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Tensions rise as Nadal backs under-pressure ATP boss


PTI melbourne India
Updated: 14-01-2019 19:34 IST
Tensions rise as Nadal backs under-pressure ATP boss

Melbourne, Jan 14 (AFP) Rafael Nadal Monday threw his support behind ATP Tour chief Chris Kermode as he fights to save his job, and hit out at not being consulted by the players' council over such an important issue.

Britain's Daily Telegraph reported at the weekend that a move was under way to topple the Briton among a section of players unhappy at the way the game is being run.

The ATP players council, headed by Novak Djokovic, met in Melbourne on Saturday and reportedly voted 5-4 against Kermode continuing in his role when his contract expires later this year.

Asked for clarity in a press conference Sunday, Djokovic attempted to defuse the situation, saying: "I don't know where you got that information, a 5-4.

"That information is completely confidential, so I can't speak about anything that we spoke about in that room."

Nadal said Djokovic had not been in touch to sound him out about Kermode.

"I am not in the council any more, and at the same time, nobody from the council side came to me and asked me my opinion," he said after cruising into the Australian Open second round.

"Was the first information I had that maybe Chris is not continuing. But I suppose if some crucial decisions like this, I understand that somebody from the council should come to me and ask my position."

Roger Federer agreed on Monday that somebody should have touched base with Nadal.

"Somebody needs to reach out to him, no doubt about it. For that we have player representatives," said the Swiss great.

"I anyway wanted to speak to Novak a little bit about the whole situation. I also definitely want to speak to Rafa now that he's back on tour.

"I just want to get the take and see how we can move the sport into the right direction moving forward.

"Not that there is any miscommunication and groups being built in some shape or form. I don't know exactly what has been going on in that regard.

"Look, it's a big decision-making time right now. I think it's important that Rafa, Novak, and me, we get together," he added.

Kermode has overseen big increases in prize money for players, created new events, and supported new progressive rules for injured players.

But according to an email the Telegraph cited from ATP player council member Vasek Pospisil there was a push for "a CEO that first and foremost represents OUR interests".

The email added that "the governance structure of the ATP favours the interests of the tournaments and its (their) owners ... It's time for a change and it can be achieved by staying unified and demanding what we deserve for our hard work".

Nadal said he didn't believe it was healthy to chop and change the ATP leadership.

"I believe that is not good to have changes all the time, because is difficult to develop a good project of work if we have changes every three, four years," he said.

"I believe that Chris probably did some good work out there, and I don't see him doing negative things or enough negative things to not continue in the position.

"In terms of the president thing, I believe will be good for the sport if he continues." AFP PDS

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COUNTRY : India

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