30.08.2020 19:46

@tenji, Nie mogę wyświetlić tekstu nie rejestrując się.


30.08.2020 19:49

@kujda, to coś u Ciebie w takim razie

Frustrated by what they view as a lack of leverage in men’s tennis, Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil are forming a breakaway body to represent the interests of male players outside of the current structure of the Association of Tennis Professionals, and have resigned their leadership roles in the association’s player council.

Pospisil, a Canadian ranked No. 92 in singles, announced his resignation on Twitter on Friday night, saying that within the men’s tour’s current structure, “it is very difficult, if not impossible, to have any significant impact on any major decisions made by our tour.”

Djokovic, the top-ranked men’s player and the president of the player council, and John Isner, the highest-ranked American man, also resigned their positions, according to three people familiar with their decisions. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the resignations had not been made public.

On Saturday, Djokovic won the Western & Southern Open, which is being held in Queens at the same site as the United States Open, beating Milos Raonic, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, to improve to 23-0 this season.

While Djokovic’s on-court dominance is obvious, many details about his group remain vague beyond its name — the Professional Tennis Players Association — and its intention to represent men’s singles players in the top 500 and doubles players in the top 200.

It is not clear, for example, if the group would attempt to bargain collectively like players’ unions in other professional sports. Unlike athletes in the N.F.L., Major League Baseball and the N.B.A., among other leagues, tennis players are independent contractors.

But it is clear that the ATP and other leaders in the sport see the upstart effort as a threat, and its leaders have urged players not to support it.

On Saturday, both the men’s and women’s tours, along with the four Grand Slam tournaments and the International Tennis Federation, released a joint statement backing the ATP and supporting “its role in representing the best interests of players throughout this process.”

“It is a time for even greater collaboration, not division; a time to consider and act in the best interests of the sport, now and for the future,” the leaders added in the statement. “When we work together, we are a stronger sport.”

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Djokovic and Pospisil detailed their plans in a document they distributed to other players, which was obtained by The New York Times. The ATP, founded 30 years ago, represents players and tournaments jointly, with both sides having seats on the governing board for decisions.

“The goal of the P.T.P.A. is not to replace the ATP, but to provide players with a self-governance structure that is independent from the ATP and is directly responsive to player-members’ needs and concerns,” Pospisil and Djokovic said in the document, which solicited sign-ups from other top players on the tour.

Djokovic does not have the support of the two biggest stars in men’s tennis, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Along with four other members of the ATP player council, Federer and Nadal wrote a letter urging other players them not to sign up for the new association, citing a need for caution and calling out vagaries in the P.T.P.A. messaging.

“It undermines our new management’s ability to achieve their vision for the sport,” their letter read. “A new Player Association cannot co-exist with the ATP.”

The letter from Federer, Nadal, and others asked questions they believed had gone unanswered by the P.T.P.A. proponents, including: “What happens if tournaments go against us?”; “What is the contingency plan to protect us if this goes ahead and badly?”; “Who is taking responsibility for any fallout both with our careers, income and negativity?”

In their document, Djokovic and Pospisil listed revenue sharing, disciplinary actions, player pensions, travel, insurance and amenities at tournaments as issues the new association would attempt to address.

In a message to players this week, Pospisil said players in the new association would meet Saturday night and “take a group photo to document the historic moment.” He said the group would have “essentially the same function as a union” but with more legal flexibility.

Djokovic and Pospisil have appointed themselves “initial co-presidents” of the association, serving a term of two years. The organization plans to be governed by an elected board of up to nine people.

“There will be a lot of work building and perfecting the operations of this association, but this is the first and most pivotal step that we must take,” Pospisil wrote in his message to players.

Andrea Gaudenzi, the ATP chairman, urged players in a letter that was obtained by The Times “not to take lightly” the ramifications of starting a new association while acknowledging that “no organizational structure is perfect.”

Gaudenzi framed the formation of a competing player organization as an existential threat to the ATP, and said the group should not expect to be recognized by the tournaments. He argued that the action could threaten the power players already have within the sport.

“You have what other athletes in other sports would strive for — a seat at the boardroom table. That is what players fought for in the creation of the ATP Tour,” Gaudenzi said. “It makes no sense why you would be better served by shifting your role from the inside to the outside of the governance structure.”

Walied Soliman, a partner and chairman of Norton Rose Fulbright Canada, with whom Pospisil and Djokovic have been consulting, blasted the responses from governing bodies as “pure thuggery.”

“Those in positions of trust need to humble themselves and sit down with the players,” Soliman said. “Instead of sending out missives, have proper dialogues to understand where the frustration comes from.”

One glaring absence from the plan is the inclusion of women’s players in the formation of the group.

Pospisil had spoken eagerly last year about working together with female players. The idea appeared to gain steam as Pospisil led a large group, including Sloane Stephens and others, to urge the Grand Slam tournaments to commit more money to athletes. The tournaments did not engage.

Yet as leaders of the men’s and women’s tours expressed in the spring that it might be mutually beneficial to merge the tours — especially in light of the financial troubles brought on by the coronavirus pandemic — many men’s players reacted negatively to that prospect and some said that women’s players did not deserve to make as much money as the men.

Andy Murray, long an outspoken supporter of women’s tennis, said he did not plan on signing onto the new association, citing the exclusion of women as a concern. “I feel like that would send a much more powerful message, personally, if the WTA were on board with it as well,” Murray said. “That’s not currently the case. If those things changed in the future, it’s something that I would certainly, certainly consider.”

Kim Clijsters, a four-time Grand Slam champion and former member of the WTA player council, said she would “love to talk to Novak” to better understand the frustrations of his group, though she expressed contentment with WTA governance.

“I do think that our tour has been very well run over the years,” Clijsters said. “I feel they definitely listen. There was communication, good communication. Can it be better? Of course, it can always be better. Can you please everybody at the same time? No, that’s never going to happen.”

Soliman said the association hoped “in very short order” that women would have “an active and equal involvement, as it should be.”

“There is an active dialogue going on with leaders within women’s tennis,” he said. “Women’s tennis, unlike other sports, is equally as important as men’s tennis. There’s a clear recognition of that.”

Gaudenzi closed his plea to players by asking for unity.

“We should not forget that, as an entertainment product, our competition for audiences and long-term growth is with other sports and forms of entertainment,” he wrote. “Our battle is not with each other. Now, more than ever, is the time for unity and collaboration.”

Christopher Clarey contributed reporting.