Aug 30 (Reuters) - Former men’s world number one tennis player Andy Murray says he is not currently in favour of a breakaway players’ group led by Novak Djokovic and has urged fellow athletes to give the governing body more time to tackle their concerns.
Top-ranked Djokovic, Canadian Vasek Pospisil and American John Isner resigned from the players’ council of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) after other members formally asked them to step down.
“After today’s successful meeting, we are excited to announce the beginning of the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA), the first player-only association in tennis since 1972,” Djokovic posted on social media, with a picture of more than 60 players on court at the U.S. Open venue.
Djokovic has said their intention was not to disrupt the existing ATP tour but offer a platform for players to be better heard on decisions that affect their livelihoods.
The move has provoked resistance from the two most successful players in men’s tennis, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, who are also part of the players’ council, while the sport’s world governing bodies have urged unity.
“I won’t be signing it today,” three-times Grand Slam winner Murray said ahead of the U.S. Open.
“I’m not totally against a player union, player association, but right now there’s a couple of things: One is I feel like the current management that are in place should be given some time to implement their vision,” he told reporters.
“Whether that works out, or not, would potentially influence me in the future as to which way I would go.”
The ATP governs the men’s professional tour and former Italian professional player Andrea Gaudenzi took over as the chairman in January for a four-year term.
Murray also opposed the PTPA on the grounds that is a body only for male athletes, since he believed a combined entity with women players would send “a much more powerful message”.
Belgian Kim Clijsters, a four-time Grand Slam singles winner, felt the women’s WTA tour has been “very well run over the years” but there was always room for improvement.
The 37-year-old, who returned from retirement for the third time in her career in 2020, said she was a little surprised to hear about the PTPA but wanted to know more about it.
Men’s world number five Daniil Medvedev also sought more information and time before making a decision on the new association.
And Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, ranked a spot behind Russian Medvedev, said, “I haven’t been involved at all, like zero. I have nothing to do with this.
He added, “I don’t even know what they’re talking about. I’m not following.” (Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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