Novak Djokovic Vows To Challenge 'Monopoly' In Tennis - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Vows To Challenge ‘Monopoly’ In Tennis

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Novak Djokovic has claimed that there is a monopoly in tennis and some media outlets purposely choose not to cover this subject as it is ‘not in the interest’ of their owners. 

The world No.1 made the comments during a recent interview with Sportal where he has vowed to continue speaking up for the rights of his peers. Djokovic is the co-founder of the Professional Tennis Player’s Association (PTPA). An independent organization that campaigns for players to have a greater say in the decision-making process. He had previously served as president of the ATP Player’s Council but quit that role to form the PTPA along with Vasek Pospisil. 

Djokovic and his supporters argue that an independent body is needed to challenge the governing bodies of tennis when it comes to how the sport is managed. On the other hand, the ATP argues that such an organization is not needed as they already have a player council and CEO Andrea Gaudenzi said it causes more fragmentation in the sport. 

Gaudenzi’s comment has failed to change the view of 24-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic who believes tennis is one of many sports to have a ‘monopoly’ system. A term used to describe those that have exclusive control of a certain service. Furthermore, the tennis star has made a bold statement that some journalists know about this monopoly but deliberately chose not to report on it. Djokovic hasn’t provided any names of the news outlets he is referring to. 

“There is currently a monopoly in tennis, as well as in other major global sports at that level, but I can only speak when it comes to tennis,” he stated.
“Many media, also, who are in tennis choose not to write about this topic because it is not in the interest of those who pay them.
“It’s a vicious game and a vicious circle, but as long as I have a voice to be heard, I will use it.”

As for the PTPA’s impact on the sport so far, Djokovic believes they have been able to influence the ATP to reconsider some of their policies. Even though the two are not working together at present. In recent months the ATP have made increases to their prize money and last year announced that there will be a 50-50 share in profit between players and tournaments from this season onwards. 

“At the PTPA, we have already managed to say, indirectly as well as directly, to force the ATP to reconsider some decisions,” Djokovic commented.
“Directly a little less because they don’t allow us to enter the system and be part of the decision-making table, to have direct participation in the system, but indirectly we solved many things in a positive way and provoked.
“Here is the latter, where the ATP has increased the sums of money for players who are injured and absent from the Tour. They are now guaranteed a certain amount of money. They took that step forward, which I welcome, of course.
“Is that step enough? It’s not, but I welcome it and I’m almost sure they did it because the PTPA and all the players support these initiatives and constantly communicate on that topic, they say how important it is to address it in the right way and to talk about things that are, as you might call it, taboo the theme.
“We constantly talk about how much a Grand Slam champion or number one in the world earns, and we don’t talk about how many players can make a living from the sport they play. It’s a switch of theses, and I’ll just continue to point out some things that are obvious and present that they don’t want to address.”

There is also the issue of Grand Slam events which all operate separately to the ATP and WTA. The four tournaments are the pinnacle events of tennis which generate millions. According to Forbes, the 2022 US Open had a revenue of more than $472M and Wimbledon’s that same year was $440m based on information from their financial documents.

In a recent interview with UbiTennis, PTPA’s CEO Ahmad Nassar points out that if a possible merger happens between the ATP and WTA, it will still not address issues with major events. 

At the end of the day, the Grand Slams still command the most revenue, attention, and influence. If fragmentation is the tours’ concern, consolidating into one stronger, more unified product is a first step, but certainly not a final solution to maximizing tennis’ earning power, relevance and longevity.” Said Nassar. 

The PTPA continues to campaign for a place in the sport. Earlier this week they published a 17-page ‘white paper‘ on the benefits of having an independent player body. However, there is still work to be done if they wish to form a partnership with either the ATP or WTA. 

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

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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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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