Djokovic told reporters that he sat down for a two-and-a-half hour discussion with Gaudenzi in Rome and reiterated that the PTPA is not looking to separate itself from the tours or start a boycott, but rather work within the current ecosystem. “ATP was talking about everybody being united, and that’s exactly what we want — we don’t want fragmentation,” he said. “But we feel, as players, and not just of this generation but a lot of generations in the last 20-plus years, that we just need a 100 per cent player association that will represent fully players’ rights. And that’s all there is to it.”
That conversation may have prompted Gaudenzi to soften his stance. Ahead of the French Open in late September, he said that the ATP is listening and wants to help.
“They definitely have the objective to improve life for the players on the tour, and we have nothing against that,” said the ATP chairman.
Djokovic — whose leadership came under fire over the summer after he and several fellow competitors at the Adria Tour, a tournament he’d organized, tested positive for COVID-19 — said he has also had talks Nadal and Federer in which his arguments were rebuffed. “They don’t think it’s the right time. That’s fine. That’s their opinion. I disagree with that,” Djokovic said at the US Open. “I think it’s kind of never a right time and it’s always a right time, right?”
Pospisil told me it would obviously be a lot better to have the support of two of the greatest players who’ve ever lived but its absence shouldn’t hold them back. “Tennis is much bigger than a couple players, right? So I’m extremely confident to say that the overwhelming view of this is more aligned with mine and Novak’s versus Roger’s and Rafa’s — that I can guarantee,” he said.
The Canadian said he was hopeful Nadal could be brought on board and hesitated before extending the thought to include Federer, acknowledging there are lots of conflicts of interests in tennis, including the 20-time Grand Slam winner’s management company, which partnered to create the ATP Tour’s Laver Cup. “They’ve been at the top of the game for so long and they’ve been treated like gods, and ultimately to go against some of these events would be like going against some of their probable friends, right?” Pospisil said in June.