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Djokovic-backed PTPA reveals executive committee and plans to support players

New advocacy group wants to maximise and protect player rights, including earnings and personal data.

10 January 2023 Ed Dixon

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  • Ons Jabeur, Paula Badosa and John Isner among those to join Djokovic on eight-person committee
  • Principles designed to ‘protect, respect and guarantee rights’ of players
  • PTPA wants players to have say on tennis’ structure, including scheduling

The Novak Djokovic-backed Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) has unveiled its first executive committee and outlined plans to support players.

The fledgling player advocacy group has named an eight-person committee which, as well as 21-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic, features current women’s singles world number two Ons Jabeur and world number 13 Paula Badosa. Grand Slam doubles winner Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Chinese player Saisai Zheng are also on board.

They are joined by men’s singles world number ten Hubert Hurkacz, as well as John Isner and Vasek Pospisil, the world number 41 and 98 respectively. Pospisil is also a co-founder of the PTPA.

The PTPA stated that the founding committee members will contribute their ‘diversified perspectives and career experiences’ to the organisation. The eight will also help support strategic leadership to build out the PTPA and advance its business agenda. 

“We are grateful to have this extraordinarily accomplished and diverse group of women and men serve on our first player executive committee,” said PTPA executive director Ahmad Nassar.

“These individuals represent some of the strongest and most passionate voices in professional tennis, and they will have a profound impact on our efforts at the PTPA to serve all players.”

Having launched in 2020, the PTPA has faced opposition from tennis icons Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. Djokovic insists his venture can co-exist alongside the ATP Player Council.

A list of guiding principles designed to ‘protect, respect and guarantee the fundamental rights of players’ has also been announced by the PTPA. The five core principles are: take collective action and advocate on behalf of tennis players globally; obtain players’ fair share of the business of tennis and terms of participation; optimise and rigorously protect tennis players’ rights; safeguard tennis players’ welfare and protect players from abuse; and advocate for, and contribute to, the best vision and structure of tennis globally.

The PTPA hopes its principles will foster a collective spirit amongst players in what remains a highly individual sport. It is also pushing for equitable compensation, pension and retirement benefits, privacy and personal data protection, as well as equality of opportunity.

Additionally, the group will advocate for a fair and independent anti-doping programme that subscribes to the same thresholds as other sports, as well as access to mental health resources, education support, and ensuring tournaments treat players properly. Letting athletes have a say on how tennis is run, plus support for transitioning in and out of the professional ranks, is also on the agenda.

“For these principles to matter, it means putting them into practice,” added Nassar. “Their implementation will create the culture and infrastructure upon which the PTPA will be built and around which our leadership will focus their advocacy and business and program development efforts.”

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