Novak Djokovic has revealed he has officially withdrawn himself from the next ATP player council elections due to his involvement in the controversial Professional Tennis Players’ Association (PTPA). The world No 1 resigned as president of the council in August after he played a leading role alongside Canadian Vasek Pospisil in the formation of the PTPA.
Djokovic’s decision to form the PTPA has drawn the ire of Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Andy Murray, all of whom sit on the ATP player council.
However, last month, Djokovic confirmed he had been nominated for a return to the player council.
“I’ve been nominated by my fellow players, I did not proactively run for council,” Djokovic told reporters after a defeat to Danill Medvedev at the ATP Finals.
The Serbian then claimed, however, the ATP board had voted on a rule which meant he was unable to sit on the council and remain part of the PTPA.
“I was saying before and I’m going to say it again: We want to collaborate with ATP, and we want to be able to potentially have a place in the ecosystem, because this is what players deserve,” he added.
“Now, with this rule that has been voted on last night, that actually is a strong message from ATP that they don’t want PTPA at all in the system. So it’s very clear.
“We are just trying to fight for a better position and better treatment out there in the ecosystem, and that’s all there is. It’s unfortunate really to see that the ATP’s position is such, but OK, now we know where we stand.”
Djokovic has now made his next move in the political conflict in how the men’s game should be run, publishing a statement on Twitter in which he confirmed he is withdrawing his name from the list of nominees.
He wrote: “Dear all, I would like to give you an update with regards to my nomination for the next ATP Player Council elections.
“I would like to first say, as always, I am honoured by the continued support and confidence shown by those who nominated me to once again serve our collective player interested on the council.
“My first reaction to this nomination was to accept it with the intention that, if elected, I would do my best to protect players’ interests within the ATP.
“However, a few days after my nomination the ATP passed a new rule which has now put me in a difficult position. This new rule specifies that all members of the newly formed Professional Tennis Players’ Association or any association that is deemed as having a “conflict of interest” cannot be elected as a member of the Players Council.
“As you know, I am part of the PTPA, an organisation that was recently created with no intention of being in conflict with the ATP.
“The PTPA has yet to be structured with the strategy and long term vision yet to be clearly defined, and although the PTPA has made it clear it does not intend to be combative, it is unclear how the ATP will view the association in the future.
‘Unfortunately, given these latest developments I feel it is now necessary to remove myself from the list of candidates. I do not wish to create conflict or uncertainty around the player elections or create any issues that may arise. I do this reluctantly and with a heavy heart.
“I am, and always have been, very passionate when it comes to representing my peers on the council. I truly believe there is a path forward that will greatly improve the lives of many players, especially the lower ranked, and have a powerful and positive impact on the sport of tennis as a whole.
“I am confident the PTPA will achieve this in the near future. Before concluding, I wish to communicate I believe it is extremely important that we do not have conflicts of interest in our sport.
“I hope that, going forward, this is not only applied to the formation of new associations at the player level but further applied to all levels within the ATP structure.”