When Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil launched a breakaway players’ association in 2020, it proved divisive. Almost a year on and the issue is still proving contentious.
The Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) was launched as a body separate to the ATP Tour and tennis’ first player-only council since 1972.
The concept is supposed to give players more of a say and greater control over their careers both on and off the court.
So far, the plans have been rejected by the ATP as well as by many high profile players – such as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal – but there are hopes the newly launched structure will convince many in the sport to get involved.
New PTPA initiatives
“We feel this is the right moment,” Djokovic told CNN Sport over the phone ahead of the US Open. “Right now, Covid has unfortunately further revealed a lot of malfunctions in the system.
“I’ve been part of the player council for almost 10 years and have been president of the council for over five years. I’ve seen everything from the inside.
“I’ve experienced politics from the inside of the structure. I know the way the hierarchy works. And unfortunately, players always pick the shorter end of the stick and that’s why we feel a player organization is necessary.”
The PTPA can now boast a more professional infrastructure and has this week launched new partnerships that will provide its members – said to be 500 – with guidance and advice about building brands and business decisions.
One of the new projects, Courtside Curriculum, will offer players personal and professional development provided by leading global experts.
The other of its new initiatives is a partnership with sports technology company Opendorse to offer its members access to tools to help build brands and help with sponsorship opportunities.
Partly, these are in order to help the hundreds of tennis