World. No.1 tennis player Novak Djokovic is leading the charge to form a players association to represent men's professional tennis players. According to the Associated Press, Djokovic and former top-30 player Vasek Pospisil would be the co-presidents of the Professional Tennis Players Association, or PPTA.
Djokovic's support for such an organization carries more than just the weight of his being the top-ranked player in the world right now -- he's also the president of the ATP Player Council, which advises the ATP Board of Directors on matters related to players and tournaments. Pospisil has been a member of the Player Council, but announced his resignation in a tweet, saying the council did not carry enough actual decision making power.
"It has become clear that, as a player council member within the current structure of the ATP, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to have any significant impact on any major decisions made by our tour."
Professional tennis players at the highest level function as independent contractors. The letter reportedly aims to "provide players with a self-governance structure that is independent from the ATP," and would be open to the top 500 men's singles and 200 men's doubles players in the ATP rankings. It also lays out an organizational structure with an annually elected board of trustees of up to nine members, along with two co-presidents -- who would be Djokovic and Pospisil to start -- elected for two-year terms.
The letter was emailed to players, and asks those supporting the plan to sign it and reportedly and says "if a significant number of players support this initiative we will move forward."
This proposal to players comes on the eve of the US Open where 15 of the ATP's top 20 will compete in what is now the second Grand Slam event of the year. The Australian Open was held back in January, and Wimbledon was canceled for the first time since World War II, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The French Open was rescheduled due to the spread of coronavirus, and is scheduled to start Sept. 21.