Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tennis news: Player Council has new reps


Federer, Nadal, Djokovic added to player council
WIMBLEDON, England -- Tennis' three top-ranked men, including No. 1 Roger Federer, were elected Saturday to two-year terms on the ATP Player Council.

In voting two days before Wimbledon begins, No. 2 Rafael Nadal and No. 3 Novak Djokovic were also elected to terms that begin Sunday.

In the past, top players have been reluctant to run for such positions, but Djokovic said the top three players jointly decided to become candidates.

"I think it's fantastic for the sport," Djokovic said shortly before the vote. "We're changing the face, changing the picture of everything in general.

"We decided together that this is the best thing for sport -- to join the player council and to try to be united in the future to make good decisions for us, for everybody. To be involved in all these major decisions and all the specifics, the details, is very important for us, because in the end we are the most important part of the sport. People are coming because of us. We have to defend our interests."

Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are among the players who have been unhappy with decisions by ATP chairman Etienne De Villiers, whose contract expires this year. There's also discontent about the extent of communication between players and the ATP board of directors, which has the lead role in making decisions about the tour.

One subject of debate has been the tour's attempts to restructure the spring clay-court schedule. The decision to downgrade the Hamburg tournament in 2009 from a top-tier event led to an antitrust lawsuit that's pending against the ATP.

Earlier this week, U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe said the involvement of the top players in such issues could have a major impact on the game for the next decade or more.

"The structure of the tour and how the ATP is configured could change," McEnroe said. "Maybe the players form their own union. There are a lot of ways this could go that would reshape professional tennis."
I'm proud of them for caring.

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