Metro Sport Tennis

Novak Djokovic responds to Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer over player council concerns

From Metro UK


Djokovic responded to Nadal’s concerns (Picture: Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic downplayed Rafael Nadal’s complaints over not being consulted about Chris Kermode’s future, insisting there is still time to speak with the Spaniard.

ATP chief Kermode’s future remains uncertain with a vote set to decide whether he will continue after his term as CEO concludes at the end of the year.

Nadal was upset that no representative from the ATP player council had made contact with him regarding the upcoming vote as he threw his support behind Kermode, while Roger Federer also asserted that the 17-time Grand Slam champion should have been approached by a council member.

The world No. 1 and council president, however, brushed off their concerns.

‘First of all, we have to clear up the decision is not made, so… The decision has not been made and we still have time,’ Djokovic said after his straight sets win over American Mitchell Krueger.


Nadal was frustrated by a lack of consultation (Picture: Getty Images)

‘The representatives on the council, player board representatives, will talk with Roger, Rafa, anybody who is interested to have a discussion about this.

‘Now, what is very important for everybody to understand is that Rafa has always been involved, no question about it. Whether he was part of the political structure, council or not, he always tries to contribute to the game. And I need to credit him for that.

‘Not many players want to be involved. That’s the thing. That’s something that we as players council members are trying to evoke in players, more of an interesting, more of a willingness to be part of all of these discussions because it’s important.

‘It’s not just about the president. It’s about the future of the sport.’

While Nadal was upset by the lack of consultation from a council representative on the important issue, Djokovic stated his belief that communication between the council and other players had improved in recent years.

‘I think in terms of communication between the players, it is much better than it was, say, five years ago,’ he added.

‘I’ve been now in council, this is my seventh or eighth year. It’s probably my fifth in a row. The last year and a half, there’s been quite a significant improvement in terms of communication between the players, which is great. That’s what we need.


Djokovic won his first-round match (Picture: Getty Images)

‘In the end of the day, our primary job is to play tennis, whereas everybody else has a different priority. They have more time to have meetings, to go through these particular subjects and information, filtering.

‘For us, it’s an additional energy and effort. But I think, at least from my perspective, I do it because I care about the sport and I care about players. I want to be able to use my status to contribute to positive changes.

‘No one is getting paid for this in the council. We are all doing it because we care about the sport, we care about each other. That’s all it is.’


Federer wants to hold talks with Djokovic (Picture: Getty Images)

One player who has stated his intention to speak directly with Djokovic is Federer, and the Serb is keen to consult with the 20-time Grand Slam champion, calling him an ‘extremely important’ voice in decisions of this nature.

We will speak,’ Djokovic said. ‘As I said, we didn’t have a chance to speak so far, but we’ll see each other here. If not here, then it’s going to be after that. We have each other’s numbers. Of course, in person is quite different.

‘I’ve talked with Roger in the last six months several times, in Laver Cup, US Open, Rafa as well at US Open. I’m trying to create time for these things.

‘They are not part of the council, but they are extremely important, essential, players in this kind of big decision making.’

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