Infotainment Factory: Federer, Nadal slam 'political' Djokovic snub

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Monday, 11 March 2019

Federer, Nadal slam 'political' Djokovic snub


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Roger Federer has revealed that Novak Djokovic "had no time" for him before a controversial vote to remove ATP Tour executive chairman and president Chris Kermode.

The well-regarded Kermode was removed last week, with Djokovic - the ATP Player Council president - believed to have been prominent in the push for his dismissal. The world No.1's position was at odds with fellow legends Federer and Rafael Nadal, who were supporters of Kermode and are now openly questioning an ouster reportedly led by Djokovic.

A player council meeting was held before the formal vote; entailing three votes from player representatives (David Egdes, Justin Gimelstob and Alex Inglot), and three votes from tournament reps (Gavin Forbes, Charles Smith and Herwig Straka). Kermode will now leave his post at the end of the year, his contracted terminated a year early; it has been widely reported that former US player Gimelstob wants to take over the role.

Federer did not attend the player meeting, revealing that he had tried to speak with Djokovic in advance, to no avail.

"I tried to meet Novak on the deadline. Unfortunately, he had no time. That’s hard to understand for me," Federer said, in comments translated from Swiss-German.

"But it is OK. He certainly had a lot to do with the whole story.

"I asked him if he had time to meet me, it was so busy. He suggested that we see each other the day after, but everything was already decided. We have not met yet and the tournament [the ongoing Indian Wells Masters 1000] has started."

Nadal said that he had not been consulted by Djokovic or any other player council representatives - who include Kevin Anderson, Robin Haase, John Isner and Sam Querrey - on Kermode's removal.

“It was my decision to be outside of the politics,” said the 17-time Grand Slam winner, who left the player council seven years ago.

“But at the same time, I am disappointed that nobody came and explained why, what's the real reason of we don't have Chris continuing running our sport.

“The guys who are in the council, at the end of the day, represent the rest of the players. They don't represent their opinions only.

“Normally, they have to ask the players about what they think to make a crucial decision like this one, and I really hope that they did with the rest of the players. If they did it, is great. It was not my case. I have my phone with me. So nobody text me to speak about or to ask me about what's my thoughts about that decision.

“If a lot of players says this [that they weren’t consulted]… probably the guys who are running the council, they didn't make the right job, because they are there representing us, so normally they have to ask what's our opinion.

“I really believe that after 18 years, 17 years around this sport probably I have a good perspective of the things that can work well, other things that don't work that well.

“I will be happy to hear why that [Kermode's removal] happened, and of course what's going on now.”

Federer formerly held Djokovic's player council role and said he did not want to reenter the political side of tennis, unless he felt compelled to for the sake of the sport. He said he did not understand why Kermode had been removed, and that he and Nadal were united on the matter.

“For me, it’s just important that I know why it happened and what will happen now, what’s on the agenda. I want to know what the motive was, what Kermode does not seem to have done well,” the 20-time Grand Slam winner said.

“I would have tended to be more behind him. In the past, there were always situations in which you could say, ‘He or she just has to go, it’s no longer possible’. But that was not the case with Kermode.

“I’m interested in what’s behind it, why it happened like that. I have to think about whether I should get more involved again in the future, for the sake of the Tour, or if I should just get involved a bit without going through politics.

“I don’t want to speak all the time, but I can’t just look away and say I’m not interested. I have to inform myself and I have done that in the last few days. I also talked to Rafa. We are on the same page – that’s important to him and me.

“I have questions. I half-understand what happened, but I would like to talk to the player council.”

Djokovic provided little clarity after Kermode's dismissal, offering only vague answers at his press conference before Indian Wells. He also said the Federer and Nadal had ample opportunity to raise their concerns.

"It goes both ways, right?” Djokovic said.

“If they wanted to talk about something, they could also approach me and talk.

"I talked with Rafa last September and November, and I don't see any reason why he would not approach me or any other member of the player council.

“We've been selected and elected by Federer and Nadal and everyone else to represent the players' best interests."

Some reports have claimed that Djokovic believes not enough money has flowed from tennis' revenue to players. The Serbian, who has won 15 Grand Slams, has earned more than $US128 million ($181 million) in prize money during his career. Lower-ranked players are also earning healthy money; a first-round Australian Open loser this year banked $75,000.

"It was decided that it's time for us to look into new leadership on the tour," Djokovic said.

"I will not express my personal views as being for or against. By sharing that information, I expose myself and become liable to breach of confidentiality.

"It's hard to define what all the major changes [for the future of tennis] are. We are already experiencing major changes.

“But there are a lot of things happening internally that need to be addressed."

Federer said the unanswered questions were a problem.

“It is important to know where the Tour is going, with whom and how. There are many unanswered questions," Federer said.

"Maybe they can be answered and then my mind will be at ease, the same for other players, because many were behind Kermode.

“Not everyone has the same priorities. Some think primarily of money, others of the tournament calendar, others are more concerned with power; that's always a big story."

Federer said he was concerned that the politics of tennis were overshadowing a healthy product.

“I still feel the Tour is going well, we have great matches, the prize money went up, the stadiums are full, the ITF tries to be innovative, the ATP too, the Laver Cup is going well. Profiteering (corruption) is not big on the complaints either. Only politics is in turmoil," he said.

"Certain players disagree, the tournaments and the players are not of the same opinion, and that is the mood. You can not say explosive, but there is already some uncertainty.

"This can get to some people, while others say:, 'This is just a snapshot'. We will see what happens in the next few months.”

Roger Federer has revealed that Novak Djokovic "had no time" for him before a controversial vote to remove ATP Tour executive chairman and president Chris Kermode.

The well-regarded Kermode was removed last week, with Djokovic - the ATP Player Council president - believed to have been prominent in the push for his dismissal. The world No.1's position was at odds with fellow legends Federer and Rafael Nadal, who were supporters of Kermode and are now openly questioning an ouster reportedly led by Djokovic.

A player council meeting was held before the formal vote; entailing three votes from player representatives (David Egdes, Justin Gimelstob and Alex Inglot), and three votes from tournament reps (Gavin Forbes, Charles Smith and Herwig Straka). Kermode will now leave his post at the end of the year, his contracted terminated a year early; it has been widely reported that former US player Gimelstob wants to take over the role.

Federer did not attend the player meeting, revealing that he had tried to speak with Djokovic in advance, to no avail.

"I tried to meet Novak on the deadline. Unfortunately, he had no time. That’s hard to understand for me," Federer said, in comments translated from Swiss-German.

"But it is OK. He certainly had a lot to do with the whole story.

"I asked him if he had time to meet me, it was so busy. He suggested that we see each other the day after, but everything was already decided. We have not met yet and the tournament [the ongoing Indian Wells Masters 1000] has started."

Nadal said that he had not been consulted by Djokovic or any other player council representatives - who include Kevin Anderson, Robin Haase, John Isner and Sam Querrey - on Kermode's removal.

“It was my decision to be outside of the politics,” said the 17-time Grand Slam winner, who left the player council seven years ago.

“But at the same time, I am disappointed that nobody came and explained why, what's the real reason of we don't have Chris continuing running our sport.

“The guys who are in the council, at the end of the day, represent the rest of the players. They don't represent their opinions only.

“Normally, they have to ask the players about what they think to make a crucial decision like this one, and I really hope that they did with the rest of the players. If they did it, is great. It was not my case. I have my phone with me. So nobody text me to speak about or to ask me about what's my thoughts about that decision.

“If a lot of players says this [that they weren’t consulted]… probably the guys who are running the council, they didn't make the right job, because they are there representing us, so normally they have to ask what's our opinion.

“I really believe that after 18 years, 17 years around this sport probably I have a good perspective of the things that can work well, other things that don't work that well.

“I will be happy to hear why that [Kermode's removal] happened, and of course what's going on now.”

Federer formerly held Djokovic's player council role and said he did not want to reenter the political side of tennis, unless he felt compelled to for the sake of the sport. He said he did not understand why Kermode had been removed, and that he and Nadal were united on the matter.

“For me, it’s just important that I know why it happened and what will happen now, what’s on the agenda. I want to know what the motive was, what Kermode does not seem to have done well,” the 20-time Grand Slam winner said.

“I would have tended to be more behind him. In the past, there were always situations in which you could say, ‘He or she just has to go, it’s no longer possible’. But that was not the case with Kermode.

“I’m interested in what’s behind it, why it happened like that. I have to think about whether I should get more involved again in the future, for the sake of the Tour, or if I should just get involved a bit without going through politics.

“I don’t want to speak all the time, but I can’t just look away and say I’m not interested. I have to inform myself and I have done that in the last few days. I also talked to Rafa. We are on the same page – that’s important to him and me.

“I have questions. I half-understand what happened, but I would like to talk to the player council.”

Djokovic provided little clarity after Kermode's dismissal, offering only vague answers at his press conference before Indian Wells. He also said the Federer and Nadal had ample opportunity to raise their concerns.

"It goes both ways, right?” Djokovic said.

“If they wanted to talk about something, they could also approach me and talk.

"I talked with Rafa last September and November, and I don't see any reason why he would not approach me or any other member of the player council.

“We've been selected and elected by Federer and Nadal and everyone else to represent the players' best interests."

Some reports have claimed that Djokovic believes not enough money has flowed from tennis' revenue to players. The Serbian, who has won 15 Grand Slams, has earned more than $US128 million ($181 million) in prize money during his career. Lower-ranked players are also earning healthy money; a first-round Australian Open loser this year banked $75,000.

"It was decided that it's time for us to look into new leadership on the tour," Djokovic said.

"I will not express my personal views as being for or against. By sharing that information, I expose myself and become liable to breach of confidentiality.

"It's hard to define what all the major changes [for the future of tennis] are. We are already experiencing major changes.

“But there are a lot of things happening internally that need to be addressed."

Federer said the unanswered questions were a problem.

“It is important to know where the Tour is going, with whom and how. There are many unanswered questions," Federer said.

"Maybe they can be answered and then my mind will be at ease, the same for other players, because many were behind Kermode.

“Not everyone has the same priorities. Some think primarily of money, others of the tournament calendar, others are more concerned with power; that's always a big story."

Federer said he was concerned that the politics of tennis were overshadowing a healthy product.

“I still feel the Tour is going well, we have great matches, the prize money went up, the stadiums are full, the ITF tries to be innovative, the ATP too, the Laver Cup is going well. Profiteering (corruption) is not big on the complaints either. Only politics is in turmoil," he said.

"Certain players disagree, the tournaments and the players are not of the same opinion, and that is the mood. You can not say explosive, but there is already some uncertainty.

"This can get to some people, while others say:, 'This is just a snapshot'. We will see what happens in the next few months.”

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