Djokovic Reveals He Wants Main Rival Alcaraz To Join His PTPA

Djokovic Reveals He Wants Main Rival Alcaraz To Join His PTPA

by Evita Mueller

Last updated

Novak Djokovic is a founding member of the PTPA, and his goal is noble: improve the quality of life of fellow tennis players.

Djokovic was able to carve out one of the most remarkable tennis careers of all time, and it's been a blessing for him. He's never shy to speak about that, understanding his own privilege. Even so, the Serbian deeply empathises with his fellow players, whose existence is far more dependent on their results.

Toward that goal, Djokovic founded the PTPA alongside good friend Vasek Pospisil, hoping to create a body that will prioritise players first. The ATP has somewhat strayed away from that path in recent years, and Djokovic wants to see that change.

I personally am not here with PTPA sitting with you because I want more money for myself. That’s not the case. I’m fine for this life and many other lives. We all definitely want to see a change at the base level because the 150th player on the planet struggles and often has to travel without a coach. People don’t realize how expensive this sport is.

Djokovic on his motivations

The Serbian's message has resonated with some players who have joined the PTPA. Some are vocal critics of the ATP, such as John Isner and Reilly Opelka, while others are trailblazing players like Ons Jabeur, hoping to inspire people from her region to pick up the sport.

Having a system that makes it easier would greatly help as many of those would want to play tennis but can't because of the cost. Djokovic himself knows that fully well, coming from a rather ordinary background.

The organisation is now over 200 players strong with several prominent names. Djokovic hopes to add Carlos Alcaraz to the mix as a player seemingly destined to be the face of the sport in the coming decade.

I haven’t done it with Carlos yet, but I’ve been planning to. We’ve been facing each other too much on the court and we haven’t had a chance to relax a little bit. We did kind of have a funny little talk after the finals of Cincinnati and we’re going to play a golf round together eventually so maybe that’s going to be an ideal few hours for me to spend with him and have a little chat.

So what's the issue with the current state of tennis? According to Djokovic, it's a conflict of interest between players and events. We've seen it play out in practice with rather late starting times that are, let's be frank, loathed by players but work well for events.

The problem that we have both on [the] men’s and women’s sides in the governance is that we’re too fragmented. Both the ATP and WTA, 50 percent belongs to the players and 50 percent belongs to the tournaments and most of the cases you’re always going to have a conflict of interest.

The ATP of course is not on board with the PTPA. ATP Chief Gaudenzi admitted recently that he sympathises with Djokovic and his intentions but doesn't think this initiative is helpful to tennis. Strong rebuttals came from Nadal and Federer upon formation, a huge win for the ATP at the time.

I have sympathy and I recognize obviously that there is no perfect organization, perfect structure. I know for a fact that the ATP, we are trying to do the best and I think we've shown in the last three years what we are doing for the players and the improvements starting from transparency in the economics, the Profit Sharing, Baseline, doubling the prize money at Challengers. We're doing a lot of things and we do the best we can.

ATP Chief Gaudenzi on the PTPA

We'll see what happens in the future but having the endorsement of Alcaraz would shift the scale towards the PTPA greatly.


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