In his opening match at the Miami Open Vasek Pospisil was penalised by the umpire for his behaviour on the court but it was what he said during the argument that caught the attention of many.
Speaking to official Arnaud Gabas the highly animated Canadian said the day before he was ‘screamed’ at by Andrea Gaudenzi who is the head of the ATP Tour and even threatened to sue the men’s governing body if he defaulted from the match. Pospisil was making reference to an encounter he had with Gaudenzi during what was meant to be a routine Players meeting that usually takes place behind closed doors and out of the media spotlight. For this reason it is hard to establish what actually happened in Miami. Although opencourt.ca claims that the the world No.67 was brought to tears at one point following a series of criticisms.
Those alleged criticisms concern the Professional Tennis Players Association. An independent body that was co-founded by both Pospisil and Novak Djokovic. The aim of the PTPA is to campaign for players to have a greater say in the decision making processes. However, the movement isn’t without controversy. The ATP is against such a movement, arguing that it divides the sports and objectives of the group are unclear. In the past the ATP Council, whose members include both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, urged their peers not to join.
“Vasek Pospišil is my good friend and I empathize with him wholeheartedly. Players on tour would agree that he is an individual of the highest integrity who cares about the well being of his fellow competitors,” Djokovic wrote on social media.
“I am hopeful players recognize the importance of standing together,” he added.
It is clear there is a divide in men’s tennis but it is unclear as to how significant it is. Following the Pospisil incident, the hashtag ‘#playervoices’ emerged on Twitter with various players supporting calls for an independent body of some sort. Former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic wrote ‘voices need to be heard, respected and acknowledged. Don’t try to silence them, but work with them.’ Ivo Karlovic, who has played on the ATP Tour for 20 years, said it is ‘more obvious than ever that we need a players only association.’ Away from the internet, Denis Shapovalov spoke out in favour of the PTPA following his win at the Miami Open on Saturday.
“I have heard from several players a lot of not great information. So I’m definitely on the PTPA side. I think we are not underrepresented, but I think there is ways that we could be represented better,” he said.
“I don’t think that the ATP is doing the fullest job that they can be. I think there are other ways and there are players that are trying to introduce or help within the ATP bring in different information or sponsors and this and that, and basically we’re all getting shut down. They are just telling us to go and play tennis which in my opinion it’s not right.”
Quoting Kevin Anderson the PTPA does have some ‘unanswered questions’ concerning their long-term objectives for the sport. The world of tennis politics is a complicated one which isn’t helped by the fact there are seven separate governing bodies operating within the sport.
Perhaps the best way forward is to stick with facts and figures. Such as the SportsBusiness Annual Media Report of 2018 which shows that more than a billion people worldwide describes themselves as tennis fans. Furthermore, some of the sports best players are the highest paid athletes in the world. With this in mind, questions are being raised over why tennis only accounts for 1.3% of the total value for global sports TV. Etienne de Villiers, who served as ATP chairman from 2005 to 2008, said during a recent interview with Bloomberg that trying to change the business model of tennis is tough because “everyone distrusts everyone else.”
Just earlier in the week John Isner called for more transparency concerning prize money in the sport which has been dramatically reduced in recent months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the American does acknowledge that the ATP has been more forthcoming in information recently.
“Look, there’s always going to be some things that players are unhappy about,” he said.
“I do think recently the players have felt like the tour has been more transparent with them. We’re trying to understand the process a bit more.”
It is unclear what the future has in store for the PTPA but it is clear that Tennis is not entirely united at present.
Filip Krajinovic To Skip Australian Open If Required To Quarantine For More Than Five Days
The world No.34 says he ‘sees no reason’ why vaccinated players should have to go through a long quarentine in Australia.
The second highest-ranked Serbian player in men’s tennis says it would be ‘unacceptable’ for organisers of the Australian Open to require players to quarantine for more than a week if they have been fully vaccinated.
Filip Krajinovic has become the first player to publicly state that they will not be prepared to travel to Melbourne at the end of this season if they have to go through strict quarantine measures once again. All the players who participated in this year’s Australian Open were required to be quarantined in a designated hotel for 14 days upon arrival in the country. During their stay they were allowed to use training facilities but that was the only time they could leave the premises unless there was an emergency.
There is no final decision regarding the travel requirements for the 2022 tournament but there are concerns that unvaccinated players may not be allowed to enter the country. The Victorian government recently issued a mandate ordering all essential workers to be vaccinated, including athletes. However, the regional government will not have the final say concerning tennis players arriving in the country with the national government being the ones in charge of that decision.
“They are very rigorous there and honestly, if I have to be in quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Melbourne, I will not go to Australia,” Krajinovic told Serbian newspaper Blic.
“I was vaccinated, I did everything in my power to protect myself and the people around me, so I really see no reason to sit there for 14 days in a room.’
“If they (the organisers) say that after arrival I need, say, five days to be in isolation, that’s OK for me, but anything beyond that is unacceptable to me. With the season ending late, I will have 20 days to get ready and go. Charter flights will be organized again and the last one is planned for December 28 for the players and that is the final date when I can go to Australia. I will see what the final decision from Melbourne will be, so I will cut what is the best thing to do.”
Earlier this week Victoria’s Sports minister Martin Pakula urged players to be vaccinated because it give them ‘the best opportunity to play in the Australian Open.’ It is expected that if unvaccinated players are allowed to attend, they will be subjected to stricter restrictions. This might include a longer quarantine period upon arrival and limitations of where they can go during their stay.
“Last year, all of those players had to do their 14 days of quarantine. Right now there looks like there will be different rules for people who enter this country who are vaccinated as against unvaccinated and I don’t think the tennis will be any exception to that.” Pakula told the Sports Entertainment Network (SEN).
“In terms of what rules apply for people to enter Australia, whether unvaccinated people are allowed in at all, I don’t the answer to that yet. That’s going to be the subject of discussion at national cabinet and among the federal cabinet … those rules are not set by state governments.” He added.
Krajinovic is currently ranked 34th in the world and has a win-loss record this season of 18-18. At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells he reached the second round before falling in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev. His best run so far this year was at the Hamburg Open where he reached the final.
“When we look at the whole of 2021, I played one final, one semifinal, there were good victories, but also worse results,” the 29-year-old commented.
Krajinovic is currently without a coach but is currently in ‘negotiations’ with somebody without elaborating further about who that person is.
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.
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