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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Motivation, Pressure And Expectations – Novak Djokovic Targets History At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Novak Djokovic has broken numerous records throughout his career but he still feels the pressure of trying to make history in the sport. 

The world No.2 is through to his 10th Wimbledon final where he will play Carlos Alcaraz, who beat him at this stage of the tournament 12 months ago. There is plenty on the line for the Serbian who could equal Roger Federer’s record for most men’s titles won at SW19 and break the overall record for most major singles won in the sport if he triumphs over the Spaniard. Djokovic currently has 24 Grand Slam trophies to his name which is the same as Margaret Court, who won some of her titles before the Open Era started. 

“Obviously I’m aware that Roger [Federer] holds eight Wimbledons. I hold seven. History is on the line.” Djokovic said on Friday after beating Lorenzo Musetti.

“Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam. Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time it’s also a lot of pressure and expectations.”

Coming into Wimbledon, there had been doubts over Djokovic’s form after he underwent surgery to treat a knee injury he suffered at the French Open. However, he has defied the odds to reach the final. His run has also seen him beat Alexi Popyrin and Holger Rune before getting a walkover in the quarter-finals from Alex de Minaur, who sustained an injury during the tournament. Then on Friday, he overcame a spirited Musetti in three sets. 

Despite the challenge, Djokovic has insisted that his expectations to do well are always high no matter what the situation is. During what has been a roller-coaster first six months of the season, he is yet to win a title this year or beat a player currently ranked in the top 10. Although he will achieve both of these if her beats Alcaraz on Sunday. 

“Every time I step out on the court now, even though I’m 37 and competing with the 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win, whatever, 99% of the matches that I play.” He said.

“I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at the level with Carlos [Alcaraz] or Jannik [Sinner] or Sascha [Zverev] or any of those guys, Daniil [Medvedev]. 

“This year hasn’t been that successful for me. It’s probably the weakest results the first six months I’ve had in many years. That’s okay. I had to adapt and accept that and really try to find also way out from the injury that I had and kind of regroup.”

Djokovic hopes that a Wimbledon win will help turn his season around like it has done in the past for him. 

“Wimbledon historically there’s been seasons where I wasn’t maybe playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.” He commented.

“For example, that was the case in 2018 when I had elbow surgery earlier in the year, dropped my rankings out of top 20, losing in fourth round of Australian Open, I think it was quarters of Roland-Garros, and just not playing the tennis that I want to play. Then I won Wimbledon and then won US Open and then later on became No.1 very soon.”

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Alcaraz is hoping to stop Djokovic in his tracks. Should he defend his title at Wimbledon, he would become the first player outside the Big Three to do so since Pete Sampras more than 20 years ago. He has won their only previous meeting on the grass but trails their head-to-head 3-2. 

“I’m sure he knows what he has to do to beat me,” said Alcaraz.

“But I’m ready to take that challenge and I’m ready to do it well.”

When the two players take to the court to play in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic will be 15 years and 348 days older than Alcaraz. Making it the largest age gap in a men’s Grand Slam final since the 1974 US Open. Whoever is victorious will receive £2,700,000 in prize money. 

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Carlos Alcaraz And Novak Djokovic Wouldn’t Yield To Medvedev And Musetti At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Carlos Alcaraz seemed to be on his own against a vastly improved Daniil Medvedev. The defending Wimbledon champion appeared to be out of tricks.

And Medvedev sensed it.

Alcaraz still scored a 6-7 (1), 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Medvedev. It may look rather easy on paper, but there was nothing easy about Alcaraz’s victory. The young Spaniard just came through when he needed it to advance to what he hopes will lead to his fourth Grand Slam title.

MEDVEDEV APPLIED ENDLESS PRESSURE

Medvedev was always there, ready to pounce on any mistake by Alcaraz. But mistakes didn’t happen that often after Medvedev took the first set in a tie-breaker.

Alcaraz hadn’t served that well in the first set that Medvedev had taken in a tiebreaker. But it was a different story once Alcaraz found the mark on his serves. He just kept holding service until the match was his.

Remember, he’s only 21 years old. But now he faces someone in this Wimbledon final almost twice as old in 37-year-old Novak Djokovic.

NOVAK DIDN’T LET INJURED KNEE STOP HIM

Early in the match, Djokovic looked like he might have problems against Lorenzo Musetti. He appeared to have a slight limp in the right knee that was covered by a band. Of course, it’s been less than six months since Novak underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in that knee.

Djokovic didn’t always chase after balls in situations where his service game wasn’t in jeopardy. He just hit winners when the opportunities came along, and his serve was always ready to win a point, a game or the match.

MUSETTI WASN’T THE SAME

Young 25th seed Musetti had been so strong and talented in his quarterfinal upset of Taylor Fritz. The 22-year-old Italian had looked like he might be a threat to the likes of Djokovic and Alcaraz in the last two rounds in London.

Musetti appeared to be able to run down everything against the speedy Fritz, until Fritz seemed to grow tired in a fifth set that Musetti won easily.

The Italian wasn’t the same against Djokovic.

Djokovic was just too good and too consistent to allow Musetti to stop his bid for another title.

NOVAK THE VIOLINIST

The setting was completely different this time with Djokovic looking questionable at the start. But Musetti could hardly push Djokovic, and ended up losing by a 6-4, 7-6 (2), 6-4. Once Novak charged through the second set tiebreaker, dropping only two points, Musetti couldn’t get back into the match.

And then Novak came out pretending to play a violin on his racket for his precious 6-year-old daughter Tara, whom Novak said has been learning to play the violin for about six months.

Some fans apparently didn’t like this, but then there probably were others who became Novak Djokovic fans. Novak obviously is a great guy and dad these days.

After all, Novak has just played his 97th Wimbledon match, and he’s hoping in his 37th Grand Slam final to tie Roger Federer’s record of eight Wimbledon titles.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Daniil Medvedev Calls For Video Replays After ‘Small Cat’ Insult At Wimbledon Umpire

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Daniil Medvedev - Credit: AELTC/Jed Leicester

Daniil Medvedev admits the use of his words against the umpire in his Wimbledon semi-final match was not pleasant but he believes he didn’t cross a line. 

The world No.5 was issued with a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct during the first set of his clash with Carlos Alcaraz. Medvedev was visibly irritated when umpire Eva Asderaki ruled there was a double bounce before he returned a ball during a rally. He was then caught on camera mouthing an insult to Asderaki who consulted with the tournament supervisor before issuing him with a violation. Verbal abuse towards match officials can lead to players being defaulted from matches. 

Medvedev went on to win the first set before losing in four to Alcaraz. After his exit from the tournament, he was quizzed about what he said. 

“I would say small cat, the words are nice, but the meaning was not nice here,” he said without elaborating any further.

Continuing to defend his actions, the 28-year-old said he had previously been involved in a similar incident involving Asderaki where a double-bounce call was made against him at the French Open. Medvedev says memories of what happened were triggered today. 

“I don’t know if it was a double bounce or not. I thought no. That was tricky. The thing is that once long ago at Roland Garros against (Marin) Cilic I lost, and she didn’t see that it was one bounce. So I had this in my mind. I thought, again, against me,” he said.

“I said something in Russian, not unpleasant, but not over the line. So I got a code for it.”

It is not the first time Medvedev has used the phrase ‘small cat’ as an insult. During a heated match against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the 2022 Australian Open, told umpire Jaume Campistol he would be a small cat if he did not take action against claims that Tsitsipas was being coached illegally during the match.

The former US Open champion says he did not fear being defaulted from his latest match before going on to say video replays should be allowed in the sport. A comment that was also made by Coco Gauff during the French Open earlier this year after she was caught up in a dispute concerning a double-bounce.

“Not at all because, as I say, I didn’t say anything too bad,” he replied when asked if he was concerned he might be disqualified for what he said on Friday.

“The thing is that I think it would be so much easier with a challenge system. The challenge system shows a bounce. So if there was a bounce, it would show it. 

“Then if we use it, we would never have this situation. So I don’t know why we don’t use the challenge system for double bounce, the Hawk-Eye or whatever.”

Medvedev’s focus will now turn back to the clay ahead of the Olympic games which will be held at Roland Garros. 

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