LONDON (Reuters) – World number one Novak Djokovic confirmed on Wednesday that he had been nominated for a return to the player council after resigning in August following his decision to create a separate organisation.
The 33-year-old Serb said, however, that the ATP was blocking his path to rejoin.
“I’ve been nominated by my fellow players, I did not pro-actively run for council,” Djokovic told reporters after losing to Danill Medvedev at the ATP Finals.
The 17-times Grand Slam champion caused shockwaves before the U.S. Open when he announced he was forming the Professional Tennis Players’ Association (PTPA) along with Canadian Vasek Pospisil.
Djokovic, who was president of the player council, was obliged to resign despite saying the PTPA was not a rival organisation and that it was set up to better protect the interests of the players.
“I do not see any conflict of any kind at being part of the PTPA and part of player council, I didn’t then or now,” he said on Wednesday.
On being nominated for the player council, which will be voted on in December, Djokovic said it showed that he had the “trust and credibility” of his fellow players.
“You have a responsibility when you are nominated,” Djokovic said. “But the ATP Board had a vote last night which means no active player can be part of the council and any other organisation in the tennis ecosystem.”
It is the latest political twist in the running of the men’s game which has seen Djokovic’s proposed PTPA fail to muster the support of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, both of whom, along with Andy Murray, are on the ATP player council.
Spaniard Nadal this week defended the work done by the ATP player council to help lower-ranked players — one of the reasons Djokovic cited the PTPA was necessary.
“Of course, the player council are trying to keep helping and to keep promoting the idea that if more players are able to survive from our sport, our sport’s gonna be bigger,” he said.
“But we believe (you) don’t need to create another organisation to make that happen.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Brazilian doubles player Bruno Soares, part of the 12-man ATP player council, confirmed Djokovic’s name was on the list of nominations.
“Yeah, I saw the list. Not only them. There is a bunch of people. It’s quite interesting, because they resigned three months ago to go ahead with PTPA,” Soares said.
High-profile Americans John Isner and Sam Querrey also resigned from the player council in August as Djokovic sought support for the PTPA.
Soares said he would welcome Djokovic back.
“Novak and Vasek, they were always very active on the council. And it’s nice. It’s good to have people,” he said.
“They decided to form PTPA. I guess all of us at the player
council respect that.”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)