to and we deserve it!

So now, Vasek and I have retained one of the leading global law firms with offices in 52 cities around the world, Norton Rose Fulbright and its chairman Walied Soliman. Through Norton Rose we tried to engage with the grand slams and were completely and disrespectfully rebuffed. After consulting with many of you, Vasek and I are proposing the establishment of an Association for our tennis players. I want to be clear; this is perfectly legal in all jurisdictions, this does not impact your ATP membership or standing and we are not proposing any job action at this time. We are simply proposing an establishment of an Association that, with strength in numbers, will be able to speak to the ATP, the grand slams, and others about the interests of tennis professionals and the future of the sport.

Reasons why we decided to go ahead with Player Association is following ;

• We agreed to allow one year for Andrea to execute his mission. But as you know, we are experiencing many many changes from January 2020. Unfortunately, many players ( including myself ) are not pleased with the way ATP management was handling the circumstances in the last 5months. Several major decisions ( Ex. Points on Us Tour, restrictions, dealing with authorities, schedule, etc ) that were made even without full support of council. I am / we are aware it’s a tough time for anybody right now to make decisions on anything. It’s the process of lack of communication with players in big decisions and exclusion of players that is bothering me/us.

• Players Association is not a new thing. It has been in the “air” since many years. You both know very well that GS, ITF, Tournament owners have been literally laughing at us in the previous decades because we are not united. We players think we have some power ( excluding top guys in some specific situations ) but we actually don’t have executive power. Players who are in the Council are “shareholders” of ATP and technically have affect on what is being decided. But many times that’s actually not true. And you guys know that very well. Many times because of the ATP structure ( 50-50 players/tournaments) there is a conflict of interest and decisions can’t be made. Because by laws of ATP allow only in certain decisions for President to decide ( that has proven to be more on tournament side in the past unfortunately/not Andrea now ) or it has to be super majority of votes on Board ( 6 votes ) which in most cases is not happening.

• Player Association is not being formed because of a need for conflict but because of a need for stronger player representation. Many players in many generations in the last 30 years have talked about Player ONLY association but nothing concrete came out of it because there was not enough unity. Right now time is ripe and there is a super majority of players in top 500 singles and top 100 doubles that want this Association to happen. Obviously with or without top guys it’s a big difference.. We are hoping we can get you all to be supportive of this long waited player association..

Player association will have its initial trustees. Association will most likely ( at the beginning ) not have executive decision making position in the eco system of tennis but that will also gradually change. We need to start from somewhere. We need to show our unity and strength. Not because we want to fight but because we want to be consulted, valued , respected on all big decisions that are happening in our sport and so far that has not been the case. We all know how many Agents, Federation people, business people have been on the Board and/ or another influential positions in sport have been there for decades working on their own interest, not caring too much about players. It’s a monopoly and that why in order to change something in favor of players we need to show unity ..

My friends, I have nothing to gain from this other than advancing the interests of the players and our sport. I hope you understand and all want you to join us on this historic journey.

Thank you

Novak P.S.

Of course, Vasek and I will step down from the Player Council as soon as we have officially created the Player Association

Next page – statement from Federer, Nadal and others.

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Novak Djokovic Survives Almighty Sinner Scare to Reach Wimbledon Semis

The dramatic encounter featured a fight back, multiple breaks of serve and even an injury scare.

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Reigning champion Novak Djokovic staged an epic comeback to keep his hopes of winning a seventh Wimbledon title alive after ousting Jannik Sinner in a five-set thriller.

 


Djokovic, who only dropped six games against Sinner in their previous Tour meeting, was forced to battle back from two sets down to prevail 5-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, in a roller-coaster encounter on Center Court. The triumph marks Djokovic’s 84th win at the tournament which is the joint-second highest tally in history alongside Jimmy Connors. Only Roger Federer has won more.

“Huge congratulations to Jannik today for a big fight. I’m sure that there are going to be a lot of opportunities for him on the big stage. He’s mature for his age and is already an established top 15 player over the last few years,” said Djokovic.
“He was unfortunate today but he has plenty of time.”

Taking on one of the most promising future prospects of men’s tennis, Djokovic’s latest encounter was a match of two halves. Initially, he appeared as if he would suffer a shock loss to world No.13 before he managed to conjure up an emphatic comeback. Breaking Sinner’s spirit who was bidding to become only the third Italian man to reach a Wimbledon semi-final in history.

“We had two different matches. He was the better player for two sets. (Then) I went out for a toilet break, had a little pep talk (with myself) in the mirror,” the 20-time major winner revealed.
“Sometimes in these circumstances where not much is happening positively for you on the court in terms of tennis. These things are necessary – a little break and pep talk to try to recuperate.’
“I was fortunate to start well in the third set by breaking his serve and that gave me the confidence boost. I saw a bit of doubt in his game and my experience of these kinds of matches helped me.”

The first set was a roller-coaster encounter between the two tennis titans on Center Court. Reigning champion Djokovic started out guns blazing by winning seven points in a row before Sinner got onto the scoreboard after prevailing in a 17-shot rally. The top seed looked to be in full control until a double fault on break point enabled his rival to bounce back. Continuing to play some inspired tennis with blistering shot-making, a cross-court winner enabled the Italian to break once again and this time had the chance to serve the opener out. A task he passed with flying colors.

Continuing to take his game to Djokovic, Sinner appeared unfazed about trying to become the youngest men’s semi-finalist at SW19 since 2007. Producing powerful hitting from the baseline, the 20-year-old extended his lead two games into the second frame. A stunning backhand volley followed by a Djokovic error elevated him to a 2-1 advantage. Spurred on by the crowd, the unprecedented onslaught continued with the help of some costly errors from the Serbian. He sealed the double break with the help of a successful Hawk-Eye challenge before securing a two-set lead in his favor with the help of a 122mph service.

Facing a swift exit, Djokovic once again illustrated the fighting spirit that he is renowned for. Capitalizing on a blip in form from Sinner, he cruised through the third set to resurrect his chances. 

Steaming rolling his way into a decider, Djokovic continued his dominance during the fourth frame by winning four straight games. However, closing that set out was full of drama. First, Sinner suffered an injury scare after going over his ankle before continuing. Then Djokovic fended off a break point and squandered two set points before closing it out. 

A stunning sliding passing shot in the decider set Djokovic up with a chance to break and move to a game away from victory. Something he did with the help of a Sinner error which the Italian instantly regretted by putting both his hands on his head. After that mishit, Djokovic ended the clash with a love service game. 

“I’ve been blessed to play professional tennis for 20 years but nevertheless I go through those doubtful moments like everybody else. The inner fight is always the biggest fight. Once you win the fight the external circumstance is more likely to go in your favor. I knew I could turn this match around. I have done that a few times in grand slams.” Djokovic concluded.


 

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(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Why Rafael Nadal Faces His Biggest Test Yet

Tennis Hall of Famer Steve Flink joins UbiTennis to reflect on the highs and lows of day 8 of Wimbledon.

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Will the upcoming quarter-final be Rafael Nadal’s hardest match yet? How will Nick Kyrgios’ shoulder recover?

 

The second Monday at Wimbledon was one full of intrigue in the men’s draw. Whilst on the women’s side, Simona Halep was in impressive form against Paula Badosa but tennis commentator Flink explains why he thinks her upcoming clash with Amanda Anisimova will be tougher.

Alongside Ubitennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta, Flink also looks at Jannik Sinner’s chances of causing a huge upset against reigning champion Novak Djokovic. 

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WIMBLEDON: Rafael Nadal Coy Over New Injury Speculation

After the foot problems in Paris, there is a strong possibility the Spaniard could be experiencing another injury issue.

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image via twitter.com/atp

There are fresh concerns surrounding Rafael Nadal after he declined to go into the reason why he was wearing abdominal taping during his fourth round match at Wimbledon. 

 

The 22-time Grand Slam winner was seen wearing some kind of protection in the abdominal area after changing his t-shirt during one of the breaks. In recent weeks Nadal has been dealing with physical issues due to a long-term foot condition he has. At the French Open he revealed that he had to undergo injections in order for him to continue playing en route to winning the tournament for a 14th time.

Playing 21st seed Botic van de Zandschulp, Nadal battled his way to a 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(6), win. Speaking to reporters after his latest win at The All England Club, the Spaniard sidestepped a question about a potential abdominal problem he could be experiencing. 

“I am a little bit tired of talking about my body. It’s not that I don’t want to answer your question, but at the same time sometimes I am tired of myself, all the issues that I am having. I prefer to not talk about that now,” he replied.
“I am in the middle of the tournament and I have to keep going. All respect for the rest of the opponents. I am just trying my best every single day. For the moment I am healthy enough to keep going and fight for the things that I want.”

Continuing to stay coy about his form and health, Nadal offered an alternative perspective when asked if he was nearing his best level once again. He has dropped just two sets in four matches played so far at Wimbledon which is his first grass-court event since 2019. 

“It’s always the same here. It’s not about how close I am to the level or not. I don’t know that. I can’t predict what can happen.” He said.
“But the positive thing is the first two matches haven’t been good. Then two days ago I played at a high level for the first time. And today most of the matches, again, at a very positive level.”

The straight sets scoreline failed to tell the true story of Nadal’s roller-coaster win on Center Court. Taking on Zandschulp, a player who burst onto the main scene last year by reaching the US Open quarter-finals as a qualifier, the 22-time major champion engaged in a match of two halves. Nadal looked on the verge of an easy victory after breaking once in the first set, twice in the second and storming to a 5-2 in the third. However, the Dutchman refused to go down without a fight by displaying his best tennis of the match to draw level. 

Now engaged in his first real test, Nadal was under intense pressure to close it out in three. If he didn’t there would have been an inevitable delay for the roof to come on due to poor light. If that occurred, there would be less than two hours of play left before the 11pm curfew began.

Nevertheless, Nadal didn’t need the roof as he squeezed through the tiebreaker. After squandering three consecutive match points, he prevailed on his fourth with the help of a lob that triggered Zandschulp to smash the ball out. 

Nadal is through to his 47th major quarter-final and is only the third man in the Open Era to do so at Wimbledon after celebrating his 36th birthday. In total, he has won 309 main draw matches at Grand Slam tournaments.

In the last eight, the Spaniard has a shot of revenge when he takes on Taylor Fritz who ended his 20-match winning streak earlier this year in Indian Wells. During that match, Nadal had a rib injury and he had beaten the American earlier that month in Mexico. 

“That last match (in Indian Wells) was zero because I had a stress fracture on my rib, and it was difficult to learn many things because the pain was terrible playing that match.” He said. 

As for Fritz, he believes their upcoming clash will be at a higher standard given the form both players are currently in. Fritz is currently on a eight-match winning streak after recently claiming the Eastbourne Open title. 

“It’s going to be a lot different match obviously. Indian Wells was kind of crazy with both of us being extremely beaten up before the final. This time I think we’ll get healthier versions of both of us, we’ll see.” Fritz previewed.

The question for nadal, is how healthy is the current version of him really is? Only time will tell. 

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