After two weeks of show on Parisian clay, things are also going on behind the scenes on the tennis world. Deprived of four of its members for several weeks and the resignations of Novak Djokovic, Vasek Pospisil, John Isner and Sam Querrey who have signed up to a new players’ association (the PTPA), the Players Council is again complete. The ATP made it known Monday in a press release announcing the elections of Andy Murray, Félix Auger-Aliassime, Jérémy Chardy and John Millman as new representatives.
The latter were elected by the other members of the body including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, but also the South African Kevin Anderson, new president of the Council in question, Yen Hsun-Lu, Jurgen Melzer and Bruno Soares in particular. While it is difficult to measure the concrete effects of these new arrivals, they seem to reinforce the political line of concertation advocated by Swiss and Spanish legends.
Murray, a strong support for Federer and Nadal
Ex-world number 1, Murray did not categorically reject the idea of joining the new PTPA, but considered that the new ATP president, Andrea Gaudenzi, had not had enough time in front of him to put in place of its program, in particular because of the coronavirus crisis. Like Federer, the Scotsman had also campaigned for a possible merger with the WTA, organization of professional women’s tennis. With the Swiss, he is now also representing players in the “broad sense”.
Félix Auger-Aliassime, who has already shown a fairly impressive commitment to education in Togo despite his young age, represents the members of the Top 50, like Rafael Nadal. Jérémy Chardy, who is a player and already director of a Challenger tournament in Pau, has an overview of the circuits conducive to the search for compromises. His ties of friendship with Federer in particular are known, as is the respect that Australian John Millman inspires in Switzerland.
Anderson: “I believe that the two entities cannot coexist”
This full cast therefore sketches what could turn out to be a fierce power struggle between the ATP Players Council and the new PTPA. At Roland Garros, Kevin Anderson, former vice-president of Djokovic and new president, made no secret of it. “I personally believe that the two entities cannot coexist. Unfortunately, they (the founders of the PTPA, editor’s note) did not explain their project to me, so I do not understand their long-term strategy. There is a lot to improve for the players, and I feel that the new management team have an exciting vision. We are here to support it and encourage it to put it in place“, he explained.
By creating a new association with Pospisil, Djokovic wanted to unite the players under his banner. If he boasted of many signatures (200 a month ago) and announced that the players will also be part of it, the world number 1 must therefore face strong opposition. World tennis still appears to be so divided.