Novak Djokovic created a storm in the tennis world when he initiated a breakaway players association earlier this year and has now admitted the group is in talks with Serena Williams.
Djokovic caused division in the tennis world only days before the US Open after announcing he was forming a breakaway Professional Tennis Players Association with Canada’s Vasek Pospisil.
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Both Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal opposed the move and called for calm during the coronavirus pandemic, which had already brought a halt to the tennis schedule for months.
Many stars opposed the breakaway group from the ATP Player Council and are still yet to sign up.
But ahead of the ATP Finals in London, the 17-time Grand Slam champion admitted the group was in talks with Williams, Sloane Stephens and younger emerging stars.
“We are talking to a lot of players at different levels, like Serena and Sloane, but also lower ranked to see how we form a new structure taking into account how unstable everything is now in terms of the schedule,” he said at a press conference, according to Sportskeeda.
Djokovic also talked about how the PTPA would co-exist with the other governing associations.
He said having an ‘aggressive approach’ was not what they wanted.
“We are also in talks with the ATP and what we will do with the WTA to see how the PTPA is integrated into the ecosystem,” he added.
“We do not want to have an aggressive approach as has been said.”
Djokovic responds to PTPA’s heavy criticism
Djokovic’s PTPA has come under heavy criticism since its initiation.
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova took aim at Djokovic for the timing of the PTPA and the ‘divide’ he created in the tennis world during the coronavirus pandemic.
But the World No.1 said this was not his intention.
“It is a long way. I understand that there is criticism, because people he wonders if this is the right move or if it is a way to divide tennis,” he said.
“But for us it is not like that, our value and our essence is to improve.”
Djokovic said he is working with all of tennis bodies to make sure things run smoothly in a highly unpredictable time during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The worst thing is that next season is unpredictable,” Djokovic said.
“It is not in our hands now what happens, but in the hands of the governments of the countries. There are constant negotiations, financial issues.
“For tennis it has been great to be able to compete with the best. But those who are below in the ranking, from 500 to below, are suffering a lot and need help to provide tournaments and be able to compete for a living. It is a very complex situation.”
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